Breaking it Down
The single biggest obstacle we face when trying to decorate a big space is how to arrange the furniture without making it look like a museum. The best advice to follow is to break the room up into smaller seating areas each with a specific purpose.
The Main Event
When dealing with big spaces, try to decide what your primary area will be and start your design there. If you’re dealing with a social gathering spot like a living room or family room, then establishing a seating area for conversation and/or TV watching is your goal. Begin by gathering armchairs, tables and ottomans (Check out our article on ottomans tips to help you decide). Next, select an area rug to define the perimeter and arrange your supporting pieces on and around it. An L-shaped sectional is a great way to set this grouping apart from other areas or other rooms. Quick tip: keep your large furniture neutral so you can swap out accent pillows and area rugs easily for a fresh look.
Tips on Zone Coverage
Forgive the sports’ reference, but it’s an easy way to remember to find uses for the unused areas of your room. Zone A: the typically forgotten spots tucked away in the dark corners of the room, and Zone B: the area against a large wall.
Zone Tip A – Creating a one- or two-person conversation area is an easy fix for a small corner or under a window. Not only will you create an intimate seating arrangement, but you may even decide to give it a decidedly feminine (chaise lounge/slipper chairs/chandelier), masculine (leather upholstery/brass accents/dark wood finishes) or kid-friendly air (small-scale seating/game table/flokati rug).
Zone Tip B – The area against a large wall is a great opportunity to introduce a pair of interesting occasional chairs flanking a console table. Hanging a grid of frames or one impressive piece of art on the wall ties it all together. Feel free to use the console table at right angles to your wall (if space permits) to create the perfect spot for spontaneous dinners or an impromptu workspace.
Now Light it Up
Developing a lighting plan is the final step in your room design. Once you have established your room’s distinct areas, you are ready to introduce your layered lighting effects. Use task, accent and ambient lighting to enhance the room’s overall effect. Quick tip: calculate the overall wattage needs of a space by multiplying the room’s length and width x 1.5. For example, a 20’ x 30’ living room has 600 sf of area, 600 x 1.5 = 900 watts of illumination. Make sure your lighting plan includes fixtures that add up to at least that amount.)