Ah, the '80s. The time of big hair, even bigger shoulder pads and Dynasty. Things were formal, and flowery and poufy. In fashion trends as well as design. Luckily, we have pulled ourselves away from the vortex that was the '80s and are writing our own rules. Well, maybe fashion is being pulled back in, but your living room need not be! Read on for lies your mother told you and what that means for you today
Living Room Lie #1: child-friendly=frumpy
I remember going over to my friend's house, and her mom was an interior designer. So they had really nice stuff. And there were always these sheets over the sofas. I asked why and she said so that they would stay clean. Wha? So is it a choice between having great furniture and keeping kids at arm's length? No! Fast forward to today where you can find chic, slipcovered sofas, affordable (read replaceable) sofas from places like IKEA and sunbrella fabric. Sunbrella is the uber tough fabric that is fade, spill….basically kid resistant. But it comes in some great fabric choices, not just outdoorsy stuff
Living Room Room Lie #2: coffee tables must be rectangular wood tables (maybe with a glass top on them)
Truth: if you have kids under the age of, I don't know, 12, the above "lie" is flat out inappropriate. You've got tinies! You don't want trips to the ER with profuse bleeding! Believe me, if there's a way to harm themselves, they will be inexplicably drawn to it. You want something to put your feet and/or drink on, but aside from that, there are tons of options! Rounded ottomans. Square ottomans put together (pull apart for extra seating!). Oversized poufs. The sky's the limit! Just remember: soft and somewhat flat so that adding a tray would make it stable. Storage scores major bonus points!
Living Room Lie #3: artwork must "match"
First of all, let's just put it out there. "Matching" is boring. There are some beautiful wall gallery displays of eight perfectly identically framed art pieces that are very similar in subject and style. Perfect example, those sets of baby animals that RHBaby sells that are in *everyone's* Pinterest boards right now. And don't get me wrong, they are beautiful! But do they inspire you to really investigate and search for "more" in them? No. If you've seen one of the prints, you've pretty much covered them all. So let's focus on being cohesive. First, me being me, I suggest you find something truly personal to center your gallery wall around. A family photo, a painting from your Aunt Maxine, fingerpainting from your tiny one, you name it. And then, find pieces that have a running color or style. Use *a* shade of blue (not the same shade of blue) in each piece, for example, or have black and white photographs. Side note: the more similar the art is (i.e. all photographs) the more you'll want to vary the framing. It can be some thick frames, some thin ones, or different colors. But make sure there's some interest there. Similarly, if the art is vastly different--finger painting next to pop art--you can get away with more uniform framing to bring them together. But those straight as a stick, less than passionate wall galleries? Not for you.
Living Room Lie #4: there is a set way to place furniture
Okay, I've seen those floor layouts. Sofas must be in an L-shaped configuration! Short of that, two matching chairs! You know what? Who are they to say what works in your home? They don't know that you have this awesome chair that your mother rocked you in and this fabulous vintage sofa! So, the only rule I follow when I work with furniture layouts is that there is no rule. The only thing to keep in mind is to make sure there's a pathway to easily access all pieces. Aside from that? Put it how it feels comfortable to you. Your family are big sports fans? Probably want all seats facing that big screen. More of a "curl up and read" room? Make sure there's comfy seating near a window with great light. You know what you need best. Trust your gut!
Living Room Lie #5: rugs should be a solid, sensible base
Don’t get me wrong. There is a time and a place for a neutral, sturdy jute rug. And it can work with the room perfectly! But there is also a time for CRAZY centerpiece rugs. You just have to figure out ahead of time who, amongst the pieces in the living room, will be the star. If it's a sofa with a big bold pattern, you don't want to compete with that. It'll give everyone a headache! But if you have fairly mellow, solid, but great textured seating, pump up the personality with that rug! Anthropologie has rugs that I absolutely drool over. But they do not play nicely with others! They are the diva! Don’t try to convince them otherwise! In short, it's all about balance. Rugs can be solid and sensible, or they can be crazy sexy. Your choice.
There you have it. 5 living room lies that you don't need to live any more. Be you! Be passionate! Be modern! What more can you ask in a living room?
If this blog spoke to you and, c'mon... I mean, you were "amen"-ing along with me, right? Check out these other blog posts for even more ways to make your house your home