The first installment in a series offering simple, useful advice to help bring your living room to life.

How do you use your living room? Having a morning coffee? Taking an afternoon nap? Entertaining guests? Watching movies? Working from home? All of the above?  For many of us, the living room is the most important and most regularly used room in the home. There isn’t another room in the house which serves such a variety of purposes. So, when it comes to designing your living room, it’s absolutely crucial you get it right. Here are some of our essential tips to help realize your living room’s potential, plus a few things to always avoid.


Where to place your furniture

So many people make the mistake of pushing all their furniture right back against the walls. Sure, it maximizes space in the center of the room, but is it conducive to the atmosphere you’re trying to create? If you love to entertain friends and want to encourage good conversation, in a villa, or penthouse, move your furniture away from the walls and bring them closer together. Create intimate conversation areas that are cozy and comfortable.


In small apartments, putting the sofa against the wall makes the room look larger and the space roomier. Here you need to also choose smaller pieces of furniture.



Getting the right rug

Remember, bigger is better. The mistake a lot of people make is choosing a rug that’s too small. Area rugs should be big and beautiful. The clue is in the name! Rugs really tie rooms together; however, having some furniture on the rug and some off can make your room look disjointed and incoherent.  Try to ensure all your major pieces of furniture fit on the rug. If you can’t fit on all four legs of each furniture piece, then at least make sure the front legs are on it. Around the edge of your room, there should ideally be around 25 to 50 cm of bare floor between the rug and your and the walls. This will elevate your space and create a cohesive, unified room.


Robin King Austin, Creative Director and Designer at Austin Home Interiors, believes that choosing a rug should be an early decision. She recommends color, either the new soft neutrals in blues and greens, or prints.



Hang your art the right way

A room with bare walls can appear incomplete, cold and uninviting. What you decide to hang on your living room walls is a great expression of your style and personality, but don’t feel the need to cover every inch. A well-positioned painting alongside an intimate furniture grouping will almost certainly encourage conversation. The general rule of thumb is to hang frames at eye-level. However, bear in mind the height of your ceilings. A frame hung at eye level in a low-ceilinged room could look misplaced. The AHI team will come and hang art for our customers, even if you didn’t buy it from our collection of original artwork. We usually hang a piece of art approximately 25 cm off the top of the furniture beneath it. The worst mistake is hanging a picture too high.



Light up your life

Keep it varied! Living rooms should always have lighting from a number of sources. This allows you to control the mood of the room and adjust for your intended purpose. Plus it makes you, your guests, and your room look better! Try to have a blend of overhead, ambient, and task lighting. All overhead lighting is harsh and too bright. A mixture with table side lamps providing ambient lighting is much more pleasing.  AHI has a wide variety of lamps and chandeliers from John Richard and Austin Lighting, designed by Robin King Austin.



We hope you learned something new and will use these tips to transform your own living room. Look out for our second blog in the series, coming very soon!

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