Large pieces of furniture can make a room feel overly weighty, but I knew I wanted this space to feel light and airy, so that was the major goal (apart from maximizing our seats). I always use the same five tactics to make a room feel lighter and more open:
HOW TO MAKE A LIGHT AND AIRY LIVING ROOM:
- make use of light colors
- bring in some plants
- textures must be layered
- save money on wall art
- keep accents to a minimum
IN A LIVING ROOM, USE LIGHT COLORS:
You can select light hues that will increase the brightness and open atmosphere of a living room even with little children.
Our basement walls were painted the same Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray as the rest of the house (you can see all our paint colors in this home here). It’s a lovely chameleon light gray that shifts between warm and chilly depending on the light, making it ideal for this space. Sherwin Williams Extra White was used for all of the trim.
I loved the deep blue/gray rug we had in here, but it was too dark for the new aesthetic, so I switched it out for the one we had in our front living room… and I think it’s perfect. The brighter, warmer neutrals with the slightly more classic pattern are a fantastic match for the Cube modular sofa’s cooler, more modern style (more about that choice in part 1 of this room reveal). And, despite the lighter colors, I’m aware of how forgiving the pattern is when it comes to dirt, spills, and stains, which may or may not be an issue with four children.
The softer (but still kid-friendly) color scheme was completed with a few lighter throws and affordable accent pillows.
HOW TO ADD GREEN TO A LIVING ROOM:
Greenery, whether real or fake, brings life and brightness to any room.
One of my two fiddle leaf fig plants (in a larger basket so that baby wouldn’t eat the dirt) was incorporated to our family room remodel…
I have two fiddle leaf fig trees that I bought on clearance four years ago and have (miraculously) survived our family, but if you’re worried about keeping one alive, I’ve seen some really great faux fiddle leaf figs, and I’ve included some of my favorites here in a variety of sizes and price points:
The hanging plant was a great job for this area. I like balance to symmetry, and this looked like the perfect opportunity to do so: balancing the fiddle leaf fig on one end of the sectional with the hanging vine on the other.
Because this is a live plant, I had to think outside the box to keep it from dripping on our new sofa. I used to have a small concrete hanging planter, but I think I left it on the counter by accident, with the trailing vine dangling enticingly down to the ground… … the infant may or may not have yanked it off the counter and onto the floor, where it cracked (luckily, she was unharmed). Finally, I decided that a historic silver bowl (which was really an award given to my grandmother decades ago – it’s always exciting when something has history, right?!) would be the best option. I simply placed the potted plant in the silver bowl, still in its nursery pot, and hung it with this macrame hanger.
Above the television, I also put some false flora to my vignettes. In my opinion, anything that necessitates the use of an actual ladder to water is better fake.
TEXTURE LAYERING IN A LIVING ROOM:
I’m a neutral girl at heart, and I prefer texture to color for adding interest. However, regardless of your natural preferences, keeping a monochromatic appearance might serve to balance out the size of a large sectional. The same tones can be calming, allowing the large sofa to blend in a little more, but the textures provide lots of variety.
Our stump side table (which makes a terrific DIY if you can find a log!) and the neutral carpeting added texture. The natural fiber carpeting by our back entrance, of course, adds to the layers.
The sofa’s linen look, the ottoman’s leather, and the armchair’s burlap back all lend to the space’s rich textures. Not to mention the fireplace’s historic brick, which contrasts nicely with the pristine white trim (get all the info on our fireplace project here).
WALL ART FOR A LIVING ROOM THAT IS EASY TO MAKE:
Using only 1-2 pieces of wall art, whether large or tiny, will help the space feel less congested and more open.
Obviously, there isn’t much wall space in here, but I didn’t want the hanging plant to be alone. An excellent print of one of my photographs from our time in Paris and an old frame from my stash (I think it was Hobby Lobby originally?) – again with a natural wood frame for texture – provided the ideal amount of contrast and recollection. (PS Engineer prints are my top-secret method for finding completely economical wall art.) Only a few dollars for a large print!)
I finished it up with a cheap picture light from Amazon because we needed a light in that corner and didn’t have room for a lamp behind the sofa. To be honest, it’s a little light, and the brass is a little yellower than I prefer, but for $25, it’s a nice place holder and practical light for that corner until I find something better.
SIMPLE LIVING ROOM ACCENTS INCLUDE:
Accents are the cherry on top of your living room, but too many can make it feel crowded. Keep things basic and light!
I desire less stuff when I have more children. Tell me I’m not the only one? You’ll see that the coffee and side tables are both vacant (hi, 10 month old baby), as is the hearth. I did add some of my favorite decorations to the cubbies over the tv and my fave candlesticks to the mantel (they’ve pretty much earned a permanent spot there).
As you can see, I attempted to keep the highlights to three main categories: natural brown tones, white, and a hint of blue/green glass to mirror the blue gray sofa and the vegetation in the area. And, just in case you’re wondering, this is a family area, so we do have some toys down here: games in the cabinet beside the fireplace, and baby toys in the basket on the floor. They’re easy to toss back in the basket and cover with an extra Turkish towel when I’m weary of staring at them.
That concludes my five suggestions for creating a light, airy living space. It’s tough to decorate around a large piece of furniture like our couch, but I believe these strategies help the sofa merge into the living room while maintaining a light and airy sense. Whether you have a sectional or not, these strategies can help any living room feel the same way!