A large living room is great for hosting big parties but huge spaces present special decorating challenges of their own. Since you won’t be entertaining every day you want to plan for how you will use the room for day to day living. Today’s 31 decorating tips will help you make a large space stylish and cozy and enhance it with large rugs.
1. Fill vertical space with garden views. Tall ceilings and bare walls can make a large room look unbalanced. This Nashville living room has devised a brilliant solution with floor to ceiling windows that let in spectacular views of tall trees and change colors of the four seasons. Come nightfall a tall chandelier adorns the room with a shimmering flower burst.
2. Large contemporary gray rug tip: Choose a rug that is large enough so all chairs have all four legs on the rug. This will make it easier for guests to slide chairs to join a conversational group. It is acceptable to have a sofa two thirds on the rug and one third off the rug as in this Nashville living room by McAlpine Booth and Ferrier. For a clean modern look choose a gray contemporary rug with a subtle pattern and pair it with cream upholstery and drapery. Add contrast with and dark gray accent pieces as in the room above.
3. Fill vertical space with tall furniture and drapes. Tall drapes, high back chairs upholstered in vertical stripes, tall built in cabinets, paneled walls and ceiling and a tall floral arrangement atop a grand piano fill up the vertical space in this glamorous Sea Island, Georgia living room designed by Lisa Torbett Interiors.
4. Large geometric rug tip : If you wish to add drama to a large space consider using a rug with a large scale geometric pattern such as the custom colored Chipping rug in this living room. If you have the option of custom coloring the rug choose some colors that compliment the fabrics and some colors that contrast with the fabrics. In the room above the green background color of the rug contrasts with the burgundy drapes and the gold detail color compliments the gold chair fabric.
5. Divide a large living room visually. A large open space can feel cold and cavernous and dividing it into smaller functional areas will make it feel cozier and more suitable for everyday use. Lisa Torbett Interiors created visual breaks with a console table behind the sofa and an alcove at the far end where a mirror is flanked by a pair of small built in cabinets and two chairs which can be quickly pulled to the sitting area when needed.
6. Large geometric rug tip: If you wish to create a calm atmosphere choose a rug with a mid-scale geometric pattern in neutral colors such as the Bombay needlepoint rug and and use lighter and darker shades of the colors in the rugs for the upholstery, walls, floor, ceiling and furniture.
7. Create alcoves for different functional areas. Very large family and living rooms may require more than one alcove. Lisa Torbett Interiors created a second alcove for the kitchen and breakfast area. The living room is visible on the left.
8. Double up on accent pieces. A large room with many small pieces can look cluttered. Double up on small accent pieces such as side tables, pillows and lamps and the room will look calmer.
9. Dark wood ceiling. A dark ceiling makes a room feel less tall and wood beams create a cozy feeling.
10. Create calm by repeating colors and patterns: The dark wood tones of the furniture are repeated on the wood floor and ceiling beams and the light cream color in the rug is repeated in the upholstery and walls. The Bombay needlepoint rug also has a repeating pattern.
11. Group pictures in a grid. Small framed art can get lost in a large room. To create impact group them in a large grid above a fireplace or above a game table.
12. Link adjacent rooms through color. The blue pillows and blue and gold porcelain vases in the family room link it visually with the living room because it has a blue and white needlepoint rug (see below).
13. Create an intimate dining area. A large living room is wonderful for entertaining big groups, but you won’t be doing this every day. Think about how you would like to use the room for daily living. A small dining table nestled in the alcove by a window can become your favorite place to have romantic dinners.
14. Large blue and white floral rug tip: The adjoining family room has a beige geometric rug and blue and white accessories.If you chose a beige rug for the living room it would look too similar to the family room. Instead put a blue and white floral rug on the floor, such as the Bergamo rug pictured here, and use beige in smaller accent pieces. This approach gives each room a unique personality.
15. Avoid wall hugging. If sofas and chairs are lined up along walls it will leave a large empty area in the middle of the room. Pull furniture and create a cozy conversation grouping as designer Asia Baker did in the living room of her family’s Long Island estate. If guest have to shout to be heard, you know the furniture is spread too far apart.
17. Use a large ottoman in place of a coffee table. A large stylish ottoman will fill the space between the sofas and chairs in a cozier way.
18. Create a window seating area. Window seats add visual interest and turn an used area into a seating area and an attractive spot for relaxing while enjoying the view outside.
19. Add a game table. Once you pull sofas away from walls there will be lots of space along the walls that you can utilize for other functions. One solution is to set up a game table with a pair of armchair chairs in front of a painting as designer Asia Baker did. Baker made this space chic by creating pop with daffodil yellow drapes and upholstering the chairs in a small scale flora print to compliments the large scale floral rug.
20. Cool down a beach house living room with two levels. The lower level of this beach house living room in Punta Mita, Mexico designed by Martyn Lawrence Bullard is naturally cooled as warm air rises it can escape through the thatched ceiling and is replaced by cool sea breezes. The half level marble walls not only stay cool they also make the seating area feel protected and intimate.
21. Large blue striped rug tip. Choose a blue rug that has small amounts of beige, gold or some other warm color. The warm accent color in the rug will make the room feel cozier and also pull together the brown wood tones in the furniture and ceiling.
22. Juxtapose rustic and refined styles. A large room can look stiff and lifeless if all the objects are refined or all are rustic. Miles Redd famously said “Juxtaposition: high/low; shiny/matte; grand/humble; modern/ancient. It is the essence of chic.” If your furniture is refined, pair it with a rustic wood ceiling as AD100 Designer David Easton did in this Dallas living room. Follow Miles Redd’s advice if you want the room to look stylish and feel comfortable.
23. Large rug tip: Choose a large rug that combines rustic and refined elements such as the custom Bessarabin rug in the David Easton designed room above. Such a rug will unify the grand and humble objects in the room and put guests at ease.
25. Cool down a sunroom with green and white. If you want your sun room to feel cool in the summer and cozy in the winter like this Palm Beach sun room by Allison Paladino, paint the walls pale green and the ceiling and wood trim white. Use straw colored blinds as they feel cool in the summer and sunny in the winter. Add contrast with dark green and dark brown accent pieces.
26. Large green and white floral rug tip. Pull the whole room together with a green and white rug that has many shades of green with small accents of brown as in the Ferncroft needlepoint rug in the Palm Beach sun room.
27. Anchor an awkward large room with sectional sofa. A long and narrow living room with many doors can feel like a passageway. Create a cozy sitting area by anchoring a corner with a sectional sofa. If there is more space you can balance the room with a small round table and three upholstered chairs that can be pulled towards the sectional sofa when needed as in this Chicago penthouse living room by AD100 designer Michael S. Smith.
28. Large blue oriental rug tip. For a sophisticated and contemporary look choose a large blue oriental rug with a small repeating pattern and pair it with a large abstract painting, and a mix traditional and modern chairs upholstered in pale blue fabrics in a mix of textures. Add pop with cobalt blue accents.
30. Visually divide an extra large living room with columns. If the living room is very large you may also want to visually separate the passageway to the other rooms with columns and a runner rug as shown in this design by architects Ferguson & Shamamiam.
31. Visually divide areas with day bed. In addition to dividing a very large room with columns you can make the sitting area slightly lower level and make the space cozier by visually separating sitting areas with a daybed, a table and the back of a sofa.