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A Man's Guide: How to Design Your Living Room

Welcome to The Mittani's Guide to Design! In this article we will teach you how to optimally set up your living room. 

If you're new to The Mittani's Guide to Design, start with How To Design A Room, discover your personal style with How To Define Your Personal Style, then discover how to design your Living RoomDining Room, and Bedroom the Madfern way. At Madfern, we're here to make furniture shopping for nerds like us a snap. Enjoy!  

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Living rooms begin with their purpose. You need to decide what you want from your living room as well as its theme and focal point before you get started. A living room can be for relaxing by yourself, impressing dates, family time, or entertaining. Check out Madfern's curated living room collection; Alex and Sara have already done the shopping for you!

Designing a stylish living room is easy once you know the system; follow these guidelines and you can't go wrong. 

  • First, choose your focal point and make sure it is visible immediately from the main entryway of your living room. The goal here is that your focal point automatically draws the eye of anyone who enters, allowing you as the designer to convey the mood and flow of the room. If you'd like a refresher on how focal points work in design, learn more at How To Design A Room!
  • Create pathways to your focal point or across it, in cases where you are displaying a collection of items or a Lego Star Destroyer. People will want to look at the focal point, make sure they can get there. Clear pathways so your guests don't have to watch out for end-tables and lamps that could get bumped into along the way!
  • Map your power outlets! Before planning where things go, make sure you know where you can get power. Too often we have put a heavy piece of furniture down only to discover that there's no convenient place for phone chargers. This is particularly important in situations where your focal point requires power, such as with a lighted display case. 
  • Lighting matters. It creates intimacy, and this is especially important in the living room because it is typically the first room someone walks into. Use different of light set at different levels to make the space warm and attractive; dimmer switches or hue lights allow you to change the lighting to match your activities. Lighting can serve several functions, such as accenting your focal point, creating ambiance, or assisting in a task such as assembling a scale model. Check out Madfern's Lighting Collection to get started!
  • Plants, Fake or Real: Plants are the secret weapon of design, and if you can't handle real plants, high quality fake ones serve the same visual purpose. At Madfern we are mad about plants, because they add nature, depth and dynamic to a room. Alex loves snake plants, if you are looking for a great low-maintenance starter houseplant. 
  • Frame your posters! We're not in college anymore. A nice frame can turn a poster into a statement piece that defines your room. 
  • Accent and Decor pieces: When choosing the right items to display on bookcases, shelves or the coffee table, pick items that you would like to spark conversations about with your guests. Those with social anxiety can use this to feel more comfortable entertaining in their space and can control the conversation a bit. Lay out books, sculptures or displays that you are confident and excited to hold a conversation about. This is where your personality shines in a room, use it to work for you. This also the secret to making a space more lady-friendly; those throw rugs and accent pillows make a difference. Get started with Madfern's Decor Collection!
  • Mirrors: Mirrors reflect light. Use them to your advantage to brighten up a room. Another bonus, it will make the place more lady friendly, the ladies will like the opportunity to nonchalantly check if their hair or makeup is a mess. If a mirror looks out of place on the wall, add a shelf or piece of furniture under it to create more of an anchored look.
  • Height: We are both almost six foot tall and we had the habit of hanging art work, mirrors, and TVs too high on the wall. Keep this in mind or your items will look like they are 'floating' rather than anchored. Another risk is that it will make the ceiling feel lower than it really is. Get some help and have someone hold the item against the wall or a piece of cardboard in the same shape while you are standing about six to ten feet away to choose the proper height. This could potentially a great date night idea with someone you are getting to know.
  • Bare Walls Are Not Your Enemy: Not every single wall requires art or something on it, because your eye needs to flow within the room. Art should flow with the sweep of your pathways - walk back and forth along the pathways in your room to get a better understanding of this principle. Notice where your eye is naturally drawn as it scans the walls! 
  • Escape the Walls! A common error is to put your couch and all your other furniture against the walls in your living room in an effort to maximize space. If you have the space, consider furniture groupings around your focal points like a fireplace, TV, or window. 

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A Man's Guide: How to Design a Room

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A Man's Guide: How to Design Your Dining Room