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Bold colors and classic floors balance the formality of living rooms

October 09, 2013

Hardwood FloorsTraditionally, living rooms weren't intended for daily use. But the average family's activities have changed so much in recent years that every space is needed and room makeovers can turn these spaces into rooms as welcoming to family time as they are to visitors. Versatile features like hickory hardwood flooring from Anderson's Lone Star collection helps bridge formal areas with the rest of the house.

Introducing brighter colors is another way to achieve this without giving up the sophistication that many homeowners want in their entertaining spaces. Other ways to make a living room design less formal is to change its color proportions and set up furniture in a more casual arrangement.

Keep colors in proportion
If colors are kept in proportions that are nearly equal between walls, draperies and upholstery, there is less chance that one color will dominate the color scheme. In addition, accessories in bright colors can be used to accent walls and furniture. One advantage of using darker colors in area rugs is that they will anchor the room without overpowering other home design elements.

As one of those elements, a large living room window can be turned into a focal point with the use of custom drapery that adds color in a wide variety of solids or prints.

A bonus of using drapes is that they provide insulation against heat in summer and cold air in winter, and they save on homeowners' energy bills. Furniture and collectibles placed near windows also benefit, because draperies will act as a buffer against ultraviolet rays and prevent fading of furnishings.

Add versatility
Whether they're used as coffee or sofa tables, one of the most versatile items in living rooms are small tables. Both decorative and practical, they can be placed in front of a couch or between seating to create separate conversation areas.

According to Real Simple magazine, the many choices in small table styles range from contemporary glass-topped versions to hardwood that matches wood furniture. Those that come with drawers or a shelf beneath the top surface provide storage. A beveled mirror placed on the table top will fit a room decorated in Art Deco style and a traditional Parsons table goes well with country-style decor.

Slipcovers give homeowners a chance to change the look of a room seasonally and give their upholstered furniture a rest from continuous use. It's one of the easiest makeovers available in a room where many furnishings are among the homeowners' most valuable.