The living room is the first and last place your guests will see in your home. As the most important room in the house, the living room serves as an entertainment center and a cozy spot to relax and mingle with your family. While it can be an intimidating place to decorate, we’ll help you with aesthetic decoration ideas and the following tips that will make your home look like a picture from a magazine.

1. Know What You’re Working With

It’ll be hard to decorate your living room without measuring the space. To ensure your dream room design fits within the dimensions of your home, measure the length, width, and height of the area and draw a rough estimate of the room’s shape on graphing paper. Pay attention to the size of each door and window to make sure the furniture you buy can be maneuvered inside.

2. Create Your Living Room Layout

On that same graphing paper, draw what type of layout you want. Include staple items like a sofa, chairs, coffee tables, side tables, an entertainment stand, lights, and curtains. If you want a more accurate living room layout, there are many free phone apps that can help.

3. Buy the Right Couch

Sofas are the focal point of the room and need to be considered first before deciding on a style. It’s possible that the style you want for your living room won’t fit with the dimensions of your space. Find a sofa that’s both functional and stylish, but don’t forget about your lifestyle. If you have children or love to entertain, your couch may be used more often and needs to be larger.

When considering where to buy a couch, be sure to choose a place that offers warranties on their products and delivery options, so you won’t hurt yourself moving it.

4. Decide on an Overall Style

Revolve your decorating style around your sofa and start thinking about smaller pieces that can match the biggest features in your living room. If your couch is a neutral color, you can get away with colorful accessories, or you could stick to a more minimalist design.

Some design choices, like Victorian or Farmhouse, need to have matching furniture items, or the space will look messy. Consider everything from price to availability when choosing aspects of your decor.

5. Choose a Color Palette

White walls are a safe choice, but if you want to play with your overall aesthetic, you’ll need the right paint colors. Don’t be afraid to mix decor trends and different colors when deciding on how to paint. Depending on your style, wallpaper can act as a great alternative to a matte varnish.

6. Add Accessories, Art, and Decoration

Your living room will look a bit dull without accessories, wall art, and table decoration. The easiest place to start is with throw pillows, blankets, and coffee table books, as these are the most used areas of the living room. As you go, look for empty spots on the floor to add rugs, side tables to add nik naks, and on the walls for pictures. Always think of your overall theme.

Don’t go overboard with your decorations unless your style thrives off of crowding. However, most living rooms will need negative space to not feel claustrophobic. Add touches that may not fit your theme (photographs, memorabilia, books) to make the space more personal.

7. Find Complimentary Lighting

After decorating your space, it’s time to add one of three lighting types: task, ambient, or accent. Choose between a mix of overhead chandeliers, floor and table lamps, and wall sconces. Play with the lighting by switching out warm and cool light bulbs to find the look you’re going for, but you may need to arrange the living room around until the space looks more intriguing.