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8 living room design dilemmas – solved!

Sarah Tolle – Homify Canada Sarah Tolle – Homify Canada
scandinavian  by Cool Radiators? It’s Covered!, Scandinavian
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Not all living rooms are created equal – it’s common to come face to face with logistical dilemmas when redecorating your space. This ideabook addresses issues such as clunky radiators, outdated carpets, and limited seating – if you find your living room decor plans limited by obstacles, odd-shaped rooms, and awkward permanent features, find new ways to work around these issues in these 8 common living room design dilemmas – solved by the professionals on homify.

​Dilemma 1: An outdated, clunky radiator is crowding the living room

You can either highlight your radiator, or hide it. Turn it into an elegant vintage feature by installing a vintage grill, or cover it up with a radiator cover – a shelf-like box disguised as a small hallway table that hides the radiator, with plenty of slats to allow for airflow and heat exchange.

​Dilemma 2: I’m fed up with my living room carpet, but don’t have the budget for new flooring

Treat your carpet as if it were a hardwood floor, and place new area rugs throughout the space. You can use these strategically to cover up worn or stained spots. This isn’t an ideal permanent fix, however: in the meantime, research your options, as there are many hardwood-esque flooring options like vinyl that come at a fraction of the price, and some styles are designed to be installed without the need for professional tools.

​Dilemma 3: I want a modern aesthetic but live in an old building

A fresh coat of paint will do wonders for creating a fresh, clean aesthetic. Opt for sleek monochrome schemes in which the sills, doors, frames, and trim are all painted the same colour, or opt for high impact contrasts (black and white, for example) that bring crisp modern flair into an older space. This will set a good stage for the modern style furniture you’ve had your eye on.

​Dilemma 4: Too many embedded bookshelves, too few books

modern  by Lamco Design LTD, Modern
Lamco Design LTD

Wall hung TV unit and bookcase. Also with a glass sliding door to lower unit

Lamco Design LTD

The mere fact that the bookshelves are there doesn’t oblige to you fill them with books – or with anything, for that matter. Take a cue from this design and appreciate the beauty that negative space brings to the room, with many shelves intentionally left unfilled. Short on books? Mix it up by making a display of your travel souvenirs, family heirlooms, and other small treasures.

​Dilemma 5: When friends come over, I don’t have enough seating

Beach Living Room Modern living room by Collage Designs Modern Tiles
Collage Designs

Beach Living Room

Collage Designs

Plan ahead with furniture that serves more than one purpose. Opt for an ottoman design that also works as a bench, or replace your side table with a stool, which offers a small tabletop the majority of the time, and seating for when you have friends over. Consider floor cushions as well  - you can store these in a closet and distribute them across the floor for living room gatherings.

​Dilemma 6: I want to break out of my neutral scheme, but I’m not ready to commit to a colour

A neutral room provides an excellent stage for showcasing the beauty of colour – you won’t need a huge commitment to make a big impact. Start small, adding a bold colour in just one or two accessories. Things like pillows, throws, and vases are a small investment, so you can experiment as you explore your new, colourful scheme.

​Dilemma 7: My TV has become the centerpiece of my living room

With the rising popularity of flat screen TVs, many homes are doing away with large entertainment centres with the ability to conceal the TV with doors when not in use. If you find that all eyes are drawn to the large flat screen that steals attention from your other decor, you can camouflage your TV by painting the wall behind it a darker colour. This way, the black screen will not jump out with a bold contrast, pulling attention from the rest of your lovely decor.

​Dilemma 8: People never have a spot to put things down when they come over

Watercolor graphics by Pixers Scandinavian

Watercolor graphics


A good rule of thumb: make sure there’s a flat, stable surface within reach of each seat. This way, you’ll be able to easily judge whether or not you have enough table space. A folding tray table, rolling cart, and stool are all good temporary options that you can store when not in use.

Find more home inspiration in a tour of these 6 superb Canadian homes!

What are your living room design dilemmas and decor tips? Share below!
Modern houses by Casas inHAUS Modern

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