Design Dilemma: Right-sizing an Extra Large Living Room | Home Design Find

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Design Dilemma: Right-sizing an Extra Large Living Room

traditional living room how to tips advice

There are two types of people in the world: those who have tiny living rooms who wish they had bigger ones and those with massively large living rooms who have no idea what to do with all the space. Which are you?

If you happen to be one of those with a large living room, we’ve got a few tips to help make a cavernous space feel cozy again.

Create zones within your larger room.

So you have a huge den and your couch fills only one small corner of it? Why not create several areas which can accommodate different groups and different activities. You might create two conversation areas, a quiet reading corner, a work station, or even a play zone for the kids.

In the den above, the owners have chosen to create a work/study area that allows members of the family to attend to work while others lounge. The living room below is an example of a room with two conversation areas, one for an intimate tete-a-tete and the other a conversation area for a larger group.

contemporary living room how to tips advice

Here’s another room that has been double-purposed. On the far side of the room is a “library” complete with book shelves and a cozy reading area. The other part of this room is a lounging and conversation area.

eclectic living room how to tips advice

Here’s another example of the same thing. The owners have cleverly used a table to separate two different conversation areas. This room will be great for parties!

eclectic bathroom how to tips advice

Consider ceiling treatments to create a feeling of intimacy and interest.

A large space can feel more intimate with beamed or cofferred ceilings or even decorative medallions. Take a look:

traditional living room how to tips advice

The decorative moldings help to pull the ceiling in, reducing the scale of the room. Same thing is happening in this room:

traditional living room how to tips advice

Here’s an example of another large room with an elaborate ceiling treatment:

eclectic living room how to tips advice

Do you notice how each of these rooms feels intimate, despite the huge dimensions?

Paint the walls a warm color.

As you can see from the last three photos, each bathed in vibrant color, paint can help a large room feel cozier. Sandy and beige tones, yellow greens and periwinkles all help to make the above large spaces feel intimate. And below is another  example of a large room that feels more intimate with the use of wallpaper. (The over-sized floor lamp was another clever way to fill up space).

eclectic living room how to tips advice

Make use of area rugs.

In each of our examples of large rooms, you’ll spot area rugs. Area rugs are a great way to create divisions and zones within a space. With something warm underfoot, and with an explosion of pattern and color, rugs instantly make any room feel homey.

Below, a West Village townhouse features two area rugs for two conversation areas:

eclectic living room how to tips advice

The large livingroom below makes use of multiple area rugs to create different zones, and even layers area rugs on top of each other for a multi-dimensional effect:

traditional living room how to tips advice

Get the lighting right.

Large, cavernous rooms need lots of different types of lighting for different functions. Generalized ceiling lights may be necessary at times, but even more important are task lights that can help make a space feel warmer. This means lots of table lamps, reading lights and work station lights to flick on when it’s time to make things cozy.

The room below is a great example of a large space with many different task lights. Not only is there diffused general lighting in the form of up wall sconces and down recessed lights, but there are spotlights for paintings and table lamps for intimate conversation:

contemporary living room how to tips advice


In most of the examples you see above, there are a few key elements that also help a large room to feel lived-in. Most of our examples feature bookshelves, which take up visual space and help to bring walls in more closely. It’s hard to feel like your living in a cave if you are surrounded by books!  Other important features include wall art, framed mirrors, decorative screens and throw pillows.  You’ll be amazed at how combining these elements can instantly take a huge, cavernous living room to a cozy, yet spacious setting.

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