In contrast to the smaller living rooms that many of us grew up with, great rooms are perhaps one of the most exciting innovations in modern home design. Their open floor plans not only offer flexibility, but also a more efficient use of space.
They also come with a few interior decorating challenges. Many great rooms, particularly those in larger homes, feel more like an empty warehouse than an alternative to the traditional living room.
While too much space is never a problem, filling that space can be a real challenge. The proportions of the room can be overwhelming and furnishings that look right at home in an apartment or smaller home can look minuscule in a great room.Some clever decorating tricks can help you warm up these larger rooms.
Divide the space into smaller areas that will provide communal areas for entertaining, reading and conversation areas for more intimate or private activities, and more utilitarian areas such as an office or craft area, depending on your family's needs.
Define the spaces with area rugs, room dividers or architectural features. Rugs may be the easiest way to define a space. The rugs don't have to match, but they shouldn't appear so small that the room appears fragmented.
You can also define the spaces with color. But I would recommend that you keep a unifying color to prevent the room for appearing too busy or piecemeal. For instance, paint the walls a neutral, but use an area rug, art and accessories in an accent color to define an area of the room.
Make sure the most expensive pieces you buy for your room are neutral and durable. You don't want to have to replace them as they wear, or as your color tastes change. That's a budget buster. Replace the more inexpensive items instead.
Avoid "dead" space - areas that are empty with no apparent use. While it is best not to be too cluttered, make use of all your space. Put an occasional chair or tall plant in the area if you can think of nothing else.
DARK AND WARM
Use color to make the space more intimate. Dark, warm colors on the wall can make the difference. You can go large, dark, heavy, and rich in a spacious room without fear - if that's your taste.
Use lots of texture to take up visual space. Shaggy rugs, pillows and throws appear to have more substance than smoother options. Use this property to your advantage.
Use darker lampshades that bring the light down to eye level rather than letting it get lost in the large room. The effect is more concentrated light around the seating which appears more intimate.
Plan the areas for comfort and good conversation. Place tables by each seating areas for drinks or other items the guests may want to place there. Place seating areas close enough together to allow for normal conversation. Don't make your guests have to shout across the room to talk to each other.
Use large art and large patterns to match the proportion of the room. When you have a large expanse of wall, you can fill it with a large art piece or a large grouping of smaller pieces. But avoid small pieces hanging alone on the wall. They appear lost in the space. The same principle applies to large patterns. A small pattern on, say, a pillow will be lost and will be read by the eye as a solid. So go bold and graphic, the space can handle it!
Tom Matherson at www.ezinearticles.com