The Constructor

Interior Design

Civil Engineering

Reading time: 1 minute

Living rooms are the rooms in our house where people need to live. In most of the houses living rooms are decorated with utmost care and it is perhaps the most beautiful room in the house. Yet, it is the least used room by the family. Many people think that living rooms need to be kept picture perfect to entertain the guest. So they hardly use it.
The living room is the important room in your house as you entertain your guests there. It is also a mirror of your personality. But it also needs to be used. It is important that the guests as well as family members, both should feel comfortable with it. Sometimes picture perfect rooms give a crisp feeling and make people uncomfortable. Living rooms should be a source of pleasure and relaxation.

Here are some tips for making your living room comfortable and charming.

1) The color is very important. Choose lighter and neutral shades for the walls. This leaves lot of room for selecting furniture. It also makes it possible to change the furniture easily without changing the color scheme.

2) Waxed hardwood floors look charming. You can also use wall to wall, neutral color carpet, which can be decorated with area rugs.

3) Positioning of the furniture is very important especially if you have a large living room. It is better to divide the room in two or three separate seating areas. This provides cozy seating areas where you can entertain small groups easily. Even if you want to entertain large groups these arrangements help in tying people together.

It is also important to choose the right orientation for your furniture. You can face your furniture to some architectural focal point like:

  • Fireplace - Large window facing the garden or outdoors
  • Arch - If you do not have any such focal point in your house then you can create one by hanging pictures or murals on the wall.
4) Use area rugs to define seating areas. They not only add a splash of color to the décor but also help tying things together. Especially when you divide your living room in two or three seating areas using different rugs define these areas clearly.

5) If your furniture is in neutral colors then add lots of colorful and decorative pillows. This adds color to it and also creates very inviting and cozy feeling. This is especially important in winter. Addition of throw also can serve the same purpose.

6) While hanging heavy picture frames or murals choose a wall facing the furniture. This allows people to admire those and it is also safe not to hang them right above the seating area. Hang cloth wall hangings on the wall above seating area.

7) If you are fond of mirrors then always hang them in such way that people do not see their reflection in them all the time. This can make many people very uncomfortable.

8) A tall silk tree adds life and softens the look of the living room. Place it next to the entrance or in the foyer or next to the TV.

9) A small fishpond and a fountain are also charming additions to living room décor.

10) You can also place a decorative room divider to divide room into TV room and a living room. Soji screens (Japanese paper screens) are excellent for this purpose. They not only give the privacy but also permit diffused light inside.

11) A permanent flower arrangement in a basket or a tall vase brings outdoors, indoor even after spring and summer are gone.

12) The lighting in living room should be both general and diffused. There should be floor lamps to give bright light as well as there should be an arrangement for candle lights to create more romantic mood.

13) If you are staying in an apartment investing in sleeper sofa is a better idea than having regular sized sofa and love seat. This sofa sleeper provides an extra bed when needed and also takes less space.

You can use all the ideas mentioned above but at a smaller scale.For apartment living it is necessary to have everything scaled down to avoid crowded feeling.

It is important to keep living room clutter free though it should be used as any other room in the house. You can add more function to it by combining TV room or dining room with it.


Feng Shui is the Art of Placement, an ancient art that has been practiced in China for millenia. The idea is to create a harmonious atmosphere in your household: to create themes for key rooms, ranging from small libraries, to meditation rooms, family room, formal living and dining rooms and so on. Looking at the Art of Placement is very important for determining how your household flows.

Interestingly enough, Applied Psychology, in particular Industrial Psychology, goes into some of the same concepts for corporations and work places. Is the lighting good or does one have to strain their eyes? Is the furniture comfortable or torturous? Is it too hot or too cold? Are there pleasent smells or noxious ones? Is it hard to work in the environment?

How much more important is our home, where we have to live and regain ourselves, to receive warmth from the home hearth, to restore our inner selves as much as anything. To enjoy our families and comradery. A place of celebration and poignant moments. Truly our home is our castle.

Feng Shui looks at how furniture is placed, mirrors and much more. Is there a free flow of energy, are there obstructions around the front doorway? While much of this may seem like a matter of belief systems, much is symbolic psychology. In some systems one finds it important to place symbols most appropriate for what you are doing in that room. So obviously a library has books, a writing desk and much more. Deciding on the color scheme should be conducive for relaxed study and contemplation. Color schemes can be very important for each room of your house reinforcing other symbolic elements. Choose colors and symbols that are meaningful for you and have an impact on your psychology, of course consulting family members who share those spaces.

Living plants are also important for a household. Not just plants but anything alive ranging from fish to animals such as birds, ferns, potted flowers and bonsai trees. Feng Shui indicates that the energy level is increased with living things in the household. Lighting and music as already briefly discussed can have a major impact on ambiance. This would include rose colored light bulbs and other enhancers of atmosphere for lighting. Chimes, fountains and waterfall are also all good ideas for improving your household environment.

Perhaps most importantly we should look at some of the psychological ramifications of decoration. Why do you keep that old clock which looks like a belly dancer with the clock in the stomach? Is is because Uncle So and So or Aunt So and So gave it to you? Do you get angry every time you look at it? Well, get rid of it. It is a negative symbol. Get rid of old pictures of past boyfriends that might cause you problems or sorrow, or past girlfriends. Consider carefully the symbols in your household and how they make you react. Most importantly remember that you are creating for yourself a place of harmony. A special sanctuary of growth and peace and enrichment for you and for those who live with you, for family, and friends. When we look at it from this perspective, then indeed we know how important is the Art of Placement for the good health of all we welcome to our homes.


There are so many choices in paint. You want to do it yourself; however, you don't want to look like a complete idiot when the sales clerk asks, "may I help you?" We can all understand the terminology; it simply takes a bit of "gray matter" effort. Check out the list below pick out what you need for your particular job and look good to the "paint guy."

Latex flat enamel:

Water based and easy to clean up, this paint has the benefit of latex. It more like enamel paint, in that it can be washed, and is more durable than normal latex. The finish is flat (not shiny).


This paint is formulated to provide resistance to damage from abuse and abrasion. Alkyd is oil based solvent thinned paint. It has traditionally been used for heavy traffic areas, or doors, kitchen bathrooms, and cabinets. The surface created by alkyd paint is smooth and will help to refurbish any rough wood surface. It has a very strong odor. Paintbrushes will need to be cleaned with solvent.


Water based, can be cleaned up with water, and also thinned with water. It has less of the offensive "paint odor" than paints that are of an oil base and will dry in a reasonably short time. It works well on areas with high alkali content such as new concrete.

Enamel paint:

This paint has a high content of resin, making it have a nice gloss and is rub resistant consequently this would work well in area that is well used and needs to be washed every so often. Enamel can also be in latex form as well as alkyd.


Similar to baked on enamel however it is placed on surface with two coatings used in kitchens and bathrooms where there is a likelihood of high moisture. Can be scrubbed with ease when needed.

Floor and deck paint:

To be used outside on decks, it is a heavy-duty paint and will resist the attack of changing weather and many "footsteps." It may be purchased in a glossy formula or a flat surface paint. The shiny mix can be cleaned with ease, and the flat finish is more resistant to chips and cracks.

Acoustic tile paint:

The many small holes in acoustic tile are there for a good reason, and that is to help absorb sound. Using regular paint would fill the holes and defeat the purpose intended, which is, making them soundproof. This paint is specifically formulated for this specific purpose.

Do not buy cheap paintbrushes the extra cost of a good tool will save a big headache later. Find natural bristles for oil base paints and nylon bristles for water based paints. Check out new products on the market and read the labels.


I had worked very hard in my children's rooms. I wanted my two boys to be comfortable and feel that that was their special space.

I painted, hung wallpaper borders, laid carpeting, bought matching bed ensembles, curtains and linens. And when their rooms were done we were all very happy - except for one thing. The ceiling. With all of the time, effort and work I had put into decorating their rooms the notion of a plain, painted flat white ceiling was very unappealing. I even went so far as to lay down in their beds and on the floor to stare up at it imagining what could be done to make it special - like the rest of the room.

I didn't want to make it too busy or colorful and take away from the coordinating decorating efforts I had made but I just wanted to do something, something special. My oldest son loves stars so I decided to paint some starts on his ceiling. I got some silver colored acrylic paint and set to work. But, after completing one start it looked sort of dreary. It didn't sparkle like stars do. So I began to brainstorm. What would add that extra sparkle, that added glitter? GLITTER! I mixed some of the paint with about half a tube of sliver glitter and painted another star.

It was beautiful! And my son loves it too. Sometimes when he's lying in bed at night I can even hear him singing, "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star".

I decided to do the same sort of thing on the ceiling in my younger son's room. I had done stars and a "night" theme in my oldest's room so I planned on a "day" theme for this room. I painted the ceiling a very pale blue and with a pencil lightly drew the outlines of puffy, white clouds. Again, I wanted something special and I didn't think plain, white paint would give me the effect I was searching for. So, I decided to go for texture. I mixed taping compound with an equal amount of paint and with a thick, coarse paintbrush created swooping swirls of puffy clouds overhead. Admittedly, it did take some time to dry completely but when it did the affect was fabulous!

Use you imagination. Make stars or puffy clouds of your own. You don't have to even be a very good artist. Try a colorful rainbow. Add mutli colored or gold glitter. Make it special. Make your children's rooms a fun place for them to be!


How can one's home be "Home Sweet Home" if the decor is not what one is happy with?

All of us at one point or another in our lives have to decide to remodel one or all of the rooms in our home. Sure, you can shrug it off and hire a contractor or interior designer to "take control", but would it be even nicer if you were to choose what you yourself want from the get go? Here are a few tips to getting what you want out of remodeling any of your rooms:

What is the feeling of your room?

In spite of the actual size of your room, there are many techniques available to you in helping to create a sense of coziness or spaciousness, depending on your personal style.


You love the wide open spaces and want to bring the outside in. You may prefer contemporary design and think of your personal decorating syle as "light and airy". Here are some tips on achieving that sense of spaciousness in your rooms.


To create a feeling of largeness in your room, you will want to eliminate the shadows that tend to slice a room up into smaller spaces. Work on lighting the room with a soft, even light. Avoid ceiling lights as they tend to make the ceiling feel lower. Diffused, ambient lighting will tend to enlarge the room.


Soft colors and monochromatic color schemes. Use cream, beige, gray or cool pastels on your walls and floors to make them recede. The ceiling should always be the lightest color in the room. Textures

Keep your surfaces free of heavy textures. Smoother surfaces tend to reflect more light and make the room feel larger. Avoid heavy textured flooring. Choose tile over patterned or textured carpeting. Reflecive and shiney surfaces such as mirror and chrome also can be used effectively.


Limit the use of patterns in the room to create a more airy feeling. The idea is not to stop the eye as it travels across the room. A typical application of pattern might be to reserve it for an accent piece; pillows and/or accessories might be a good choice.


Selection and placement of furniture in a room is crucial in defining the space. Keep the largest pieces against the walls whenever possible. Choose furniture colors that are the same or similar to those selected for the walls and floors. Select pieces that stand off the floor on legs and are made of materials that reflect or let light through. And above all, use as few furniture pieces as possible in the room to avoid over crowding.


Your room, your nest. You want to be enveloped by it. Surrounded by its warmth and comforted by its inviting spaces. Here are some things to consider when creating a more intimate space.


Create spaces through the use of directed light. The shadows that will result will help visually eliminate those areas. Lighting from the ceiling will seem to lower it. A reading lamp or down-shaded lamp will cast light only in its relative vicinity. Use incandescent rather than halogen or florescent lamps for a warmer glow.


Choose strong colors for your walls and floor. They will tend to bring them in closer towards one another. A dark floor with walls of brown or deep red, blue or green tones will help create the feeling of a smaller, cozier space.


Heavy, soft textures add warmth to a space. Faux fur or hand knitted throws on a sofa, plush pile carpeting and draperies are all textural elements to consider. Use rougher textures for the hard elements in the room; iron instead of chrome, brick instead of glazed tiles.


The use of pattern in a room can also lend a sense of coziness to the space. Oriental rugs and printed wallpapers, patterned upholstery fabrics - used alone or in combinations; the more pattern in a room, the smaller it will feel. The subject of mixing patterns in a room will be covered at some future time. Suffice it to say, care must be taken when combining pattenrs in a room. The rule of thumb, especially in a smaller space is "Don't over-do it."


Choose dark finishes and fabrics to create a sense of the piece being larger than it actually is. Heavy textured fabrics and large patterns will add a cozy feeling to a sofa or chair. Place pieces away from the wall and use tall pieces to divide and define smaller spaces within a room for greater intimacy.

These are just a group of basic things to keep in mind when remodeling any room in your home. I hope they will indeed create that ever elusive ambiance of "Home Sweet Home".

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