Beautiful rooms are meant to be lived in

Living the Good Life

It is the time of year when thoughts turn back toward the home. Many homeowners look for ways to make their rooms more stylish, but struggle to find the balance between beautiful and livable.

“Of course your home should be stylish. But if you can't enjoy living in it, what's the point?” says Erinn Valencich, a Los Angeles-based interior designer and blogger for HGTV's Design Happens. “I believe in creating beautiful spaces that are fun, elegant and livable.”

Redecorating a space with a few key elements can completely transform the look and feel of the room without breaking the budget. “When starting the room refresh process, keep the livability of the design elements in mind to make sure you have a balance that works within your lifestyle, but still gives the room personality and a special flair for style,” notes Valencich.

One of the easiest ways to breathe new life into a room is by refreshing the floors. A dull or scuffed floor can make a room look tired. Selecting the right flooring will create the perfect canvas to help tie all a room's design elements together. Flooring is one of the key design elements that will bring both personality and livability together. Local interior designer, Lori Hannum of SC41 Furniture, suggests that if re-doing the floor is out of your budget, try adding a fabulous new area rug or even several layered on top of your existing flooring.

Adding personality

“Great rooms have a personality ... a mix of vision, style and inspirations from everyday life, all while being comfortable and easy to live in,” says Valencich.

Blending a variety of influences will add distinction to a room. Start off by having a clearly defined color palette. Consider selecting a rich-toned floor to serve as a warm background for furniture. “ I like burnished walnut planks which can really help to ground a room,” says Valencich. To add contrast to a warm floor, add subtle color to the walls. Then, incorporating a collection and variety of prints and frames will help break up the wall color and add visual interest. Once all these elements are brought together, Valencich recommends adding a few pieces and accessories that will add dimension, such as a chandelier or colorful accent pillows to tie the entire room's personality together.

Hannum suggests mixing old and new to add personality to your space. “Don’t be afraid to re-upholster your great-grandmother’s antique bergere chair in a warm, colorful new fabric. It will bring both style and history to your home.”

Livability within design

Authentic style that works in real life is key to achieving a beautiful and comfortable room. Valencich's recommendations include:

  • Keep both comfort and style in mind when selecting furniture pieces.
  • Develop a list of how the room will be used by your family and guests. Keep it in mind when determining the layout and flow of the room.
  • Select flooring and furniture that is durable. Be sure to review all the warranty information before making a purchase.
  • Consider how much maintenance will be required to keep the pieces in your room looking fresh.
  • Don't let the room get too cluttered so that it becomes uncomfortable for guests to relax.
  • If you are going the DIY renovation route, seek products that are easy to install.

“Keep all these different pieces in mind while going through the design-planning process. Then, mix in your sense of style and personality for a room that will fit all your needs,” says Valencich.