So many of our clients have been there - standing in the middle of the living room, scratching their heads and wondering, "What on earth were we thinking?" Whether it's an ill-placed sofa that doubles as a tripping hazard or a colour scheme that clashes more than it coordinates, living room mistakes happen to the best of us.

We want to help you avoid these common pitfalls before they turn into full-blown decorating disasters. That's why we've pulled together a list of common mistakes our designers often see to make sure your living space is as stylish and functional as you've always dreamed.

 

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1. Not prioritising comfort and practicality

living room design mistakes

Image Credit: My Bespoke Room

It's all good and well having a super stylish living room that makes your guests' jaws drop. But if you're constantly fidgeting on that stylish yet uncomfortable sofa, or doing the 5-minute shuffle to grab your drink from the side table that’s practically in another postcode, the novelty will wear off pretty fast!

To avoid these décor dilemmas, make sure you test out big-ticket items such as the sofa before you buy and look out for the quality of material making sure it's durable, with high-density foam cushions and supportive springs.

We get it, sometimes with a small lounge a large, central coffee table is not on the cards, but you can work around this with slimline side tables or multifunctional furnishings such as ottomans which can double up as coffee tables and extra seating.

Layering soft furnishings is a brilliant way to inject comfort and style. Think cushions, throws, and rugs in a mix of textures and patterns to create that perfect, inviting vibe.

 

2. Ignoring furniture scale

how to scale living room furniture

Image Credit: My Bespoke Room

Scaling furniture to the size of your living room is no easy feat. That sofa may seem like it fits perfectly on paper, but once it's in the room, it could look totally out of place.

It's not just about whether your furniture fits, it's about whether it suits the size of the space and complements your existing pieces. Sure, you could squeeze in that massive, cosy L-shaped sofa, but if it devours most of the floor space, you'll end up with a room that feels more cramped than cosy.

Or you may find the ideal smaller sofa, but if it's then paired with a luxuriously large coffee table, it can look completely out of place.

The best way to avoid this mistake is drawing out your space and furnishings, arranging them from a birds eye view making sure everything looks balanced and there is enough room to flow around the space.

And don't forget to consider the height of furniture too, as a low to the ground sofa may look a little odd next to a towering side table.

 

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3. Overcrowding the space

living room styling ideas

Image Credit: My Bespoke Room

Just like scaling, many customers come to us saying they feel cramped in their current lounge, overwhelmed by furniture galore.

If this sounds familiar, it might be time to strip things back to basics and ask yourself what you really need in your living room. Can that old stack of DVDs be stored away?  Or Do you really need that many side tables?

If you are short on space, our designers always advise you to look for furniture which is a little higher off the ground with slim legs, this visually tricks your eyes into believing there is more floor space, creating that light and airy feel.

Also, make sure to utilise all that vertical space to make your living room feel less crowded. Maybe some items from the coffee table can move to shelves, or those table lamps could be swapped out for wall sconces.

 

4. Ignoring focal points

how to crerate a focal point in the lounge

Image Credit: My Bespoke Room

Does it ever feel like your furniture is simply swimming around the space with no clear layout or direction? This is were focal points come into play, anchoring your furniture and creating a beautiful feature.

Focal points are what draw your eyes into a room, inviting you in - whether it's a fireplace, a large window with a view, or a piece of artwork anything goes when it comes to creating that feature point.

Having this focal point means you can arrange the furniture around it, creating a social hub around the fireplace or a viewing point to that beautiful feature wall.

 

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5. Having insufficient storage

living room storage ideas

Image Credit: My Bespoke Room 

No one dreams of having a cluttered living room, but somehow, clutter sneaks up on us all - especially when we lack sufficient storage.

Like many other rooms in our homes, our lounges need storage for all of those items that soon create clutter, such as remotes, spare throws, and your monthly magazines.

Look for multifunctional pieces like ottomans, ottoman sofas, coffee tables with hidden storage, or TV cabinets with extra cupboards. These clever solutions let you stash away clutter without crowding your space with bulky storage.

 

6. Always pushing furniture against the walls

living room interior design mistakes

Image Credit: My Bespoke Room

This is a common living room mistake that our Interior Designers see all the time - so don't worry you're not alone!

Obviously, in smaller living rooms, you often have no option but to bring furniture close to the walls, but we recommend leaving an inch to spare to give the illusion of more space.

But in bigger rooms, plastering all your furniture against the walls is like hosting a party where everyone awkwardly hugs the edges of the room - there's a big empty dance floor, but no one's dancing!

This layout turns the centre into a no-man's land and makes conversations feel like shouting matches. While it may seem like a logical way to save space in small living rooms, it often has the opposite effect, wasting valuable space in the centre.

Instead, try bringing your sofas toward the centre with a coffee table in between. This creates symmetry and makes your space look visually interesting and dynamic.

Need help with the layout of your lounge? Our designers can help you maximise every inch of space. Get started today:

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7. Neglecting layered lighting

living room layered lighting

Image Credit: My Bespoke Room

Living rooms are our go-to spaces for relaxation and retreat, so there's nothing worse than a single bright overhead light making your lounge feel like an operating theatre.

Our designers have seen only one overhead light in the lounge way too many times, but don't worry, it's such an easy fix!

In the Interior Design world, we all have a bit of a fear of the overhead light in non-task areas as they can totally ruin the cosy vibes. Instead, we recommend a variety of lighting sources at different levels—think table and floor lamps, and wall sconces. This creates layers of light, adding depth to the space and fostering a more ambient, relaxing atmosphere.

 

8. Having everything too matchy matchy

living room miss matched furniture

Image Credit: My Bespoke Room

However tempting it may feel to purchase the matching two sofas and armchair set, we ask you to hold onto your horses!

All matching sofas in the living room can make the space feel overly uniform and lack character - sure, it's coordinated, but where's the fun and personality?

Mixing and matching pieces is one of the best ways to inject your vibe into the space and it also helps create that warm cottage-core vibe you always see in the movies.

Start deciding upon your colour palette as your base, then add pieces from that scheme with different textures and styles to keep things interesting. 

If you go for different coloured sofas you can still make a cohesive look by styling them with pillows and throws that also feature colours from your scheme, creating that effortlessly put-together look.

 

Interior Designer are the total pros at mixing and matching pieces, so if you fear making expensive mistakes, why not bring us on board?!

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9. Making the TV too prominent

living room ideas

Image Credit: My Bespoke Room

TVs are a necessary evil in the living room - we all want one for entertainment, but we hate how it ruins the room's aesthetic!

With TVs often hogging a large amount of wall space, it can be tempting to make it the focal point of the room. But don't fall for this oh-too-common living room mistake.

Instead, try to find a location that's practical for viewing but doesn't take centre stage. Our designers have loads of hacks to make your TV less obvious, like placing it against a darker wall to help it blend in, fitting it into bespoke storage, or blending it into a gallery wall.

 

10. Going overhaul on the sofas

small living room ideas

Image Credit: My Bespoke Room

We’ve all had that thought: “If there’s space, why not fill it?” Especially if you love entertaining, it seems like more seating is always better. But, hold up! We suggest considering other more flexible seating options.

Going overboard with sofas can make your living room feel super cramped and leaves you little flexibility for changing up the layout later on.

Our designers love the idea of swapping out one of those sofas for a couple of stylish armchairs. They add a lot more personality to the space and can be easily moved around when needed.

For instance, in the living room above, our designers could have squeezed in an extra, smaller sofa, but that would have created a rather cramped space. Instead, the thin tall legs of the armchairs create the illusion of much more floor space, creating a lighter and fairer feel,


Curious about how our designers can find the perfect furnishings to fit your space? Find out more by booking a call with one of our experts:

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11. Neglecting the power of a rug

living room mistakes

Image Credit: My Bespoke Room

A living room mistake that makes our designers cringe a little is when they see an empty spot on that floor that is just screaming out for a rug - especially in larger or open plan living rooms, a rug can have much more of an effect than you'd expect!

Not only do rugs add to the layered textures, creating a warm, cosy and dynamic space but they are also champions at zoning.

If you're struggling to define the space in your lounge, a rug can help bring everything together, dividing up (or zoning) the space.

When choosing the right size, think Goldilocks: not too big, not too small, but just right. Aim for a rug that's large enough to anchor the seating area, with the front legs of your furniture resting comfortably on it.

 

12. Not personalising the space

how to personalise the living room

Image Credit: My Bespoke Room

Your living room should reflect you, so make sure to fill it with décor and pieces you love, like getting a bold piece of artwork which could be a perfect focal point and draw your eyes away from the TV.

Avoiding personal touches can make your living room feel sterile, so make sure to dot around a few family photos, vases, mini sculptures or coffee table books.

House plants are also a great way to personalise your living room, adding natural textures into the space and creating a more dynamic vibe.

 

Ready to have a living room that feels simply like you? Then book a room design today for just £450!

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