While flipping through the magazine, Living Etc., I found a wonderful chapter dedicated to creating a relaxing yet bold living room. Sounds like a paradox, but it appears it is possible. Here were some pointers:
Create a focal point:
Keep the living space open. Give the area a relaxed feel by choosing low-level seating and informal floor cushions in vibrant shades. Cushions are a flexible addition in a smaller room as they take up very little space and can easily be moved around. If your living room does not include a fireplace, use a low-rise coffee table.
Choose a soft window treatment:
Voluminous curtains can overwhelm a room and short drapes are best avoided, unless they are cafe style, as they can appear dated. Roman blinds are a good option, softening a window more than a roller while still providing privacy. Sheer curtains can be styled to either give you privacy are perfectly drape in accordance to your preference.
Use shelving as a backdrop:
While the heart of the room is low-level and intimate, build shelves into alcoves to form an interesting backdrop of books and treasures. Painting them the same color of the walls helps to integrate them, allowing accessories to be the focus.
Layer up lighting:
Candles, dim lights, ceiling lights.
Be bold with colour:
Although white is the obvious choice in a smaller room, a dark shade can add drama and give a cosy, cocooning feel.
Be bold with artwork:
Do your research, and find some wall hangings that are bold, yet represent your personality. These wall hangings give personality to a room.