Steven and Chris Episodes

Living Room Shopping List

We receive a ton of questions on how to go about shopping for home decor -- for the living room in particular. If you're having trouble and don't know where to start, fear not: We're here to demystify the process with a handy, step-by-step checklist to help ensure that you buy what's best for your living space.

1. Shopping Prep
  • Measure your room, including doors and windows. Be sure to bring the dimensions with you shopping along with a tape measurer.
  • Gather inspiration from decor magazines, design blogs, Pinterest, etc.
  • Narrow down your favourite pieces to those that would realistically work in your space based on size, style and durability.
  • Print off your Steven and Chris Shopping List: Living Room Edition and bring it with you to the store(s).
2. Sofa and Accent Chairs
  • Measure furniture to ensure an accurate fit. The conversation area in a living room should be relatively tight; a good rule of thumb is to allow two-and-a-half feet between the sofa and coffee table.
  • Check rub count (a.k.a. wear and tear) of all fabrics. When in doubt, touch! Manipulate fabric to see how it stands up.
  • When it comes to style and colour, don't forget practical considerations (e.g. sticky kids' fingers and white furniture don't mix!) as well as aesthetic ones (e.g. what look are you going for?).
3. Rug
  • A rug should frame the entire room, not just your coffee table. All of your furniture should sit on the rug; your room will look and feel bigger as a result.
  • In terms of colour and pattern, look for a complementary rug that will add interest but not overpower the space.
  • Is your living room a high- or low-traffic area? A synthetic rug is the better option for a highly trafficked space, while silk or wool will work in a low-traffic area.
4. Tables
  • Again, size is important. A coffee table should be the same height as the sofa seat, approximately 18-19 inches; side tables, the sofa arm (within reason).
  • Ask yourself, "Do these suit the look of my room?" Don't be afraid to mix materials and break up furniture sets.
5. Lamps and Accessories
  • These pieces are where you can really start to insert your personality into the space. Choose accessories that reflect your individual style.
  • Play with scale. That variety is what keeps things interesting.
  • Make sure you have a colour thread that runs through the entire space.
6. Wall Treatments
  • Wall colour should be the very last thing you choose. It should tie together everything chosen above.
  • In addition to the hue, consider the texture and sheen of your wall treatment and whether it complements the other finishes in the room.
  • You don't want your house to look like a patchwork quilt. Think about how the room will look in the larger context of your home; all of the tones should work together.
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