When Your Great Room Isn't So Great

Love the great room, hate the decorating challenges?   Great rooms have become a hot trend in home design and they’re here to stay.  Combining the living room and dining room and even the kitchen, the great room is so large it can create a whole host of problems when decorating, particularly when your decorating a great room on a budget.

How do interior decorators attack the great room decorating challenge?

  • Make it cozy, a room this large can seem cold and have an almost commercial feel due to their size.  Warm it up with darker wall colors, you can try those richer wall color you wouldn’t dare use in the smaller spaces in your home.  Try olive greens, mochas, deep beige tones, and caramel browns to add warm tones and tone down the cave-feel these rooms can have.
  • Use flooring changes to distinguish each area.  Try hardwood or tile in a kitchen area, and area rugs to define spaces for eating, playing and watching television.
  • With vaulted ceiling use a warmer color than your normal white ceiling and use crown molding to bring the eye downward from a high celling.
  • Use large scale furniture – your old living room furniture can’t always transition to a great room – you may need larger sofas, chairs and tables – the smaller pieces may fill the room , but will also clutter it.
  • Try breaking up the dining and living areas by using an architectural feature – installing columns or an arched ‘passageway’.
  • Use furniture groupings to create more intimate areas – a seating area near the focal point, a toy and play area for the kids and a dining area.  Try not to go too light in colors for the furnishings, they need to ‘anchor’ the space – dark woods and heavier upholstery coverings can be put to good use.
  • Use plants to add personality.  Try a large potted plant, perhaps a ficus tree, to match the scale of the vaulted ceilings.
  • A fireplace can go a long way in warming up a great room – literally and figuratively.  If you don’t have a fireplace, consider adding a gas fireplace for decoration and warmth – with all the windows in great rooms, heating can be an issue.
  • Speaking of keeping it warm – use window treatments to help with energy savings and warm up the look.  The large windows in a great room can create a whole new decorating challenge.  Try to avoid white blinds, they certainly won’t add anything to the coziness factor.  If you must do blinds, soften them with a valance or cornice to hide the hardware.
  • Lighting can lead the way in warming up a great room – use recessed lighting when possible, and accent and task lighting is important to add along with the general lighting.

You don’t need to sacrifice space to have a cozy room – try these tricks of the trade to make your great room great.