If going home at the end of the day makes you feel down, it might be time to liven up your living room. Long working hours and a busy life with your kids can make it hard to stay on top of things at home, and all too often, living rooms are left to accumulate clutter, gradually losing the character that once made them appealing. Brightening them up can do a lot to lift your mood, and it doesn’t need to take up all your free time – there are lots of changes that you can make bit by bit to create a space that you’ll really feel good about.

Walls
Even if you clean thoroughly, walls pick up stains over time and wallpaper can start looking drab. Simply applying a fresh coat of paint can really brighten up the place. Stick to light colours, and remember that if you use wallpaper, you don’t have to apply the same stuff to every wall. There are lots of bright, exciting options out there this season, including animal prints that kids will love. Adding splashes of colour in alcoves and niches can give a room a unique character, and painting the ceiling a shade lighter than the walls can make it seem bigger. Matte paint will help you to make better use of light, but you can use silk emulsions or even metallic shades to great effect in areas that you want to highlight.

Floors
Stripped and polished floors can do a lot to liven up a room, and pale carpets can make it look bigger and brighter, but both have their downsides with young children. If you do choose to get a new carpet, make sure that it’s bleach-cleanable. If you have an old one, hire a steam cleaner so that you can spruce it up. An alternative approach is to use rugs that you can beat clean or put in your washing machine as required. There are all sorts of fun designs available, and kids can have fun helping to choose them. They can form part of play and can also provide a variety of interesting textures for infants to explore.

Windows
Long curtains are an endless hazard with children, getting pulled and chewed. Why not do away with them altogether and switch to more resilient shutter blinds, which also enable you to let more light into the room? If you’re worried about privacy and would prefer to keep them fully open much of the time, window film can be a great solution, giving your windows a mirrored effect from the outside; but be aware that this blocks UV light, so if you want to keep plants in the room, you will have to provide them with an artificial alternative. Suspending transparent plastic or glass ornaments in your window – out of reach of mischievous little hands – can add some pretty colours that children will love.

Furniture
If your furniture is getting old and tired, why not replace it with something that will be fun for all the family? A big corner sofa can be ideal when you want the whole family to be able to snuggle up together. A rocking chair or chair that spins provides endless entertainment for kids as well as providing a comfortable seat. Beanbags make great seating for little ones and are available in bright colours with all sorts of fun patterns. It’s also useful to have a toy box in the living room to keep the kids’ things tidy, and you can find boxes that double as seating.

Accessories
When you want to brighten up a room, nothing works as effectively as mirrors, but you can also use reflective objects both to scatter light and to create a glamour that children adore. Chandeliers will thrill them whilst remaining safely out of reach and maintaining an element of sophistication that impresses adult guests. Glass ornaments may have to be restricted to high shelves, but items such as sequinned cushions can go anywhere, and kids will find them lots of fun.

Giving your living room that extra bit of pizzazz and sparkle can help you say goodbye to dull days and make your home into a place where everybody in the family loves to be. Quiet evenings by yourself or with your partner will feel much more enjoyable, and when your kids are around, they’ll quickly pick up on the new mood, having fun in a way that will lift your spirits. It’s not difficult to start making changes, so don’t delay – set up a space that will really make you feel alive.
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