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Easy, elegant and engaging ideas to liven your living room

"Your living room is the ultimate place to relax, and the style of this space often acts as the central focus of your interior theme or personality."

Modern living areas tend to be multi-functional spaces acting as lounging, dining, theatre, gym, library & meditation areas and, at present, classroom & workplace all at once. Treating this space with maximum consideration is vital when it comes to decorative and functional elements.

Before you open your wallet however, it’s important to consider your overall design style. Eclectic?  Scandi? Contemporary? Traditional? Or do you prefer the sobriety of raw materials? With so many options, it can get confusing. Look to what you already have and how you can add to, accentuate, or adjust what is there. Whatever design style makes you comfortable, feels natural and brings joy, follow your gut.  

We’ve pulled together an edit of styling ideas that will maximise the opportunities of this central hub of the home, and ensure you feel inspired and comforted whenever you spend time there. 

1.       Sofa... so good!

The investment piece.

Purchasing from local manufacturers can ensure your furniture is made to order, meeting your specific requirements with plenty of on-hand advice to get it right. Alternatively, expert importers of reputable brands can provide the pathway to those hard to find pieces.  Whichever, ensure you get robust sales support to guide you through the process. Scale and proportion within the room are very important to consider (a handy tip when you have found a style you like is to use newspaper on your floor to better visualise the space it consumes), as well as all important comfort factor. Quality construction is essential if you want a piece that will endure, this is an investment – you need to maximise your returns! It will be used daily, it needs to last.

Getting the correct fabric choice is essential, consider sun/UV exposure and mitigate fading with a UV resistant fabric if this is a concern. High performance fabric or stain resistant fabric is a consideration for large families, especially if you prefer to eat and drink on the sofa. Easy clean options are critical for children, pets and those who struggle to navigate the route from snack bowl to lips with skill (hands up who else has a spill-y housemate!).

Article -  How to choose upholstery fabric 

2.       Chairs 

 

This is where you have some opportunity to be brave with colour/pattern/shape.  Create uniformity in the same style and fabric or mix and match for an eclectic look.  Think about your chosen style and choose pieces that reflect this to create a cohesive look. Breaking up your seating between a sofa and chair or chairs makes entertaining more convivial.

3.       Ottomans  

Great to pull up for extra seating and to add some engaging shape elements within the space, an ottoman is a practical necessity fulfilling numerous functions. In smaller living rooms, look for sizes that will slide under a coffee table when not in use. Look at colour as your overarching anchor for design, then use pattern, shape and texture to amplify. These small items can be re-covered over the years as your style and colour preferences change.

JAMES DUNLOP - FUSION COLLECTION

4.       Coffee tables  

The coffee table anchors the seating area and is a functional item that can be styled up to create a focal point.  Round and ovoid tables can counteract hard architectural elements or strongly linear sofa and chair designs, though square or rectangular may suit the space better and will work anywhere. By adding books, flowers, or a tray of special treasures there are many creative ways to link tone and texture back to your overall palette. Mix up metals, stone and glass to add surface detail and interest.  

5.       Storage 

Custom storage, such as built in shelving and cupboards, is the perfect solution for ensuring your lounge remains tidy and functional.

Detailing - recessed handles, negative details, reeding, from walls to furniture, these surface effects bring tactility and texture to interior spaces.

You can add storage into ottomans, side tables and coffee tables – a great solution for smaller spaces to give pieces a dual purpose.

There are modern solutions for hiding the TV too, it can disappear in to an entertainment unit, or behind an artwork. No longer the focus of the room, we don’t need to point our furniture at it!

Use shelving to create a gallery/ showcase collection of items e.g. ceramics or books.

6.        Embellishment and decoration

The devil is in the detail on your decorative journey.  One can’t have a living space without a cushion or two in the mix! Cushions are ideal for embellishing with fringing, pleats, trim, stitching details, and raw edges. It’s also a place to be bold with texture, colour and pattern without the larger commitment on a piece of furniture. Mix colours to bring your palette together, pulling in complementary elements from rugs and art work for a cohesive scheme. 

Books and decorative treasures, objet d’art, candles and flowers can create curiosity and intrigue while providing hours of fun creating lovely vignettes of your favourite items on a shelf or coffee table.  Add a statement artwork or large floral arrangement for dramatic effect or hang mirrors in a small lounge to instantly open and light it up as well as adding dimension to the walls.

CATHERINE MARTIN BY MOKUM - LEOPARDO

7.       Lighting

Put a shine on things and add a little sparkle. Side and floor lamps are perfect in the lounge to enhance the mood and define zones.  Floor lamps are ideal when positioned beside an armchair – perfect for quality reading. Try to choose lamps with dimmers so you can control the light and enhance the mood.

The ambient light that lamps offer is flattering and calming, enhancing the space far better than downlights or try candles for ambience and aroma for special occasions and when entertaining. 

8.       Colour and texture

Layering creates contrast and texture and you can use this principle in cushioning, upholstery, art, even your flooring selection.

Textured walls, stone and plaster tiles all work brilliantly with rugs or carpet inlays and can define settings which is especially useful in large rooms. To achieve warmth through colour use earthy tones and natural materials such as linen, wool, mohair or sheepskin and boucle textures - the ‘knobblier’ the better.

Use nature as your guide when choosing a colour palette to soothe and calm, or look to colour trends or vivid colours that will excite and inspire. 

Greenery through living plants helps add movement while cleaning the air at the same time.

Article - How to choose colour and pattern

JAMES DUNLOP - TIMELESS

9.       Window treatments

Curtains completely transform an interior, softening and adding dimension to a space along with privacy and comfort. Great for warmth and heat retention, they are functional and a major design element often unifying the room’s scheme through colour or pattern.  Always add linings or bumf to provide insulation and body to your fabric.  Especially beneficial if you don’t have double glazing in your lounge, or are wanting to create a voluminous or opulent effect. 

If space is at a premium, opt for wooden shutters or roman blinds for an architectural look. 

Article - How to choose curtains

JAMES DUNLOP - JUNGLE PANEL

10.       Wallpaper 

Just like art has the magic to draw you in and shake up your emotions, so does wallpaper. In a flash you can be submerged into a tropical oasis with Mokum La Palma, turning a wall in to art with a mural from Casadeco’s Beauty Full collection, or lulled by the tactile subtlety of the James Dunlop Linen collection. Wallpaper not only has to be for the walls – wallpapered ceilings are having a moment and if you feel like a whole room is too much, just go for a feature wall.

Article - How to choose wallpaper


So there you have it, ten simple and elegant ways to maximise this crucial area of the home.  Start with a plan in mind and work your way through it to create a space that is uniquely yours and that ticks the boxes for function, comfort and of course, aesthetic!

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