Living well in your living room

In the latest of interior designer’s tips and tricks series on refreshing your home, we look at how to breathe new life into your living room.

Unlike setting-out to design a show home living room, we rarely start with a blank canvas in our own homes. It’s quite likely we’ll need to work with existing flooring and furniture, for example, but the good news is that it can be quite simple and not too expensive to refresh this very important room.

Most of us want our living rooms to be very comfortable and a place where we can relax and wind-down, normally at the end of the day; whether it’s watching a movie or having a games night with the family. The focal point of most living rooms is likely to be the television and whether it’s wall mounted or on a cabinet, you will want to make sure that the furniture is placed so that the screen can be seen.  The Danish trend of Hygge lifestyle is about creating a cosy-feel and the living room is just the place to add colourful throws and fleecy blankets to curl-up in.

Choosing the colour of your room might need to work around the colour or pattern of your existing sofa and armchairs and the general rule is that if you have patterned furniture or curtains, then keep your walls fairly plain and vice-versa.

If you’re considering a feature wall, then it should be the first wall you see when you walk into a room and it can either be a statement colour or a luxurious wallpaper. In my own home, I have a Classic Blue feature wall (Pantone’s colour of the year for 2020) with mustard elsewhere. This is quite bold and works well with either chrome or brass light fittings.

However, if you’re starting your project from scratch, then I’d recommend using a palette of fairly neutral or pastel colours, so that future refreshes are easily done by just updating cushions, throws, picture frames and other accessories.

At Cavanna Homes’ Lyme View show home in Holcombe near Dawlish, we’ve used warm tones of blush pink with hints of bronze in the feature wallpaper.  A small armchair in an accent pink with a range of colourful scatter cushions on the Chesterfield-style sofa gives a modern twist to this bright, but relaxed, room.

Cushions are one of the very best ways in which to liven-up your living room and Sainbury’s and Tesco’s have a great range at around £15 – £20 each.  While you’re doing your supermarket shop, you could also pick-up some picture frames and use one of an online photo printing service to order a selection of your own photos printed in black and white or sepia tones.  These can produce a striking display.

Never to be underestimated is the importance of lighting in a living room. While you may want to fit a statement lampshade to your ceiling light, my advice is to use carefully placed lamps, instead of the overhead light, to achieve a more subtle and relaxed atmosphere.

Floor rugs also help to create a cosy feel and if one is not enough for your floor space, buy two of the same and either place them alongside or separate them and maybe place them underneath two matching coffee tables if your room is big enough to accommodate them.

One part of the room where you might need to spend some money is your curtains. Wooden slatted blinds are a really good solution for most windows in the house but if you want to add a bit more of an opulent feel, then long, luxurious curtains are the answer. While I recommend ordering many home furnishings online, curtains really need to be made to measure. You don’t want them too short, and you don’t want them too long, unless you’re very handy with the sewing machine. Choose your fabric, both for the colour as well as the texture, and if you go for something neutral, it will be an investment that will last for years.


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