Photo: Sophie Paterson Interiors
A few years back a study was done which concluded that we spend 21 hours a week in our living rooms, a number which increases to 35 hours a week in the winter months. It seems inevitable that this time will have risen further over the past year as many of us continue to work from home or experience flexible working. For lots of people the 5 o'clock commute has gone from a hot and stuffy tube journey to just a few steps from one room to another (to the detriment of our daily step count!). But this just demonstrates that there's now a real incentive to getting the look and feel of your living room just right.
One of the often-unrealised joys of the living room is that it's the only space in your home which isn't highly functional in the same way that the kitchen, bathroom, or even the bedroom is. This is a space which doesn't need to achieve anything, or rather nothing needs to be achieved in it. No allowances need to be made for chunky appliances or white goods, so the layout isn't dictated by water or electrical connections, making it completely blank slate to work with. However, inevitably it is always when we have less restrictions that we begin to flounder when it comes to making decisions, so here's a few of our guiding principles to consider when designing your living room.
First things first is to consider the layout by asking yourself realistically exactly what this space will be used for and use this to create the focal point. Often the living room is dictated by the tv, and for the film fanatics the technology will likely be the focus, but if it's going to be a sociable space to entertain friends and family then an abundance of seating facing towards each other will facilitate this, creating a warm and inviting feel. With the purpose of the space decided it's important to create balance with clever furniture selection and placement. Symmetry is often a designers best friend and sideboards or dressers are ideal for placing opposite sofas or mirroring large windows and fireplaces, as Sophie Paterson did in her grown up living room, watch her tour here.
For many a cosy living room becomes the true heart of the home, especially during winter months and what you choose to put on your walls will inevitably contribute to how the space feels as well as how it looks. Warm neutral tones look amazing against textured furniture and rich colourful accents and panelling is a great tool for giving character to modern architecture. However, mural wallpapers are a brilliant tool for giving your living room that warm and enclosed feeling. Our Scholar collection is full of full scale designs which create real atmosphere in a room, Great Gatsby or Nicholas Nickleby are the perfect alternative to neutral paint whilst our ever popular Mythical Land brings an otherworldly air to any space, maximising the feeling of escapism we all desire after a long day at work.
Whoever is using this room our advice will always be to go for the largest sofa possible as having the space to stretch out and lounge on this all important piece of furniture at the end of the day will always feel luxurious. Our Truman sofa is designed exactly for that, available in two sizes, three sections and a range of materials it allows you to create the perfect size and shape piece for your needs. For a more formal feel our custom made pieces come in a range of classic shapes and modern silhouettes and are available in our full range of fabrics. Neutral upholstery can be brought to life and updated with scatter cushions, but we also love a bold patterned sofa and in a classic silhouette it's bound to be a piece you'll love for years to come.
Side or coffee tables can often feel like essential, practical pieces without much to offer to the space. But luxurious finishes like faux shagreen, polished chrome, petrified wood and marble elevate these smaller items allowing them to take their own staring role in your scheme.
Once your main pieces are chosen it's time to illuminate them with a considered lighting scheme, essential for creating that warm and cosy feeling. A central pendant light or chandelier is perfect for providing that showstopping finishing touch, but for a softer glow go for a combination of wall, table and floor lamps.
The layering of materials, colours and shapes all amount to give your interiors an overall texture which can define the look and feel of a space.Martin Waller
Smaller accessories provide the all important finishing touches to a space, and are a great way to inject your own personality into a room. Build up layers of texture with old and new objects, different materials, prints and colours. For rugs, like sofas, we recommend going as large as possible to avoid the 'floating island' look of a central coffee table and rug which appears disconnected from the rest of the room, or create the illusion of a huge rug by overlapping smaller ones in similar tones and weights.
Cushions are a must for whatever room you are designing, but your living room allows for an abundance of styles strewn across every sofa and chair. To re-create the classic interior stylist look arrange yours asymmetrically across a sofa, three one side, two the other. The new rectangular sizes from our Burlington Collection with Sophie Paterson are perfect for this, use the medium rectangular size to taper down from a larger square cushion in each corner. Whilst the smaller rectangles can be used to add interest to an occasional armchair. Plus, the soft and elegant mix of colours and prints against chic textures like boucle make this layered look even more effortless.