5 Step plan for livening up a living room

11/02/2015 11:49:00 am HELEN STILES 0 Comments

Well, it's back to work after a busy half-term week off - cooking, climbing, pumpkin carving and keeping a homework diary for 'Flat Stanley' (a 2 dimensional paper boy...one of our stranger assignments!) Anyway, it's been lovely to switch off for a few days, and now I'm back and raring to go. The week ahead is really hectic with photoshoots, new stock to unpack, a website update and several other deadlines. So I thought I'd get in early with a blog post in case the rest of the week runs away with me (getting my excuses in early?!)

I thought I'd share an interior design project I've been working on for the last few weeks, for a lady I used to work with in a past life. She's a busy professional who bought a flat in London some months ago but has been too darn busy to put her own stamp on it. Cue my help...

On the plus side it's a fairly blank canvas – it's modern with good size rooms, wooden floors and high ceilings (unusual for a 1990s build!) But on the downside, it doesn't get great natural light and I can't repaint (booo). In addition, the client bought a large, comfy sofa (and I do mean large, it's 3 metres long) which completely dominates the living/dining room at the moment. So we've been working on how to make it feel more homely, stylish, chic and elegant. She's a little nervous of committing to colour (although she loves teal) and like many people faced with so many decisions to make, is tempted to play it pretty safe. But she's no wall-flower in life, so I've been pushing her to go for slightly bolder choices in her interior design. Hopefully she will agree!

There are 5 key things I'm focusing on for the living room:-

1. Breaking up all the rectangles and straight lines with some curves, circles and softness. It's a rectangular shaped room, with aforementioned large angular sofa. Plus it has double doors at either end with lattice panes – adding even more squares and rectangles. So I'm looking to add curves and circles with the dining table, mirrors, side tables and pouffes.
2. Adding some pattern. Again, this will help to break up the larger pieces of furniture and bring some visual interest. I nearly always add a dash of black and white somewhere - and luckily this client likes a little zebra print (I love India Mahdavi's comment that adding some black and white to a room is like salt and pepper to a meal. So true!)
4. Texture – all rooms need texture, and here we definitely need to layer up rugs, throws, cushions, sheepskins, plants; mix hard with soft, shiny with matt and wood with metal. This will be key to softening the hard lines and cosying up the space (and yes, I know that 'cosying' isn't actually a real word, but I can't think of one that says it better!)
5. Mixing old and new – even in a new-build property, adding a few vintage touches helps to add personality and make a space feel as though it has evolved. The client has already invested in a huge vintage beni-ourain rug, which will really help to define the living area (as well as ticking the texture and pattern boxes too!) Frankly you just can't beat a beni rug, so we've got a great starting point - but I'm pushing for a mid-century rosewood sideboard/TV unit too to offset that new sofa (did I mention it's large?)

So, here is an overview of the scheme so far. It's coming together, although still some decisions to make on dining tables, chairs and accessories. There will also be some great industrial style lighting and a statement piece of photographic art, inspired by the picture above. So what do you think?