Jill Macnair, who blogs over at My Friend’s House, shares her tips on easy style wins for living rooms – thanks Jill!
My own living room is a constant work in progress, so I’m boldly going to outline 5 simple tricks for injecting new life into your living room knowing that I need to take heed of my own advice. The thing is, it is easy to breathe a new vibe into arguably the most used room in the house, without feeling the need to put every last piece of furniture on eBay to raise funds for new and exciting things. The big trick is to direct your attention to the details in your living room – once you’ve fiddled around with them, the whole room will feel fresh. Here are some things you (and I) can do.
My living room photographed by Rachel Whiting for the book Design Bloggers at Home
Move around your furniture
Buying up whole new sofas and armchairs is not a quick update. Moving them around is and even small changes can make a big difference. In the summer time my main sofa goes towards the window – and stays there throughout all the months when neck freeze is not quite so real a problem. In the winter time it’s shuffled right back into the room again towards the fire and the rug.
Weigh up your space and whether the items are fitting into nooks and crannies and shapes well. You want your room to feel big but cosy, spacious but domestic. It might be that an armchair would better work in front of a window, a sideboard would perfectly fit into an unused recess and a sofa would sit better turned at a 90 degree angle. Tempting as it is, try to avoid angling everything towards the television and remember that the living room performs a number of roles.
Image from Sainsbury’s Home Spring/Summer 2015
Use small side tables and stools alongside seating
Sure, if you’re living in a loft or warehouse then a massive coffee table in the centre of the living area won’t be an issue and is, after all, very practical. But for most of us, space is valuable and so consider swapping a large table, intended to serve all the seats in the room, for small side tables or stools placed to serve each seat individually. That way everything can be pushed outwards to the walls of the room leaving lots of space in the centre and everybody will be in reaching distance of a drink when you’re entertaining.
Image from H&M Home
Refresh your textiles
Cushions and cushion covers are so easy to change. Or, if you love the whole clashing patterns look, then it’s a case of just adding to the collection. I love a mixture of shapes – a bolster with a standard square, a smaller rectangle and even a circular cushion – and prints too, but it helps to try and maintain some sense of continuity, whether in colour or pattern type (eg florals with florals).
Similarly, nothing gives a sofa added warmth like a new blanket, or better still a couple of blankets. In the winter months what could be handier than reaching behind you for a cosy wrap when you feel chilly.
Image from Emily’s House London
Use rugs to define and divide
As well as adding more warmth and texture to your living room, rugs are a great tool for actually zoning a space. If you’re dealing with lots of space, then a huge supersize rug beneath all of your key bits of living room furniture is ultra glam. But let’s face it, most of us have more humble rooms. One larger rug works well at the centre of all your seating, but you could also consider layering some smaller rugs together or using smaller rugs to highlight individual zones.
Image from Marks and Spencer.
Create different lighting moods with lamps
This might be my fifth tip, but if you want to give your living room an overhaul in one step, this might be the one to choose. You probably don’t need me to tell you that having one big overhead light alone does not make for the cosiest or most delightful mood. So, much like adding side tables around the room next to chairs, try planting individual lamps next to each sofa too – for instance, a standard lamp by your main sofa, a smaller table lamp on one of your side tables and, if you have any budget left, some wall lights are a great way of adding extra mood lighting and a little design feature to a room.
Take a look at our range of contemporary and classic living room furniture.