Think about what you want to do in the room and arrange your furniture accordingly. For example, a TV area with a sofa. A reading or conversation corner with several chairs and a table. Workstation with desk and chair.
The advantage of this approach is that you can mix and match different styles of furniture. A modern sofa here, a vintage cocktail chair there. If you need multiple workstations, make sure they are in different parts of the room. For large spaces, consider using screens to separate them. Lewis is currently working on a living space that incorporates two work areas. One is a fold-out desk on the wall, and the other is a table that doubles as a dining area.
During office hours, even if space is limited, place a side table and stool in the corner of the room so you can easily move them around. Make a note of the nearest plug socket for all your charging needs (and have a desk lamp ready for the approaching dark nights).
Similarly, during playtime, place your yoga mat or Peloton bike on the other side of the room to provide a psychological change of scenery. However, be careful about the floor and how easy it is to wipe.
A screen divider or art deco bookcase is a clever way to separate a designated space, and clever placement of lamps can help project pools of light in the evening. Please note that this method of zoning is temporary and is a great way to maximize the potential of your living area. There’s no need to build partition walls to create a versatile space.
Find furniture that suits you
“Clients often tell me they bought a sofa for their living room and it doesn’t look right, because they bought something the size of a boat and it’s taking up all the space.” says Lewis. Comfort is important, but you don’t necessarily have to buy the biggest sofa or chair that will fit in the room.
Unless your living room is just a TV room, choose a style that doesn’t dominate the space. Especially if you have a small room, avoid wide or scrolling arms and look for sofas with over-the-legs. It’s visible under the sofa, creating the illusion of more space.
“People always say they want to be able to seat a lot of people in their living room, but when it comes to entertaining, they just need a place to sit,” Lewis adds, adding that replacing large armchairs with lighter armchairs Make the room more adaptable, such as an easily movable bathtub chair, which suggests switching to a design without a bathtub.
living room storage
A working living room needs plenty of storage space, and a golden rule is to add more storage space than you think you need. “I always choose the built-in type because I need to get everything out of the way to clear my head at the end of the day,” says Lewis. “It’s much better to have built-in cabinetry along one wall than to dot and divide furniture. I always start with the handles and work backwards from there.”
Think about what you need to store, such as work tools, exercise equipment, toys, etc., and incorporate open shelving to display things you want to see. A well-organized room will be easier to clean up and create a calming space.
Atmosphere is everything
Just as it’s important to master a calm atmosphere in your bedroom, don’t forget how your living room makes you feel before you go to bed at night.
Soft, muted hues are a no-fail color scheme to choose, but if minimalism isn’t your style, play with textures and micro-patterns for a maximalist fix.
Materials such as bouclé, linen and rattan are smart purchases to update the sober vibe, and won’t be falling off the radar of designers and the high street any time soon.
How to style and furnish your new living room
- An upholstered ottoman can serve the same purpose as a coffee table, especially if you place a large tray on top to hold drinks, but adds a more decorative look (and additional seating). For added practicality, buy one with storage features.
- When choosing a sofa, look for one with a seat depth of 66cm, a seat height of 45-48cm, and an overall depth of 95cm. “That way you can have a cushion along your back, but without it falling into your back,” says Benji Lewis.
- In rooms that require multitasking, instead of having one focal point (like a fireplace), have multiple focal points. A chair next to a bookshelf, a built-in chair by a window, or a plant display can all create another focal point.
- Get the biggest rug you can afford. Placing your furniture on a rug will make the room look more cohesive than placing it at the edge of the room. If you have the budget, get a thick one for winter and a thin plain weave one for summer.
- Don’t forget the details. If you still feel like traveling is a long way off, enjoy the atmosphere of a boutique hotel. Consider keeping handy stationery on a side table, a diffuser near a doorway, and a decorative item or two dotted around the room.