Essential living room styling tips – Helen Turkington

Essential living room styling tips

Essential living room styling tips
Essential living room styling tips

It is so important that you love the home you live in, that it reflects your style personality and above all that it works for you and the people you share it with. More often than not when entering a home you don’t notice the individual items like the curtains, furniture or soft furnishings but you will remember how the room made you feel. Think about how you want to use a room and the "feel" that you want to create. Is the room to be pet and child friendly or a moody, adults-only, sophisticated retreat? This will affect some of your design choices: for example a wooden coffee table is easier to keep clean than a light coloured silk fabric footstool but beware of sharp edges. Also if you have little people and wagging tails roaming about your accessories need to be shatter proof or placed up high!
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Does your furniture have to be in a hardwearing fabric? We have numerous fabric choices in different finishes for you to choose from, including performance fabrics, to help you find the right fabric for your home. Is storage essential for your room? Sideboards with doors such as our Portobello cupboard or consoles with space for large baskets such as our Baker or Portland consoles make excellent storage options for kids' toys, electrics and appliances. Next think about your spatial planning. What are the challenges of your space? In larger rooms, move your furniture in from "hugging" the walls to create a more intimate feeling by say grouping your seating around a coffee table or oversized footstool. Slim console tables with lamps make excellent room dividers and rugs help to define zones. In smaller spaces, mirrors can give the illusion of a bigger room and glass tables are great as they allow light through and seem to take up less space. Raised furniture which shows the light underneath is also a space enhancing trick and hanging your curtains flush to the ceiling will extend the eye upwards. Floor lamps and sofa trays are invaluable in spaces which do not allow for sofa end tables. Consider multi-functional items such as a footstool that doubles up as a coffee table. When choosing lamps for a room don’t be afraid to use larger bases in small spaces. Oversized items such as lamps will often make a space feel bigger than it actually is. Whatever you do, don't clutter your space - a few well chosen bigger items will serve you better than a lot of smaller pieces. Remember, playing with room proportions is an interior designer's speciality and just an hour's consultation could end up saving you considerable amounts of money in the long run!

Regardless of whether your room is formal and fancy or family friendly, casual chic, accessories are key to your style story. Accessories such as faux flowers, photoframes, vases, ginger jars, natural items like shells and wood, speak to your room's personality. Items should usually be styled in odd numbers (look out for it in nature) or in a pair for a more formal, symmetrical look. Bookshelves are very popular - they keep things out of reach of little hands and display your precious pieces at eye level. When styling bookshelves, think of your accessories as city landscapes and use various different heights, foreground and background, to create layered interest. Painting the back of a bookshelf a different colour to the shelves will make the items pop and can look really impressive as can adding LED lighting strips. Use taller items at the back as your backdrop and layer smaller items in front to make a visual pyramid which is naturally pleasing to the eye. Stagger your books in different heights across each shelf and use bookends for playful ornamentation.

Cushions can be arranged in so many different ways and depending on how they’re styled it will completely change the atmosphere of the entire room. The options are endless, whether you decide to pair them according to the pattern, texture, material, etc for a symmetrical, formal look or use contrasting styles for a more casual, "deliberately thrown together" look. Styling a space is about building layers: whether that’s through colour, pattern or texture, shape or size, “layers are key”! Pull a colour from a part of your scheme - the wall paint, a favourite piece of artwork or furniture etc. - and tie it into the cushions, lampshades and accessories for a finished, cohesive room scheme.

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