The living room. A place of stillness and calm after a long day. Where dreams are had and memories are made. A warm place for family and friends. A place of destruction whilst the kids are awake!
The living room. It is exactly that, a room that we “LIVE” in. So when it comes to styling this pivotal room of the house, this principal needs to be first and foremost. In Denmark (voted the world’s happiest country to live) they have a term “hygge” which loosely translated refers to the ritual of enjoying life’s simple pleasures. Friends, family and graciousness. These important aspects of life need to be considered before you begin any work. Now, you may think that styling a room to be both practical and stylish is surely something that comes easy for most, but trust us it can go wrong, very wrong!
So our style team here at The Beach Furniture are here to save the day and have come up with a comprehensive list of on-trend tips for perfecting your LIVING ROOM.
Functionality vs Style
Let’s settle this once and for all. Functionality should always trump style. Yes, we all entertain, but in the grand scheme of things we are living in the space for a much larger proportion of the time. At a recent lecture with leading Australian architect Peter Stutchbury. He highlighted the fact that we have become so enveloped in designing houses to be trendy and stylish that we have begun to lose track of the fact that our house is where we will spend majority of our life and that the space needs to reflect this. He goes on to say that there needs to be some enjoyment brought back into the design of our house and rooms.
If there is something quirky that you find enjoyment out of, consider it when planning your rooms. The living room should be the place you yearn for most at the end of a long day.
Consistency is key people! Before you make any purchases firstly you need to decide on a central theme and style for the house and DO NOT DEVIATE from it. Think colours, tones and layout. Even if you see something cute whilst browsing that “might not clash” with the current plan, put it down and slowly back away. A lot of people tend to get swept up in all different styles and end up turning their house into this crazy eclectic mix and clash of styles. Or worse yet, see what their friends are doing and want something similar. This is a road fraught with styling danger, tread carefully. Our advice, keep a razor like focus on your own vision and stick to it. The consistency and cohesion of the house as a result will not only wow your guests but also showcase your mental fortitude. Give yourself a pat on the back. Fundamentally, selecting pieces that have common elements will ensure they work well together in a setting.
If you are a Netflix regular then check out the docu-series – Abstract: The Art of Design. Featuring Ilse Crawford on Interior Design.
Possible the most important part of styling any room. “Where to put all our stuff?” The best advice we can give is, don’t overdo it. Too much furniture and you will end up with a room that looks small and claustaphobic and worst of all, it will encourage clutter. Keep it simple and always consider the flow of the room. What are the high traffic areas of the room? Plan the furniture placement accordingly. Don’t block every wall. TV’s don’t always need to be the centre of attention when planning your living room. You want to create a room that encourages interaction and discussion rather than inviting hours of mind numbing nothingness. Wall mount TV’s are the most space friendly and often look the cleanest on a nice fresh wall.
For those hoarders amongst us a great lesson on minimalism and holding onto only possessions that actually add value to our lives, the documentary “Minimalism – A documentary about the important things”, could be worth a watch.
Let there be LIGHT! If you’ve got it, flaunt it! Not only does it breathe life into a room, it also inspires creativity not to mention, accentuating your furniture. You need to consider the placement and aspect of the room and understand what light will fall in certain areas of the room and at what times of the day. I.e think morning light as its casting its warmth over your accent chair. Perfect whilst you enjoy your morning coffee and read the paper, the rays warming your soul before a busy day.
If you are going to go for curtains try and keep it light and minimal. The last thing you want to do is drown out the natural light with heavy curtains. Subtleness is key.
Add some GREENERY
Beside looking great, indoor plants have a long list of benefits. They are calming, create ambience, breathe life into a space, boost creativity whilst relieving stress. The Scandinavians are people that do this well. Do as the Scandinavians do! Also fresh flowers on coffee tables, benches, side tables add those extra splashes on greenery.
Life Hack – Furniture that doubles as storage
Think trendy baskets, traveller’s chests, secret nooks and crannies built into varying pieces of furniture. All these things are a great way to remove the clutter whilst dressing up the room at the same time. And let’s face it who doesn’t want more storage!
“The Coffee Table”
Always keep in mind the size of the space and the style you are going for when deciding on the perfect coffee table. When it comes to styling the coffee table
Think big books (you know, the “inspirational stuff”), travel journals, photography, etc. Perhaps even throw in a vintage style chess board! Encourage activity by the way you style this highly social area. Make sure there is still space so that the table is functional.
“The Couch” and how to get it to fit the space
The couch should not be the centre of attention in the living room so don’t overdo it. Consider using a timeless style that will not look dated a year after buying it. This means avoiding strong colours or patterns. That is what the cushions and throws are for. The colour of the couch should all tie in with what we discussed above in styling. Staying consistent with the central theme of the house.
Make sure you take the time to measure to make sure that it will fit the space. Measure twice, buy once! Options can include the L-shape, sectional or traditional sofa.
Figure out the orientation of the room and take into account the activities that you plan to use the space for most. It could be reading, watching tv, entertaining, playing with the kids? Prioritize all activities and plan the orientation of the couch accordingly. The room still needs to be functional and be an area of high traffic, so getting a gigantic couch that dwarfs a smallish room is clearly not practical.
When purchasing the sofa spending a few moments checking the structure could save you a lot of heartache. A good trick is to lift up one of the front legs roughly 5” off the ground. The opposing front leg should also lift. If it is still on the floor you know that the frame is weak. Walk away!
The Finer details
Balance is important when considering colour. If you have strong neutral colours as your foundation then balancing them with strong vibrant colours will work great. Alternatively, if the room already has vivid colours on the walls for example, then try adding some tonal, monochrome or earthy colour to cool down the brightness and create that relaxing and inviting feel. Don’t feel like you have to overdo colour throughout your house. Less can often mean more in this regard.
Compliment the room whilst also considering your hobbies and interests. Artwork in the living room is a great way to express not only yourself but also your interests and passions. Maybe even consider framing one of your own works if you are of the creative nature and brave enough to open yourself up to constructive criticism from guests.
Lighting will often set the tone for the whole house. Done poorly and your house can resemble a hospital, done well and the warmth and intimacy of the lighting may mean that house guests won’t want to leave.
Incorporating different types of light relative to the different purposes of the room will not only make it functional but also create that intimate vibe that you want to achieve for your living room. Lighting can usually be broken into four categories. Ambient, Decorative, Accent and Task. Along with mood lighting which consists of dimmers to control the mood as the night rolls on.
– Ambient lighting will create that warm glow to a room whilst providing your main source of illumination. As this is your main source of light be sure to consider energy efficient globes to save not only your money but also the planet.
– Decorative lighting consists of table lamps, freestanding lamps, candles, pendants, chandeliers and so on. Decorative lighting is a great way to personalise the space.
– Accent lighting is a great way to highlight a particular aspect or feature of the room that is worthy of being in the spotlight. As a rule of thumb, to accent a particular part of the room you will need at least 5 times as much light as the surrounding light to create the effect.
– Task lighting is more of a practical application of light but that does not mean that it can’t be stylish. Trendy work lamps, desk lamps and portable lamps create great lighting for reading or working at a desk or couch.
When it comes to rugs, size is the most important thing to consider. Too small a rug and the room will look imbalanced. A larger rug will create that balance and also make the room feel larger. You can also add some colour and texture here to balance an otherwise neutral or cold space.
So that’s it for styling The Living Room. Be sure to follow us @thebeachfurniture and stay up to date with our latest blogs via our Blog section. If anything took your fancy in our styled shots feel free to peruse our online Shop. Stay tuned for next month where we jump under the covers on how to style The Bedroom.