If there’s any room in the house that deserves plenty of attention, it’s the living area. This space is where we spend most of our time; either relaxing with a book, talking with friends, or playing with the children or grandchildren. It’s the beating heart of the home, and should be treated as such.
Does your lounge need a new lease of life? If so, here are some tips on how to transform the room, without blowing a hole in your bank balance.
Making the Most of Your Living Room
- Reduce the clutter. The most important thing to do is to sort through your possessions in your living room. Ask yourself if you need or use certain items any more. For example, many people have vast collections of CDs that they no longer listen to, as they download music online instead.
- Create storage. There are ample opportunities to introduce storage areas into the living room. For example, low drawers on wheels can easily be rolled out from under sofas. Your coffee table might be able to incorporate two wicker storage baskets underneath. Shelving is another useful way of gaining more storage space, and they’re not hard to make or install.
- Decorate your sofas. Plain sofas can be entirely transformed with throws, cushions and arm covers. For example, going for bold ikat cushion covers immediately injects some Middle-Eastern glamour into the space. Alternatively, a luxurious cashmere throw, combined with some woollen, knitted cushions, creates a sense of relaxation and comfort.
- Change the flooring. If that carpet is starting to look worn or dated, rip it up! If you’ve got presentable floorboards underneath, all they’ll need is a sand-down and a coat of hard-wearing varnish or paint. Reclaimed flooring is another fantastic way to transform the space, and even a new rug can update the appearance of the room.
- Switch up the layout. If you’ve had your sofa against one wall and the armchair against the other for years, try moving them both around. Play with the space as much as possible. Of course, there will be certain constraints (e.g. the television will have to stay near the electric sockets), but generally speaking, you can alter the layout quite a bit. If you don’t like the new arrangement, it’s easy to change it back again.
- Swap the lampshades. You don’t have to invest in an entirely new lamp; simply get a new lampshade and swap it with the old one. This gives you the chance to embrace the latest interior design trends, without spending a fortune. Alternatively, if you’re the crafty type, you might be able to create new lampshades yourself.
- Use wallpaper. Once you’ve mastered the art of putting up wallpaper, you’ll be amazed at why you never did it before. Wallpapering one room of the living area is the easiest way to change the feel of the entire room; especially if you go for a bold or retro print.
- Bring the outside in. Plants can totally change the feeling of a room. A large plant like a palm works wonders in the corner of your lounge, acting as a powerful natural focal point. Potted plants trailing tendrils down the shelves creates wonderful visual flow, and flowers add immediate colour. Even better, plants improve the air quality of the space too!
- Consider all the senses. A living room is about more than just visual appearances. Make sure you tap into all the senses. For example, introduce textural elements, like a sheepskin rug or fluffy cushions; as these provide texture and ‘touchability’. Scent is another powerful sensory tool; a spritz of enticing fragrance like oud wood, or a candle, will fill the room with an evocative scent.
- Change the curtains. If the room feels dingy or dark, swap your heavy curtains for a lighter coloured material – something like beige or dove-grey, for example. Blinds can also make the room feel brighter and less ‘enclosed’, or even wooden shutters, if you’ve got a period property.
Search through interior design websites and magazines, so you can get an idea of the sort of thing you want. Then, have fun experimenting with different looks and styles!
All imagery copyright Jen Stanbrook
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