How to Style your Living Room like a Professional

Have you ever looked at those amazing lifestyle setups in magazines and adverts and wished you could get a look like that? They always look so perfect and brilliantly put together. I appreciate that, after 10 minutes with the children they won’t always look like that, but wouldn’t it be lovely to be able to create a room that looked professionally styled?

Well DFS gave me a wonderful opportunity to have a go at doing just that. I was invited along to their studios in Macclesfield to try my hand at styling my own set using the wonderful sofa range from French Connection. The ‘French Connection Sofas excusively for DFS’ collection is fresh and contemporary and consists of four ranges: Chalk, Coast, Slate and Flint.  The colour scheme of all the sofas is muted, cool and calm and I was excited to see how this was all going to work.

DFS gave me the Flint sofa, armchair and footstool to use in my set, and suggested I create a look calling in 10-15 other items or props that could be used in the scheme. So I started putting together some ideas, deciding on what kind of finished look I was going for and what the end result was going to be. Having never done anything like this before I was really intrigued to see how the moodboard ideas would look in an actual room or set. As I frequently mention here on the blog, I like to use 5 different words to guide me when I’m puting together room scheme ideas and for this look I decided on:

Calm, Neutral, Textures, Cosy and Modern

I love the Woodland theme that’s around everywhere at the moment and wanted to combine some of this with the rough luxe type look too. So I started by putting together my Moodboard:


The general idea was to add the vintage suitcases, lots of throws and texture with a few woodland creature cushions. The wood from the lamps, candlesticks and clock would add extra depth of colour. The coffee table and side table were provided by DFS too from their range.
Along with 3 other Interior bloggers including Antonia from Tidy Away Today, I arrived at the DFS location to be greeted by the photographer and professional stylist and the beginnings of my set.
dfs french connection
dfs french connection

The process is fascinating. Of course the set is built and created in a warehouse like building and the furniture is arranged within a crop. What became apparent early on, is how the pieces are positioned, not so they look good necessarily to the eye, but so they look good on camera of course. As it transpired some of the props weren’t available we had to think on our feet and raid the DFS props room (I really could have spent a lot more time in there!) and come up with something a little different to my original plans. It really didn’t matter though because it was great seeing the stylist, Anna at work and watching how the set came together.

You can see from the initial images that we started by putting in the lighting, and the wall art. I do love that bison! And the vintage suitcases went in early on too. Once the main pieces were in and the photographer was happy with the positioning we could add the accessories and really bring the room to life.

DFS set

Maintaining the idea of keeping it calm and neutral we didn’t add any extra colours but worked on the tones and added lots of texture. If things didn’t work we threw them out and tried something else.

DFS set2
And here’s the finished result. Professionally photographed and wonderfully styled (mostly by Anna but with a little help from me!)
DFS makeover
DFS French connection styled room

I was thrilled with the final look, even though it was a development from the original moodboard, I’m happy that I stuck to my design ‘words’ and still created a set that was neutral, cosy, calm, full of texture and wonderfully modern.

Style your room

So what do you think?

I learned quite a few things from the experience and here are a few of my top tips for styling your room like a Professional:

– Go with your instincts and don’t be afraid to veer from your original plans
– Add lots of texture and try and stick to a theme
– Add height to a grouping of accessories
– Look at areas individually as well as the complete look and ensure they work well

I was really impressed with the French Connection sofas I used in my set. Each piece is handmade in Derbyshire by DFS who have a 44 year history of hand-making sofas and comes with a 10 year guarantee. And if you order by the middle of November you get guaranteed Christmas delivery too. I thought the prices were really reasonable too with the Flint 2 seater sofa coming in at under £1000. If you want to check out more of the French Connection at DFS range you can do so here.

Thank you to DFS for looking after me so well on my trip to Macclesfield and for providing such a fun day out!
Jen Stanbrook
Jen Stanbrook

Jen is an award winning digital publisher and has been creating interiors and home decor content for over 10 years.
She has an insatiable love of home interiors, has worked with hundreds of brands, and currently supports many bloggers within the creative industries to share their expertise through writing.
She spends most of her time in her little garden office pod, has 2 daughters and 2 (fighting) cats.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Instagram


  1. Jenni
    October 21, 2013 / 3:46 pm

    Wow, I really love the way you styled this. I am really feeling this classy but cosy neutral tone look at the moment so this is really up my street. What an amazing opportunity to put something together, I bet you had a ball.

    • Jen Stanbrook
      October 21, 2013 / 4:36 pm

      Ah thanks Jenni. Yes it was a great day out and such a fabulous opportunity. A real experience!

  2. Antonia, Tidy Away Today
    October 21, 2013 / 7:53 pm

    Lovely to see the final shots, Jen – gorgeous! Love that neutral colour palette, so calming and relaxing, and all those great eclectic accessories, too! X

  3. Catherine
    October 21, 2013 / 8:48 pm

    What a great way to see, from the other side, how these rooms are put together! I can’t let you get away with calling the highland cow a bison though!!

  4. Rachael Jones
    October 22, 2013 / 1:14 pm

    I love your mood board and the final look! It’s lovely to see how these gorgeous images are put together!

  5. Mummylish
    October 25, 2013 / 10:42 am

    I realised that I saw this pass and forgot to comment to say how fantastic you did! Looks gorgeous Jen, well done. Hope you enjoyed xx

  6. Pingback: How to Style your Sofa
  7. Eleanor
    January 25, 2014 / 2:32 pm

    This is beautiful. Please, please, please can you tell me the wall paint colour, it is gorgeous?

  8. Karen Barlow
    October 18, 2014 / 7:14 pm

    Hi Jen, so glad you enjoyed your day. I’m presuming it was the Hangar seven studios in Macc? I have worked there quite a lot and also on the DFS account and its a great studio. It’s a very professional shot and I think you did a great job, glad you enjoyed it 😉

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