Gathering with family & friends, conversing over a cuppa, catching up on Netflix or lounging around after dinner, your living room is one of the most social rooms in your home! So rather than decorating ad hoc and buying pieces you like on the spur of the moment, you will get a far more stylish, cohesive and functional look with a small amount of planning ahead.
To help you get started, Milray Park Designer Mel Hoekstra shares her best tips to design the perfect living room.
Every household is unique & uses lounge rooms in different ways!
First, chat with everyone to discuss how they visualise themselves using the space. Is it predominantly to watch TV, movies or the football? Is it to have friends or family over for in-depth conversations about the latest world affairs? Or do you need a space where you can see the kids playing? Think about how YOU will use your lounge room.
Tip: Plan for the future, how do you see your living room being used in 1 year, 2 years or 5 years?
Grab a tape measure, paper, and pen and draw up a sketch of the room. It doesn’t have to be to scale, just do it freehand. Start by measuring the walls then add windows, openings, and doors, taking note of window heights, power points and TV outlets.
Gaining an idea of the space you must work with will help you plan the room and save you money in the long run by buying furniture that fits, looks the right scale and allows for a good flow of traffic.
Tip: Measure door widths & stairwells to ensure your purchase will fit into your home and take the plan with you when shopping.
The boring but vital component ….. have a budget in mind!
A budget will help you decide where to shop, what to prioritise and whether you need to decorate in one go or stages. There is no point looking at $7,000 lounges if that is the budget for your whole room.
Tip: If you have a small budget and want quality furniture which will last for years consider second hand.
There is a myriad of furnishings to choose from and it can easily become very overwhelming if you don’t know your style.
Research Pinterest, Instagram, magazines etc… to understand the type of look that appeals to you most. You will probably end up with a mix of styles but trust your instinct and talk to others in your household to narrow down to a particular look and stick to it.
It is ok to add your own personal touch or eclecticism to your design but have an overall base theme.
Tip: When I design for a client I choose three words to describe the style helping me stay on track with all my selections.
Take your time shopping, don’t rush into your nearest major and buy everything you need from the one outlet, it will look like a showroom floor.
Enjoy the experience and add your own personality by shopping at a mix of different shops; try online shopping, marketplace, antique shops and support your local specialty homewares and furniture shops.
Tip: remember to ask about delivery costs of larger pieces to add to your budget.
You will create a soulful, welcoming feel with your own unique style by layering with accessories, texture, and colour.
We all know about adding cushions, throws, trays, books, vases, artwork, and plants but also consider using mementos or collections special to you, photos or objects d’art from your travels, the odd antique, flowing curtains or change the wall colour.
Don’t be afraid to look a little lived in; don’t fold the throw neatly, place a cushion like it has just been laid on, open a book. Appeal to all the senses with candles, music, soft light from table or floor lamps and soften edges with round lamp shades, coffee or side tables, vases or bowls.
Tip: Think about the feeling you want to evoke when people walk into your room and buy with that in mind, for example do you want it to feel relaxing or uplifting and vibrant.
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Design by Lauren Saull
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