Good interior design is about matching form with functionality. No-where is that more true than in the living-room. The kitchen may have been the ‘heart of the home’ in days gone by, but today it is the living-room that is the centre of most homes. Despite this, it can be something of an after-thought in terms of design. Many people will spend considerable time and money getting just the right look in their bathroom or kitchen, but fail to come up with anything much for the living-room.
Seating, in particular, is often relatively un-stylish. Partly that is practical: people want a comfortable sofa more than one that is nice to look at (and that is more than fair enough – coming home after a hard day’s work to an uncomfortable sofa is not much fun). It is also partly because of a lack of options: it can be difficult to find exciting, well-designed living-room furniture that also meets the needs of a busy family. It’s difficult, but not impossible. There are a few ways to make sure your living-room is as stylish as the rest of your home.
Putting in a new kitchen generally means ripping everything out and starting again. Very often, that’s not so in the living-room. Sofas and chairs in particular are expensive, so many people tend to make-do with what they already have, even if what they have doesn’t fit their ideas for the rest of the room. If you can’t afford to replace your seating, then try and update it with new covers, or pick out elements in the design of them which you can link to other things in the room (for example, if they have chrome feet, make that part of your theme by bringing in chrome picture frames or a chrome fire surround).
Living-room seating can be a great way of making a statement, so if you are able to bring in new seating, do. Be brave with the designs you choose and make them the centrepiece of the room. The key to finding something that will really act as a focal point of your living-room is to be imaginative. Look a little further than the high street chains: there are many online suppliers and small ‘boutique’ furniture shops which may be able to help supply something that meets your practical needs and looks great.
Think carefully about the configuration of seating and how it fits the room and space you have. You don’t need to go for a traditional three-piece-suite. A corner sofa or modular system that you can adjust according to how you want to use it can work really well, for example. Another option is to have one large sofa for general family use, and one or two statement chairs which don’t match, but contrast.
Use your imagination
As with any kind of design, let your imagination run riot initially. Then consider whether what you want is practical. If it isn’t, then work out ways to compromise. Everyone has their own style, but if you’re struggling to put a living-room seating design together, perhaps these ideas will give you a kick-start:
– For sophisticated urban homes limited on space, a leather loveseat combined with a couple of leather chairs can be attractive and flexible.
– For a retro, sixties look try to get hold of a second-hand Eames chair or a modern copy. This design classic adds instant style to a room.
Go for a luxury look with something more old-fashioned. How about an elegant chaise longue? Or a high-backed wing chair? Both can be either understated, or indulgent, with metallic decoration on the feet and patterned fabric.
– See if you can make your own seating, or hire a professional to do it. With the requisite carpentry skills and some wood un-used space in a bay window can be turned into a comfortable window seat (make the seat hinged, and you also have some useful storage).
There are, of course, countless other options. Good interior design is about matching up your lifestyle, aspirations and interests to create something that feels like yours. If you love design, don’t allow your living –room to let you down – put some thought into it and make it somewhere you love to relax in.
Author: Izzy A. Woods