Spring is just around the corner, and with it usually comes the urge to switch up our interiors and give our homes a refresh. Perhaps you are moving into a new home and starting from scratch. Or maybe you're planning a room make-over and looking for ideas on how to decorate your living room. Read on for our top tips on how to find your style and decorate your living room like a pro.
1. FIND YOUR DECORATING STYLE
"If you are comfortable wearing it, you will be comfortable living in it. It's that simple."Kate Watson-Smyth, Interior journalist and author of Mad About the House
The best place to discover your own individual style is by taking a look inside your wardrobe. What colours dominate in there? If you're someone who loves to wear bold, bright colours then a neutral decor scheme might not work for you. Likewise, if your wardrobe is made up of classic co-ordinating colours like black, white and grey, then use this is as your starting point. For instance, if you mostly wear denim jeans and a white t-shirt, then consider translating this into your decor. A blue sofa against a crisp white wall will make you feel comfortable and at ease when you walk into the room.
Pinterest is another great place to look for inspiration. Create a board and starting pinning images that you are drawn to. Pin anything and everything that takes your eye and then go back and edit it down to only the images that captivate and draw you in. Take a look at our Pavilion Broadway Pinterest page for ideas and inspiration, and save the images you like to your board.
Finally, consider your home's age and architectural style. Do you live in a relatively modern home or new build? Then trend-led paint colours and contemporary furniture would work well here. A Georgian townhouse with high ceilings and large windows offers the chance to paint your living room in a variety of soft-toned shades. Victorian homes can take dramatic and bold colour schemes. While a small cottage may suit an all-white scheme, softened with wood tones and cosy fabrics. Country homes often feature an eclectic mix of vintage and new pieces of furniture, where heirloom pieces have been passed down through the generations.
Here are some popular decorating styles to consider:
The Transitional style is a fusion of modern and traditional elements. It has become incredibly popular recently due to its versatility. This look is perfect for updating older homes with more contemporary pieces, or adding character to a new build. It balances luxury with comfort, masculine with feminine, and antiques with new pieces. It is the perfect middle ground for those who love elements of both traditional and modern decor.
Key elements of the Transitional style include:
- Neutral colour palette of whites, creams and greys
- Natural textiles and materials
- Comfortable, yet functional furnishings
- Minimal accessories
- A blend of old and new furniture
The Modern decorating style features clean lines and is well-tailored. It often features smooth materials such as metal, chrome and glass for a minimal look. While natural wood tones in varying shades help to soften the space and straight lines. Typically homes built after the 1950s suit a modern interior style, with mid-century furniture being a popular choice for this style. Pops of bold colour in art, accessories or on a feature wall are distinctive of the modern home.
Key elements of the Modern style include:
- Clean lines
- Smooth, sleek surfaces
- Minimal decor
- Accents of bold colours
- Simple colour palette
Contemporary style is the most minimal of all the design styles, offering a sleek and simple space. It features the latest trends in interior design and focuses on unique styles and architectural points of interest to set the scene. Colours are kept simple to allow key focal points to stand out, with textured fabrics to create interest. The look can encompass a mix of decor styles, but lines are always kept clean and simple to create a light and luxurious feel.
Key elements of the Contemporary style include:
- Evolving style
- On-trend pieces
- Simple colour palette
- Unique features
- Sleek and luxurious
The Modern Farmhouse style is a popular choice when decorating, due to its relaxed and comfortable look and feel. Think rustic wooden furniture, textured rugs and squishy fabric sofas. Practical, cosy and inviting are the most important elements to consider when decorating in the farmhouse style. Adding in antique pieces to a neutral colour palette adds instant charm. And mixing metals in nickel, brass and bronze certainly adds character, providing a modern update to this look.
Key elements of the Modern Farmhouse style include:
- Rustic wooden furniture
- Neutral colour palette - whites and creams
- Warm earthy accent tones
- Soft, practical fabrics
- Functional flooring
Traditional interior style encompasses all that is classic and co-ordinating. Matching furniture sets, antiques and a cohesive colour palette are all synonymous with the traditional style. Dark wood is often seen on furniture, and fabrics come in a variety of patterns - damask, florals, checks and stripes are a popular choice. Oil paintings and floral arrangements can be found throughout the traditional home.
Key elements of the Traditional style include:
- Antique furniture
- Patterned wallpaper and fabrics
- Dark wood
- Cohesive colour palette
- Oil paintings
2. CONSIDER THE ROOM'S FUNCTIONALITY
Start with the biggest piece in the room and work from there. The biggest piece in the room is usually the most important and most expensive, and for most of us, that means the sofa.
How do you want to feel in your living room? Relaxed? Sophisticated? Will you be entertaining guests a lot? Or relaxing as a family? Think about how you will use your space primarily and go from there. This will determine the larger pieces of furniture in your room and their function.
Will you need an elegant drinks cabinet for entertaining? Or a media unit to store/hide away your TV equipment? Perhaps your living room will double up as a work space and you need a stylish desk to tuck into an alcove.
Once you've nailed down the larger pieces, focus on complementary accessories and artwork that express your individual style and taste. This is where you can have fun playing with ideas and you can swap and change them as your style/trends change. In-expensive cushions, throws and ornaments are a great way to switch things up when you fancy a change.
3. PAINTING YOUR LIVING ROOM
Paint is the cheapest and easiest way to decorate your living room. If you're looking for a quick refresh then painting is the simplest answer. We have a comprehensive guide on the latest colour trends for 2023 or go back to your Pinterest board to discover which images you are drawn to. Take a look at our Farrow and Ball paint colours to inspire you.
Feature walls are like marmite for some. You either love them or hate them, but when carefully chosen they can add interest and character to a room. Never paint a random plain wall in an accent colour. Choose a focal wall that you want to draw attention to, like a chimney breast or one that has architectural interest such as an archway. Recessed walls, built in cabinetry or hidden nooks also provide the perfect place to add a hint of colour. Feature walls needn't be too extreme either. Farrow & Ball's paint experts recommend going just a shade or two darker then your neutral wall colour to provide enough visual interest without becoming overpowering.
4. PREPARATION IS KEY
We all know the old adage, 'fail to prepare, prepare to fail' and when it comes to decorating, we couldn't agree more. Preparation really is key here. Will you be undertaking the project yourself or hiring in a professional? Either way you'll need a good understanding of what needs to be done and in which order. The key elements to consider when you plan to decorate your living room are:
If you're hiring someone to fit new flooring, then you might want to delay this stage until after you have re-painted or papered the walls to avoid damaging them. Finishing touches and dressing the room should be kept until the very end once all the big pieces of furniture are in and the flooring and lighting is fitted.
5. LET IT EVOLVE
"What is the point of a room that doesn’t have regular usage? Every formal reception room should have atmosphere. It should be a reflection of the owner, not a soulless room without personality."Emma Sims Hilditch of Interior Design firm, Sims Hilditch.
Once you've done all the basics and given your living room a makeover, you can allow the room to evolve over time. This might mean adding sentimental pieces to it as your family grows - favourite photos or trinkets made by small hands. Or collecting pieces from your travels. All of which add character and interest to your living space. Above all your living should be a representation of who you are. A space to relax and unwind in. Somewhere that feels comfortable and a place where you feel most at ease.
When put together, all of these elements will help you determine how best to decorate your living room.