10 Must-Know Tips for Styling Your Living Room
by Carlisle Homes
Our interior design team tell us how to style a living room a space that you’ll love spending time in.
Your living room is the ultimate multi-tasker – somewhere to relax, entertain, play family games, and binge-watch your favourite show from the comfort of the sofa. But with so many different activities to accommodate, it can be difficult to get your lounge room style right.
Fear not: our expert interior designers are here to help. Watch our video on how to style a living room here or follow the practical styling tips below.
1. Think how you’ll use the space
Before you hit the shops, think about how your living room will be used. This will help you select the right furniture and layout to best suit your living room style.
Is it where the family watches TV together? If so, you’ll want a sofa that’s big enough to accommodate everyone, positioned with a good view of the screen. Does your living room double as a thoroughfare to the dining room or kitchen? If the answer is yes, you’ll need to ensure that your furniture doesn’t block the flow of traffic. Do you entertain regularly? If so, consider creating one or two conversation clusters with a pair of armchairs and a side table where guests can chat over a glass of wine.
2. Measure up
To help you choose the best size rug, sofa, furnishings and window treatments, measure up your living room, draw the room to scale and play around with different combinations and layouts. While this might seem like a bit of work, it’s far less hassle than trying to return a sofa or rug that doesn’t fit.
Understanding the scale of your room is a simple yet important step when styling your perfect lounge room.
3. Get the foundations right
Not sure what to buy first? Start with the most important pieces in the room, such as the sofa and area rug, and build your living room style up from there. With sofas, it pays to buy the best (and most comfortable) you can afford – after all, it’s where you spend the most time in the living room.
When it comes to sofa colour, neutrals such as taupe, grey, and cream give you the most flexibility as they can easily be updated with scatter cushions and throws. When assessing fabric options, think about who will be using the sofa; washable covers in hardwearing cotton or poly-cotton mix are a boon in a home with kids or pets, while a luxurious material like pure linen is better-suited to grown-up living spaces.
A rug is a clever way to add softness to your living area and to define the space within an open-plan room. When considering size, bigger is generally better; the rug you choose should be large enough so that all the furniture around it fits partially on it.
4. Pick a colour scheme
Whether you go for cosy and cocooning earth tones, bold black and white, or a contemporary scheme consisting of layers of grey, having a clear colour palette in mind when you hit the shops can help you buy with confidence.
Lift your living room styling game further by creating an online mood board for your lounge with our brilliant new My Favourites tool.
5. Introduce a few curves
Curves and soft lines will soften your living room and make it feel more inviting. A little goes a long way; you won’t need more than two or three curved elements to make an impact. Try adding a curved armchair, side table, coffee table or décor pieces, or hang linen sheers at the windows that gently billow in the breeze.
6. Bring in warmth with texture
Make your living room feel cosier and more characterful by adding plenty of texture – think scatter cushions and throws in cashmere and velvet, a marble-topped coffee table, and touches of natural timber or rattan in joinery or side tables.
7. Create a focal point
Every lounge room benefits from having a clear focal point – that place where your eye naturally falls when you walk into a room. If your living room doesn’t have a natural focal point such as a fireplace, consider hanging a bold artwork or a pair of artworks above the sofa, a fabulous pendant light above the coffee table, or creating a feature wall with a striking wallpaper on one wall.
8. Pay attention to lighting
When styling your lounge room, create ambience and provide different illumination options for relaxing, reading, and entertaining by including a mix of lighting styles. This might include a combination of overhead lighting, wall sconces, table, and floor lamps, all on dimmers so you can change the lighting levels.
9. Don’t forget storage
Keep your living room clutter-free by including plenty of places to store board games, remote controls, and books. Custom-designed cabinets and shelves make the best use of space and will give your living room a streamlined look. Or consider freestanding shelves, storage ottomans or a sofa with integrated storage.
Don’t want the TV to dominate? Consider a storage cabinet with sliding doors; paint the wall behind the screen a dark shade so it visually recedes into the background or choose a television that resembles a work of art when not in use.
10. Get the proportions right
- If you’re hanging art above a sofa, position it no more than 15 to 20cm from the top of the sofa.
- A wall-mounted television should be placed at eye height when you’re seated.
- Side tables should sit at the same height as the arm of your sofa.
- The coffee table should be at the seat height of your sofa or slightly lower.