Have you ever walked into a living room that was decorated in a way that felt too cold and impersonal for comfort? I have, and instead of paying attention to the real reason for being there, I spend 80% of my time giving the room a mental makeover, making it cosy, welcoming and alive with personality with just a few changes. Oh, if the host/hostess was ever a mind-reader! Think your living room would trigger one of my mental-makeovers? To keep yourself and your house guests happy, follow these 5 useful tips to create a cosy living room within your home.
1. Be Colour Confident! – Choose colours that work well together. This may seem like the obvious but surprisingly some people still get it wrong. As a life-long colour lover, I can testify that most colours will work well together as long as you choose the right shades and intensities. Not surprisingly, it’s those same factors that could make or break your overall decor. If you’re like me and require a carnival of colours to make your place feel more like home, perhaps take some time to re-familiarise yourself with the colour wheel, gather swatches of fabrics and paints in various shades and textures, and make yourself a mood board. This exercise is just as important if your colour scheme is monochromatic.
2. Experiment With A Mix Of Textures and Finishes – Add dimension to your living room with actual and implied texture. For actual texture, choose knitted, woven, crocheted or quilted items like throws, poufs, rugs, wall hangings or even a statement tufted sofa and ottoman like the legendary Chesterfield design. Use varying sizes and styles of knits to keep things interesting, especially if you’re sticking to a monochromatic colour scheme. For example, the visual feel of white on white with a blend of various textures can make an otherwise flat and boring space look rather storied and luxurious.
Implied texture refers to the surface quality of an item; it’s texture that can be seen but not felt. Patterned fabrics, two dimensional wall art and trompe l’oeil style wallpaper are just a few good examples of implied texture for home decor.
Go the extra mile by picking your finishes wisely. Remember, a smooth surface area will most definitely vary in appearance or character based on its finish. So smooth surface areas that have been varnished, lacquered, glazed or flocked will each have a different visual feel of their own. Include items that appeal to you personally, like objects you’ve brought home from your favourite holidays, framed photos of your family/friends or your impressive collection of vintage cameras for example. These can be great conversation pieces for your guests and they give more of an insight into your personality.
Your choice of plants and fresh flowers are also a great way to add texture and personalise your space, which takes us to the next point.
3. Add Life To The Room, Literally – House plants in the living room is always a good idea. There’s more to them than just their pretty looks; they’re good air purifiers. Plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen; the increased oxygen level refreshes the air and, by extension, refreshes you too. Yes, cosy is not just about an outward appearance, it is very much about feeling too! Some plants are much better at this job than others, and thanks to the internet, you can find the best ones to suit your specific needs with just the click of a button.
I’m no green thumb, but I’m working on it! If you struggle to keep plants alive and well looked after, perhaps it’s best to opt for lovely succulents and air plants and leave the other types to people who are better at it.
4. Create An Alluring Ambience – Lighting is key in any living space. Choosing the right lighting for your living room is more than just about functionality; it’s also about creating ambience. Your living room is probably the one room in your home that requires various types of lighting; as it’s the central hub where many different activities take place. It is important to have a good source of overhead light which can be further supplemented by floor, table or task lamps as the need arises. Use accent lights such as uplighters and warm spotlights to illuminate dark corners or draw attention to wall art or plant life. To get your living room into relaxation mode, consider adding dimmer switches or trusty old candlelight for an atmospheric glow.
5. Celebrate Your Other Senses – It’s all good seeing the light and enjoying the feeling of amazing textures, but one thing that wins me over every time is a great smelling home. The nerves involved with our sense of smell is linked to the emotional centre of our brain, so smells are rarely neutral. In most cases, we either like or dislike particular smells. Smells tend to leave a long lasting impression and are strongly linked to our memories; that’s a good enough reason to keep your home smelling great, don’t you think?
A good starting point is knowing what fragrances make you tick. Envelope your home in your favourite fragrance using scented candles, oil diffusers, dried potpourri or your favourite simmer pot recipe of whatever herbs, fruits, and spices suit your fancy.
I’m naturally drawn to complex oriental fragrances with a floral or a spicy edge; they’re warm, rich, honey-like, mysterious and spicy all at once. I love harmonising notes such as amber, orchid, jasmine, tuberose, cloves and cinnamon to name a few. Oh how I wish we could smell things on the internet! Ah well, for now just think Tom Ford’s Black Orchid and Frapin’s 1697 for the body or Jo Malone’s Pomegranate Noir and Tom Dixon’s Orientalist Diffusers for the home and you’ll get my point. Pomegranate Noir is my all time favourite go-to home fragrance. What’s your favourite home fragrance? What are your favourite scents?
©ALL CONTENTS OF THIS BLOG ARE ORIGINALLY WRITTEN BY ME, NOVA WILLIAMS OF 18 CHELSEA MEWS LTD, AND ARE MY PERSONAL OPINIONS AND VIEWS, UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED.