WHAT IS THERE TO CONSIDER?
The size and shape of your room, how you use it and which way the room faces are all important considerations when designing your space. Is it part of an open plan kitchen area for example, or is it a snug where you’ll have movie nights with the family?
The layout of your furniture is the first thing to consider. It might be that you don’t have a lot of flexibility with the layout, perhaps dictated to by the size and positions of windows and doors.
If you have a large space, such as an open plan living area, creating purposeful zones will prevent the room from just being about the ‘TV’ and you’ll be able to enjoy the space in lots of different ways. You could create a cosy reading area or study area for example.
How you use the room is really important, as the most successful rooms will reflect the way that you live. If you’re lucky enough to have a room dedicated as a snug then you might fill more of the floor-space with an extra large sofa, perhaps going for an L-shape, corner or chaise sofa so that the whole family can pile on.
Your lifestyle is also super important, do you entertain a lot and have lots of people over and need plenty of seating? Pieces such as loveseats are great as they can accommodate extra bums when you have guests. Arrange the layout so that it promotes interaction between people.
Long slim rooms can sometimes be a challenge as you can end up with seating placed along one wall and you find you are having to talk to people sideways. Think about how you can perhaps arrange the seating so that it’s brought inwards on the shorter dimension, perhaps place a console or dresser behind to fill the void and create a focal point. It will make the room feel cosier and you won’t crick your neck when talking!
If you have a more compact space then you can use clever storage to put away things like kids toys and stop the room from feeling over-cluttered. You want to get the balance right between the size of the room and the furniture. If the furniture is too small for the space then you can end up with voids that you can feel lost in, if the furniture is too big for the space then it may feel claustrophobic.
A useful tip is to mark out where you furniture will go before you buy. Use masking tape on the floor to help you and walk around it to see how the flow feels. If you have an empty room you may even be able to use cardboard boxes to build up the shapes of the main pieces of furniture and see how the area feels as you move around it.
COMBINING BEAUTY WITH FUNCTION
Your furniture is probably going to be the thing that you spend the most amount of money on, so not only do you need to love the look of it, it has to be comfortable and functional.
Think about how you will use your furniture, in the case of the sofa – how many people does it need to seat? How do you use your sofa? Is it in a ‘formal’ living room where you prefer to sit more upright and chat to visitors? Is it in a movie room or snug where you want to sink in with your feet up? Considering these aspects will help inform your choice and make sure your furniture performs in the way you want it to.
Fabric choice is an important consideration and this should be influenced in part by how you plan to use your sofa. If it’s in a busy room with lots of traffic then you might want to opt for a washable fabric, such as a cotton/linen blend. If you choose a patterned or a textured fabric it will be more forgiving with those little marks and spills.
Many people avoid velvet for this reason, however, modern day velvets are, in fact, extremely durable, stain-resistant and a great option for giving you a piece of furniture that is both beautiful and functional.
Deciding on a sofa you really need to choose something that will stand the test of time in terms of the style and colour – so again going with something that makes your heart sing is a must. Do you want your sofa to really stand out and grab your attention? Or do you want it to blend in as part of an overall scheme?
We find that most people opt for a neutral palette for their furniture, and the key reason people do this is they worry that they will tire of a particular colour. Other people will just immediately go for a bold statement and you can see the joy in their faces when they hit upon that perfect mustard or tropical blue for example.
We don’t think either approach is right or wrong. Neutral colours are definitely easier to re-scheme and re-style (by changing accessories and cushions for example), but also a bold, bright or patterned piece can bring you a lot of joy as a focal point.
Another trend we are seeing is the move towards darker tones of velvet, inky blues and graphite greys which look equally great set against a light bright backdrop as they do darkened walls. Dark green set against a monochrome backdrop looks amazing!
You might be guided by how the room is used, if you have children and dogs and so you might perhaps go for a more forgiving colour or textured fabric that won’t show up muddy paw prints and blackcurrant quite so much! Also, if you have a particularly bright room and your furniture is positioned in a lot of direct sunlight think about fading. Dark colours will show fading more than light colours.
Lighting in a living space is really crucial and if you can plan this as early as possible, if you are renovating and are able to decide on socket and switch positions then you can have the ability to create those zones that we talked about earlier and allow you to place accent lights that will transform your room into a cosy space when it gets dark.
Use lighting to highlight your best bits, so if you have a statement armchair in the corner then pop a floor light or side table and lamp there too so it draws attention.
Consider also lighting that enables you to do a job – so if you’re reading or sewing then a well-placed task lamp is a must. Overhead lighting (or the big light) isn’t often used in our house, but it’s there in case anyone drops a Malteser! The overhead light, or central pendant however can be used to install a real statement piece that will add interest to an often overlooked part of the room.
WHERE TO SPEND AND WHERE TO SAVE
I would obviously say the sofa is worth investing in! You want to relax, feel comfortable and have longevity so having a quality, well built sofa is a must.
If you’re starting from scratch then, for me, the flooring is worth spending money on. Personally I love a beautiful timber floor and if you can afford this throughout then it can really elevate a space.
Your window dressings too will probably be with you for a long time, so definitely something to invest in. If you love shutters, (who doesn’t) then these are worth investing in, although if you have a straight-forward window space then you can also use DIY measure yourself options to save a bit of money.
Not everything has to cost a fortune! Accessories can be collected over time and I have often found beautiful and unique pieces in charity shops and I love browsing antiques fairs for a characterful vase or dish. If you spend some time collecting little bits of art, prints, coffee table books that you love you can really inject your personality into a space without spending a fortune.
I always keep little postcards and even typography style birthday cards and pop them on a shelf or in a frame, a really inexpensive way to add interest.
Cushions and throws need not be expensive and can easily be switched if you tire of the colour or the pattern.
Plants are another, inexpensive finishing touch that add interest and colour, they’re easily moved around, and with so many varieties and options you can be sure to find a plant that suits every space, from those that love the sun to those that can still flourish even with minimal light.
MY KEY ADVICE
Don’t feel that you have to follow trends. Only have things around you that you love and don’t be afraid to mix it up. Don’t feel that because a certain trend is all over Instagram that’s what you have to do – it won’t have longevity for you if it’s not what you really love. If your room is a true expression of your personal taste then it will be a room you can really relax in and enjoy and that is the most important thing.
If you’ve recently renovated your Living Room space we would love for you to share your experience and pictures with us and help inspire others #cabyncrew.
Don’t forget if you would like to visit our showroom you can do by appointment, simply pop us a message on our contact form and we will be in touch to arrange!
Lots of love from
And all of us at CABYN