With the credit crunch biting it’s no surprise that for many people, moving house has been scrubbed off the agenda. Instead the trend is swinging from moving to improving, and staying put is inspiring interiors to become bolder and more personal, making the home a true place of solace in gloomy economic times. Where better to make an exciting change than in the hub of the home, the living room.
Simplicity, Colour, Materials and Textures…
The key to creating a contemporary living room is to keep things simple, embracing colour, modern materials and different textures. Aim to create a light, airy and comfortable space – the amazing range of furniture, floor and wall coverings available today means it’s never been easier to create a stunning contemporary look, whatever the budget. When considering a new look, think about the people who use the room, their personalities and lifestyles. As a place to unwind, it’s important that everyone should feel relaxed in the living room, so make the space inviting, but practical, ensuring that the finished project works within the home. For example, when choosing fabrics and finishes, think about small children and pets and pick something durable!
Begin by selecting a theme or colour scheme for the room. It’s a good idea to take a single item of furniture or piece of fabric as a starting point, to inspire the entire look. Contemporary design offers fantastic freedom of choice where colour, pattern and texture is concerned, so embrace it and have fun, whether that equates to bright, bold statements or monochrome minimalism. When choosing a piece of furniture, think about the purpose it needs to serve and the punishment it may take day to day. Modern furniture pieces sit low on the floor, and many are cleverly made with storage and functionality in mind. Think sleek television benches and smooth sideboards – simple, clean lines creating an up to date and uncluttered look – nobody needs to know what chaos may lurk inside!
Choosing a Sofa
When choosing a sofa, the traditional three-piece suite is constraining, so make the most of the modular ranges available at most retailers. Contemporary pieces now include corner units and a variety of add-ons meaning it’s easy to tailor-make a look for any shape and size of living room. The fabulous ranges of colours and finishes encourage a modern yet completely personal theme. Leather is a great choice of fabric for a contemporary living room, blending with the simplicity of the room’s overall look. The choice of shade will greatly change the mood of the room – think black for minimalism, or a splash of bold colour for warmth.
If the living room doubles as a place for the family to eat together, consider a glass or acrylic pedestal table. Such a design will particularly suit a smaller room, allowing light to flow through and giving the impression of space.
This is also a great time to throw out that old lampshade and explore fresh lighting options. Lighting can create a talking point, and is a fantastic way of presenting the room at its best.
Flooring offers the opportunity to be really adventurous. There’s an incredible array of designs and materials available, meaning that old beige carpet can make way for a much more progressive look. Natural fibres are popular – think seagrass, coir or wood for a more traditional, yet modern theme; and for something completely different take a look at some stunning statement-making vinyl designs. These can be spectacular and extremely hard wearing, remaining unscathed for many years, even with heavy use. Alternatively, for that familiar feeling of warmth beneath the toes, why not consider making a bold move with brightly coloured carpet, particularly effective if the rest of the living room’s colours are muted.
Wall coverings have thankfully come a long way since wood-chip wallpaper, often forming the basis for the entire look of a living room, and acting as the inspiration for the colours and textures of furnishings and flooring. With big, brazen patterns and prints, touchable textures and just about any colour imaginable, there’s huge scope for the creation of a contemporary theme. Perhaps create a feature wall and have some fun with a colour or pattern that might be too dominating all around the room, or create the illusion of width and depth with horizontal stripes. If papering sounds too much like hard work, have a look at the vast assortment of paint colours on the market, temptingly named and wonderfully mood-enhancing when used to effect.
Contemporary interiors afford a fabulous chance to be flexible and let individuality shine through. Take inspiration from favourite things and places to breathe personality into a new look; and remember that the finishing touch to any living room is the family that brings it to life.