Living Room Design
living room has an air of effortless style and comfort, as though
all the contents have been cherished and handed down over the centuries.
Soft, gentle color schemes give an impression of space and light,
while period architectural details, such as a marble fireplace or
decorative cornicing, add to the look of a well-established home.
upholstered sofas and armchairs are surrounded by antique-style
furnishings - a sparkling glass chandelier, an old brass-handled
chest used as a coffee table, and richly draped curtains all reflect
an earlier era of gracious living. Small details are important too,
such as dainty tassels that finish a tablecloth corner or dangle
from a window shade. Complete the effect with formal groupings of
pictures, lavish flower arrangements, and precious-looking china,
glass, and silver.
easy, gentle shades for walls, keeping to pale shades if the room
isn't large. Creamy yellows, shades of rose, off-white, or beige
make good backgrounds for stronger accent colors, and contrast well
with rich, polished woods. Plain latex or interesting paint effects
are suitable, with detail added in the form of plaster moldings,
paneling, or wainscoting. Pick out any details in a delicately contrasting
color, or rub them lightly with gilt wax for a faded sheen.
fireplace makes an important focal point; an Regency-style plaster
surround has a graceful effect, while marble looks imposing - you
can imitate this successfully with paint. Carved and polished wood
has the right look too. A number of firms specialize in original
fireplaces - check out architectural salvage companies before buying
an expensive imitation.
designs are traditional - smart stripes, scrolled designs, or stylized
flower and leaf prints all flatter the look, but patterns should
be fairly subtle. Keep woodwork pale - white gloss looks fresh and
crisp - or strip back to the wood, then stain and polish to an aged
mahogany or oak effect. Make sure details such as door handles and
fingerplates are all in period style - opt for gleaming brass or
crystal rather than chrome.
plain pale latex; decorative paint effects - ragging, marbling,
or dragging; symmetrically paneled areas with plaster beading, or
wainscoting; white, pale gloss, or stained and polished woodwork.
Wallpapers: formal stripes, subtle florals, or small traditional
motifs such as wreaths or classical urns; ornamental borders or
trompe l'oeil effects of classical moldings.
full-length lined curtains on imposing wood or brass rod; elegant
swags and tails; formal pleated valances or shaped cornices; fringes,
tassels and braids.
folding shutters; simple roller shades in plain cream with tassels.
polished wood or parquet; fitted carpet in subtle neutrals or small
all-over scrolling designs.
traditional Persian and Turkish-style in rich, toning colors; tapestry
rugs in gentle browns, pinks, and blues.
gleaming damasks, silks, glazed chintz, woven stripes; small woven
motifs or velvets for chairs; tapestry or needlepoint cushions.
style: comfortable sofa and armchairs; upholstered ottoman, stool,
chairs; polished wood or Chinese lacquer occasional tables; small
antique-style desk; fitted glass-fronted cupboards or shelving.
central chandelier in gilt and cut glass; period-style wall sconces;
brass or wooden floor lamp with large pleated silk shade; table
lamps; candles in silver candlesticks.
objets d'art: delicate porcelain and china; silver; gilt-framed
pictures and mirrors; leather-bound books.
large formal displays of seasonal blooms with trailing greenery;
small flowers in tiny jugs; bowls of dried flowers or potpourri.
and comfort are essential elements of the classic style living room.
Choose a boxy-shaped sofa with comfortable, soft cushions covered
in a longwearing woven stripe or damask. Team it with a selection
of different seating styles, covered in toning but different fabrics.
This looks more natural than a matching suite, and you can pick
up bargains to revamp. A chesterfield or chaise longue adds an authentic
cupboards are perfect for displaying favorite china or old books.
Chests and trunks with upholstered tops - or draped with a shawl
or throw - provide a useful surface, and hidden storage space, too.
Modern items such as the TV and stereo are best tucked away in built-in
for small decorative tables to hold lamps and collections of silver-framed
photos; or buy inexpensive particleboard tables and disguise them
with matching floor-length circular cloths trimmed with deep fringing.
a soft, atmospheric glow with careful lighting. If you have a central
chandelier, fit a dimmer switch so you can create a candle-like
glimmer. Wall lights, table lamps, and floor lamps, or candles set
around the room, create pools of warm light. Large Chinese-style
vases in blue and white or green provide good lampbases; wood stained
to a mahogany or ebony finish on brass bases are also ideal. Fit
them with a simple parchment or pleated silk shade.
gilt-framed landscapes or portraits look suitably imposing, together
with a large framed mirror over the fireplace. Architectural engravings
or botanical prints in narrow black frames add a sophisticated touch.
Hang them in groups, perhaps linked with a picture bow or stick-on,
printed classical swags and borders.
ornaments carefully, avoiding a cluttered look; a single big plaster
bust - some museums sell copies of original antiquities - placed
on a side table or in the hearth, has real impact. Symmetry is an
important element - matching stylized china dogs or cats either
side of the hearth is a typical classic look; or place matching
china figurines on the mantelpiece.
touches can create the impression of graceful living that typifies
classic style. Flowers are always important; create a big, splashy
formal display of greenery and twigs, and supplement it with fresh
flowers in season. Place bowls of scented dried flower heads or
potpourri on tables for a drift of perfumed air.
items, such as tapestry cushions, old silver, and leather-bound
books, create a sense of the past. Group objects together carefully
to complement each other.
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