Let it flow
'The key to maximising a living room (opens in new tab) is selecting furniture that fits the space. Before splashing out, make a note of measurements.
Then mark out which pieces go where using tape. Your mission is to make sure you can navigate around the room easily,' says Linda Boronkay.
Find the focal point
It could be a fireplace (opens in new tab), an amazing view or even an empty wall where you can hang your favourite artwork.
If youhave a big piece of art that you want to display, start with that when planning your scheme. Linda loves colourful art, so she always chooses cushions or fabrics in corresponding shades.
Hide the tech
Once you have identifiedyour focal point, youknow where to arrangeyour seating. 'Whateveryou do, don’t make your TV the main feature of theroom; the trick is to make it as inconspicuous as possible,' says Linda.
'Perhaps commission apurpose-built cupboard in which to hide the TV, or place it against a dark backdrop so that it blends with the decor.'
In the mix
When it comes to seating, Linda likes to mix things up. 'It’s a lot more personal when you source pieces one by one, ideally at a vintage market or an antiques shop.
My preference is for a sofa and two armchairs — they don’t have to match, but shop for a similar style.'
A small living room challenges you to think slightly differently. Free up space by replacing a sofa with two larger armchairs and always choose furniture that serves multiple functions.
Placing a wooden tray on top of a pouffe can turn it from a footstool into a handy extra side table.
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Customising cushions with fringes or trims is a fabulous way to create a little contrast or add a touch of personality. They don’t need to be symmetrical–three or four cushions are sufficient for a sofa.
If you have armchairs, put one cushion on each.
Low-level lighting is great for drawing the eye to different areas of the room, making it feel bigger and look more interesting. Never underestimate the number of floor and table lamps you need and make sure you put them on a dimmer.
This allows for flexibility depending on the time of day or your mood. Place a small lamp next to the TV at eye level. Apparently, a low glow while watching TV isbetter for your eyesight.
'I love displaying books on my coffee table — they’re like pieces of art in their own right,' says Linda. 'The mistake people oftenmake is over-cluttering.
Function should always come first. Make sure you leave enough space to be able to actually use your coffee table.'
Make it personal
'I’m a hoarder, so my mantel is home to pieces that make me happy like wedding invitationsor birthday cards. I also have a couple of beautiful mid-century vases, which I found at a vintage market,' says Linda.
'Style your mantelpiece with items that are personal to you and tell a story of your life and your travels.'
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Shining a spotlight on the now and the next in home design and decor, Livingetc is the UK's best selling high end and contemporary home design magazine. As a brand, Livingetc showcases the world's very best homes, breaks and makes the trends, and has access to leading international designers for insight and ideas. It was first published in 1998, and is currently edited by Pip Rich.
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