As we continue to reconfigure our living spaces as offices, schools, gyms and even cinemas, the living room has remained the hub of all activity in the home. But now more than ever, it’s essential to make this multifunctional room a haven for rest and relaxation.
Here are some top tips and styling advice on how to create a stress-free and calming living room where we can comfortably unwind.
Keep it neutral
‘Neutral tones are my go-to colours when creating a relaxing space at home,’ says Carolyn Bailey, House Beautiful’s Homes and Gardens Director. ‘I love to layer several different shades of cream throughout a room. For instance, I might choose one shade for the walls, another for my sofa and chairs, another for a throw and cushions. I particularly love warm, yellowy creams, but smart greys also work well in this way.’
Embrace textures and layering
Comfort is the key to a soothing living room, and tempting textures are a fail-safe way to inspire calm.
Achieving this look is pretty simple, as Amy Neason, House Beautiful’s Deputy Style and Interiors Editor, explains: ‘Work from the ground up by opting for a rug with a deep pile that feels cosy underfoot. Layer cushions in an array of tactile finishes, from quilted velvet to silky cotton and slubby linen. Not only does this make your sofa even more appealing to sink into after a long day, it also adds visual interest and depth to your scheme.’
Home Essentials offers a wide range of cushions, throws and rugs in a variety of on-trend colourways. To cosy up your living space, try the super-soft Kenzo Geo Shaggy Rug, which provides texture and pattern thanks to its stylish geometric design. For your sofa, mix contrasting textures and colours, like the Super Soft Basket Weave Cushion with this snuggly Soft Fleece Cushion.
Bring the outside in
With plenty of health benefits, houseplants have the ability to instil a deep-rooted sense of calm. ‘Creating a connection to nature in your living room instantly inspires tranquillity, and plants are a great way to do this,’ says Amy.
If you’re looking for a tall houseplant with instant impact, we’d recommend a Swiss cheese, Kentia Palm or snake plant – all perfect for transforming a forgotten living-room corner. Not so green-fingered? Invest in a fuss-free, no maintenance artificial houseplant that looks just as good as the real thing but requires zero effort.
Too much bric-a-brac can have a negative effect on your mental and physical health, making you feel more stressed than relaxed, so declutter your living room to ensure it remains a space that you can associate with serenity. In the words of Marie Kondo, only keep items that ‘spark joy’. Utilise shelves, sideboards and display cabinets for storage, and for smaller items, you can’t go wrong with on-trend Seagrass Belly Baskets – perfect for storing throws, magazines and other bits and bobs.
Exposure to daylight can improve your wellbeing, increase your connection to nature and help to calm your surroundings. When it turns to evening, a mixture of table lamps, floor lamps and wall lights will create a softer light, making the environment feel more relaxing.
Interior designer Benji Lewis from Zoom that Room calls this ‘layered ambient lighting’. ‘Banish anything overhead unless it can be dimmed low,’ he says. ‘A table lamp with a traditional gathered shade will offer a soft glow. Add a small uplighter into the mix to cast a wash of light upwards, and then a reading light to direct light downwards where needed.’
Unwind with scents
To unwind at the end of the day, fill your living room with scents (candles or diffusers) blended with a range of essential oils to help you restore inner peace.
‘Introducing scent adds another dimension to an interior and is often forgotten about,’ says Scarlett Blakey, Creative Partner of Ophelia Blake Interior Design. ‘Lavender and eucalyptus scents are calming, while sandalwood or fireside scents represent natural wood smells, associated with getting cosy in front of the fire.’
Source: House Beuatiful