Every room needs one hero piece – something that will surprise, delight and make an impact. It might be an oversized piece of furniture in a bold colour, a fabulous rug, a work of art, or a feature wall.
Your hero piece is designed to steal the limelight. It should be the thing you fell in love with the moment you saw it, and that you might be prepared to splurge a little more on. Remember, however, to make sure it has space to breathe.
Most living rooms will have a lot of rectangles and squares – it’s simply the nature of those bigger furniture items such as sofas, sideboards and shelving units. If you notice your space has lots of lines and right angles, think about adding some circles. A round coffee table, a pair of round side tables, a round rug, a round wall hanging – the options are endless.
A beautiful painting or artwork will look far better when hung at the right height. Also, having a consistent centre line throughout your home helps create a sense of harmony.
As a general rule, the centre of the artwork should be at eye level, which for the average person is 145 centimetres from the floor. Remember, that’s 145 centimetres to the centre of the art, not to the hook. Yep, I’ve made that mistake before.
Do you have low ceilings? Choose low-profile furniture such as sofas and coffee tables to create the illusion of room height. Boost this with tall, slim bookshelves that draw the eye upwards and make walls and windows appear taller.
Mixing different heights in this way will also help create a relaxed vibe in your home.
A rug is the one thing I frequently note is missing from my clients’ homes, which means they’re usually high on my list of items to purchase as part of a restyle. Why? Because rugs help anchor a room, plus they’re a great way to add colour, texture and softness. Need to carve up a large, open-plan space into separate zones? A rug is your number-one tool.
Rugs are also relatively inexpensive for the impact they create.
Size matters! Be generous with the size of your rug. Remember the on-the-rug rule for your living room: go bigger to ensure that at least two legs of every furniture piece in the living area are sitting on the rug.
Make sure the rug extends at least 15 to 25 centimetres from either side of the sofa to create a balanced look. And remember, a rug is not wall-to-wall carpet – never lay a rug right up against the wall or window. Aim to leave at least 25 centimetres of visible floor around a rug.
Can’t put your finger on exactly what your room needs? Step back and see the room as a whole. As interior designers know, viewing a room from a distance often makes it easy to see what needs to be replaced, added or removed; whether it’s the empty wall that needs to be filled, the wall that needs colour or the corner that’s crying out for a tall plant.
A sofa need not be right up against your wall. If you have the space, pull it out a metre or two and put a shelving unit or console on the wall instead. This not only offers up styling opportunities behind the sofa, but it breaks up the room and can make it feel cosier and more inviting.
If you’re big on colour, make sure you include some spots to rest the eye. Aim to include some empty space in a room, or balance your brights out with plenty of neutrals. Here, the owners have used white-washed walls to balance out all the brights.
You don’t need a wand, you need a mirror! Not only do they add light and depth to a room, but they can reflect views, visually expand a space, be the hero piece of a room… plus, of course, they’re practical too.