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Are you sitting comfortably? Interior design tips for your living room

With the exception of the bedroom, you probably spend more time in your sitting room than any other room of the house.

So, it needs to be a place that satisfies your practical needs as well as your senses. Increasingly, sitting rooms have to multitask as places where we relax, interact with technology, entertain guests, eat and sometimes even sleep.

These are hard-working spaces, and they need to be the proverbial swan on water – calm and collected on the surface and working hard ‘underneath’.

Choosing the right seating

The best place to start is with the seating, as this is the largest item in the room, the most frequently used, and will inform the style and colour scheme of the rest of the space.

The good news is that modern-day sofa beds are now stylish pieces of furniture, which stand up to sartorial scrutiny in their own right, as well as delivering an extra place to sleep. Come the festive season, this will almost certainly prove to be a wise move.

Unless you are quite brave with colour and comfortable with large expanses of it, I would suggest opting for a neutral colour for the sofa, and then building in colour around it. Remember that you can be brave with texture too – velvet is a big trend and says luxury whatever colour it is, and the modern-day engineered velvets are also refreshingly easy care.

Creating your wider living space

Once you have the key piece in place, start building around it. Think strategically – extra armchairs can eat up space, so how about an ottoman or two instead? They double up as seats, tables and often storage as well.

If you want a coffee table choose one with a lower shelf or extra storage, look for side tables that can swing round over the sofa arm to offer surfaces to eat, drink or work from. Make your sitting room work hard but then layer those pieces with softness and colour in the form of cushions, throws and decorative accessories.

Use lighting to define areas and to create ‘rooms within rooms’, placing more emphasis upon subtle and flattering side lights than overhead pendants. Rugs also help to define areas as well as adding instant warmth and character, and mirrors can be hugely effective in creating a sense of space and light in what are often quite compact spaces – just avoid hanging them where they directly face a seating area, as this can be quite off putting, especially if you are eating.

Lastly, remember all your senses and make use of scented candles and room diffusers to add instant mood and character – nothing creates a feeling like a favourite scent.

Most importantly, create a space that you don’t want to leave and can’t wait to get back to. After all, it’s your home.


At Alison at Home, our homeware range delivers truly beautiful furniture and accessories at affordable prices.