A refreshed living space clears the way to unplug and unwind
WITH THE worst of winter now behind us, when a ray of sunlight streams in through my living room window I pause—eyes closed, soaking in the warmth—happy to be reminded that spring really is on its way.
Instead of counting down the days until the tulips are up, why not bring a bit of warmth into your living space with a room refresher? It doesn’t have to take a lot of time or money, and the results could just help you get over the last blast of cold until it’s time to dust off your sandals and head to the beach, or at least the backyard.
In the world of decor, there is a real shift toward more casual, comfortable living rooms, away from the uptight, upright rooms of the past. Families are more interested in spending time in rooms where everybody feels welcome. With the number of tablets, smartphones, laptops and gaming devices in today’s average home, feeling welcome might just be the tipping point to encourage more real “face-time” with family members and less individual screen time. Yes, technology is changing the way we interact, but the importance of together time will not change. So, as a mother (looking for more family time) and an interior decorator (looking for a comfortable and stylish space), I recently embarked on my own living room recharge.
In need of a boost
The “Before” photo shows my living room with the bare basics. Many people bring their room to this stage and then, because it’s livable, forget to pull it all together with colour, pattern and accessories. They don’t finish the space. The seating in my room was adequate and neutral enough to go with nearly any colour scheme. The wood floors were in great shape, but looked barren. The room felt overpowered by brown with the dark ottoman, leather chair and end table. This dull, lifeless space badly needed some finishing touches to bring it alive.
Warm and welcoming
The “After” photo shows my revived living room following a little injection of energy in the form of accents. Now this space offers a warm welcome, inviting you to curl up with one of the throw blankets and stay awhile. The walls are painted in a richer tone of a pleasant “greige”—not quite grey, not quite beige. Another end table was pulled out of storage and brought in for symmetry. It now sits between the sofa and bookshelf. A two-tone wool rug adds warmth, both visually and on the toes! Another added bonus of the rug is the sound absorption; the space no longer has an echo.
Switch it up
The custom slip-cover on the ottoman pulls in some of the colours from the artwork above the sofa; the pattern adds a layer of visual interest. A slip-cover is an easy modification with a huge impact. The reversible custom pillow covers—available in lots of patterns—are also removable. I simply re-used the existing cushions. As a bonus, these and the slip-cover can be changed up with the seasons to entirely transform the space again.
Simple touches like framing the artwork above the sofa and painting the tray in a deep red tone add richness to the space. Displaying personal items, like my family photographs and collections such as beach stones and wooden sculptures, adds dimension to the decor. Additionally, the bowl of fruit and flowers bring life to the space. The room has been revitalized and recharged.
Recharge your relationships
And speaking of recharging, now might be the perfect time to establish a brand new tradition of a “Family Power Down Day.” Wouldn’t it be nice to challenge your family members to pick one day a month to unplug and unwind together? Banish the electronics for the day. Talk, read, play board games, plan an outing, or play a new card game… 45s anyone? Who knows, maybe your family will enjoy your revitalizing family time so much, they’ll want to send the electronics into exile even more often. I am not really expecting my children (or my husband, for that matter) to suddenly cast aside laptops or smartphones, however it would be nice to have one day every now and then to simply focus on face-to-face family activities, wouldn’t it? I look forward to launching our new recharging tradition in my newly recharged living room.
Elements of a living room recharge
A living room refresher might be easier than you think. Follow these easy steps to pull it off in your own space.
- Wall colour:
- Sets the tone of the room.
- A warm “greige”—grey/beige—adds richness but is neutral enough to let the fabric patterns and artwork take centre stage.
- Floor covering:
- Hardwood can feel cold and create an echo.
- A wool rug adds warmth and absorbs sound.
- Choose a rug that is large enough to anchor your space. All too often people choose a rug that is too small for the space.
- Pull in colours from existing artwork.
- Mix patterns together. Don’t be afraid to use stripes with florals and circles.
- Vary the size of the patterns, but keep them in the same colour scheme to unify the diversity.
- Use custom slipcovers and pillow covers as is an easy way to update.
- Personal items:
- Add in items from your own personal collections.
- Family photos make the room uniquely yours.
- Stack books that you enjoyed reading or aspire to read on tables and trays.
- Items collected on trips bring back memories and are great conversation starters. Display them on top of your stacked books or on shelves.
- Finishing touches:
- Frame artwork to make it look more substantial and add a sense of importance to the art.
- Paint accents, like a tray, to unify and refresh the look. This can be done with frames, bowls, or sculptures as well.
- Add glass pieces like a bowl and vase or a mirror to add some reflective properties and sparkle to the space.
- Include a vase of flowers or a bowl of fresh fruit to bring life to the space.
Kimberley Eddy owns Evolve Interior Decorating