Giving the place you love most a whole new look needn’t mean spending thousands of dollars, masses of disruption, or a succession of tradies coming and going through your front door. Often a few simple tweaks, a little DIY and some savvy reorganisation can pay dividends. Here are 11 tips to transform your living room.
1. As it’s often the largest piece in a room, a new rug is an instant decor game-changer. There’s a vast selection of different styles, colours and sizes to suit every budget – just ensure your choice is big enough to extend under the front feet of your sofas and armchairs to avoid it looking like a lost island in a sea of floor.
2. For a Scandi-inspired update, drape a sheepskin hide – ethically sourced, of course – over a favourite armchair or sofa.
3. Clean those windows to make living spaces feel lighter and the outlook more vibrant.
4. Tired upholstered furniture can be given a lift with new fabric, but it’s usually only worth it if your existing piece is in good condition. For a quick fix, a beautiful throw placed across a worn arm or tucked around the seat can work wonders.
5. Repaint! sounds obvious, we know, but paint can fade or discolour over time: even redoing your walls in the same shade can make the whole room feel fresher. If time is limited, tackle the woodwork and buy a sample pot in your main colour to touch up scuffs.
6. Use floor and table lamps to create zones in an open-plan living area. “Lighting helps define intimate moods within a larger space,” says Vanessa Cribb from Indigo Jungle Interior Styling.
7. Consider laying floating timber floors. “Flooring alone can change the face of a home,” says interior designer Suzanne Gorman. “it brings the greatest rewards in terms of looks and increased value of the property.”
8. Make an open fireplace a central feature by adding a stone or tiled hearth. Dress up any brickwork by rendering it or simply painting it white, grey or black.
9. For a laid-back, Californian boho vibe, slightly overlap a number of patterned rugs or kilims. Three favourites from Byron-based Tigmi Trading: ‘You Can Never Tell’ Azilal rug, $1500; ‘Down by the River’ Boujad rug, $1600; and ‘Revolution’ Boucherouite rug, $550.
10. Change up your table lamps by investing in new shades or recovering existing ones. Sydney-based No Chintz is a treasure-trove of fabrics, and also makes customised lampshades.
11. Switch to feather-filled scatter cushions. “These keep their shape and look plump and generous,” says Jen Lawrie from Votre Monde Interior Design. New covers for existing cushions will also add zing.
12. Update your existing art collection. “I recommend taking down all your art Every few years,” says Suzanne Gorman. “Sell any pieces you don’t love anymore, rework anything that’s dated by its frame, and hang each piece in an entirely new space.”
13. Rearrange furniture so that chairs face each other or a stand-out view – it will give the room a whole new focus.
14. Play with the sense of space by pairing low-lying furniture pieces with tall floor lamps or full-length curtains, as seen in this airy living room by Porter Davis. “This creates a feeling of drama, height and luxe,” says Vanessa Cribb.
15. Painting your window frames a dark colour such as black, dark grey or navy not only looks amazing against pale walls, but also helps draw attention to a pretty view – especially effective with a green outlook.
16. The easiest way to revive tired timber furniture is by painting it. Sand off old varnish, undercoat with a specialist primer and add a couple of topcoats in a low-sheen finish. Off-white gives a softer look than brilliant white.
17. Use sheers to add texture and stature to windows. “They are a budget-savvy way to create movement and energy,” says Penny Duggan of Scally Duggan Styling.
18. Visually disguise the television by painting the wall behind it dark grey. If your flatscreen isn’t oversized, arrange it within a “gallery” of framed artworks.
19. Have Soaring ceilings? Take your cues from ateliers in Europe and paint them in a rich, traditional colour such as navyor bottle green.
20. Curate – and cull – display items. “Remove pieces that might have just ended up in a space over time,” says Penny. “You may find you eliminatemore in the warmer months to create a fresher feel, then add old favourites back in during cooler weather for a cosier effect.”
21. Use books to evoke a lived-in feel. Intersperse small colour-coded collections with objets d’art, use a small stack as a plinth for a standout piece or arrange beautiful hardbacks on a coffee table.