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How to take your living areas to the next level

By Rachel Wallace

If first impressions matter to you, make an impact with these living room style tips from interior designer Catherine Heraghty.

How to harness natural light

Catherine states your window dressings can be the most impactful element of a room, as they control the light and therefore the mood of the space.

If privacy isn’t a concern for your living area, Catherine recommends a window covering that allows as much of the outdoors in as possible. You’ll want to take full advantage of your living room aspect.

To improve the ‘flow’ of the room she also recommends getting a window covering in a similar shade to your wall paint.

To help you understand the particular nuances of your property and its light and privacy needs, it’s important to get expert advice to make sure all the considerations are covered – Luxaflex offers free in-home measure and consultation with design experts to ensure no stone is left unturned.

Find blinds for your living space that are practical and stylish, like the Luxaflex® Duette® Shades, used here in a second living area that doubles as a study nook.

“Get a sample, put it up against the natural light and then put it against the wall so you can see which colour works best. You want it to be the same to create a nice seamless flow,” she says.

If you need more privacy, consider a sheer but versatile shade like Luxaflex® Silhouette® Shadings.

“A window treatment in the living room needs to be versatile. For instance, you’ll want ample light but also be able to watch TV during the day without glare, then you’ll also want and privacy and security at night time,” Catherine notes.

Ideas to style your living room

If you’re starting from scratch, start by creating a ‘neutral foundation’ of big-ticket items, Catherine says. Fundamental items can include your couch, coffee table, rug, window coverings and so on. Think large items that are likely to cost more and last longer.

“Have neutral fabrics and maybe timbers to create a neutral foundation. Then you can layer it with styling pieces, like artwork and cushions and a throw, and maybe some accessories on your coffee table and entertainment unit,” Catherine explains.

When picking a colour palette, draw from your artwork.

When it comes to choosing a colour palette, Catherine adds you would generally pull this from your wall art.

“Our advice to clients is always to go for an artwork you connect with, whether that’s beach photography or colourful abstract paintings. If you connect with it, you’ll likely still love it in ten years’ time,” she urges.

“Then choose the right size and orientation for each wall. For instance, if you’ve got a really wide wall, don’t put a small, portrait piece right in the middle.”

How to organise your accessories

Another way to enhance your living space is by keeping it tidy and organised. Keep surfaces clear and most items stored.

“Keep accessories to a minimum,” Catherine says. “Just because there’s a surface there, doesn’t mean you need to put something on it. Sometimes negative space is a good thing because it gives you some relief from whatever else is going on in the room.”

If you do have decor on your surfaces, Catherine recommends limiting it to a tray as a functional and easy solution.

“Your coffee table is often the centre of the room, so your eye is naturally drawn to it and it becomes a focal point,” she begins. “Put a tray on the coffee table with some greenery, some coasters, and perhaps some other beautiful vessels. It’s a go-to combination we do time after time because you’re layering a whole bunch of elements together, but it’s practical because it’s so easy to remove. If you’re having a bunch of kids coming over, for example, you can just pick it up and move it to the side and you don’t have to worry.”

Tips to clean your living room

A ‘next level’ living room is never going to live up to its styling if it can’t be kept clean and tidy.

Keep surfaces clear and accessories organised to make a living space sing.

This is easier said than done, especially if you have kids and pets in your home. Consider this when buying any new furniture or items. For instance, can your curtains or shades be easily washed or wiped down? Does your couch need a removable, washable cover? Is a white rug really the way to go?

If you’re already set up with your furniture, Catherine says you often can’t go wrong with a damp cloth for cleaning.

“I use Koh, a natural multipurpose cleaner for most things, but a damp cloth is often all you need. Just avoid harsh chemicals because you don’t want to damage the timber or material,” she adds.

All pictures: Nat Spadavecchia


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