A beautiful living room is a pleasure to come home to. But if your living room is looking a little dull and uninviting, don't despair. With a few clever styling tricks, you can add much needed warmth to the space and bring it right up to date. Best of all, it won't take long or cost the earth. Interior stylist Julia Green shows you how with a stunning living room transformation.
"This living room in a heritage apartment building had lovely bones – high ceilings, plenty of natural light and a little nook with bay windows – but it felt cold and one-dimensional. Think bare, white-washed walls and furniture in various shades of grey. It was crying out for personality, layers and colour," says Julia.
For inspiration, Julia turned to images of the Dulux Wholeself palette – one of four palettes in the 2019 Dulux Colour Forecast. "With its muted pinks, greens and mauve-greys, there's something incredibly soothing and gentle about this palette," she says. "The colours feel fresh, modern and relaxing – the perfect choice for a living room.
"They also work beautifully with the greys of the sofa and rug, and the mid-tone timber coffee tables – existing pieces in the room that we decided to keep. It's important to work with what you've got when making over a room – this can really help keep costs down, particularly when you're talking big-ticket items such as sofas and flooring. For smaller pieces, such as side tables and storage, you'll often find that a lick of paint will bring them right up to date.
"To make a feature of the bay-window nook, we painted the walls a soft apricot shade – Dulux Wash&Wear in Pinkham and kept the remaining walls in their existing colour, Dulux Wash&Wear in Natural White™. Painting the walls in different colours this way is a great trick for creating individual zones in an open-plan room," says Julia.
"We chose an abstract artwork filled with soft shades of duck egg blue and deep pink, and picked up these colours in the smaller pieces of furniture and accessories to add depth and interest to the room. We freshened up the coffee tables by painting the top of the larger one with Dulux Aquanamel in New Life and the legs of the smaller one in Gold Dust. The fig-leaf planter was repainted in Dulux Aquanamel in Italian Clay to create a tone-on-tone effect with the soft apricot wall behind it.
"A cosy seating area is a must in a living area," she says. "To round this one off, we brought in a pair of curved-arm rattan and velvet armchairs. They add textural interest to the room and their round shape helps soften the harsh lines of the room's architecture. We finished off by livening up the plain sofa with a sumptuous throw and a medley of scatter cushions in different shapes and fabrics that pick up on the colours in the main artwork."
The result is a living room that's brimming with character and style. "This makeover is a great example of the power of colour," says Julia. "The brilliant thing about working with a palette like this is that Dulux has done all the hard work for you in choosing the perfect combinations – all you have to do is find a palette you love, and you'll be able to transform rooms in your own home in no time by working within these tonal confines."
Julia's styling tips:
Use the colours in an artwork as inspiration for your palette. And remember, statement bedding, or a rug can act as artwork in a bedroom too.
When choosing colour for a room, think about the mood you want to create. Here, we've chosen calm, nurturing hues for a relaxed, conversational feel.
Be aware that colours will look different throughout the day under different light conditions. To be sure it's a colour you love, hang an A4 swatch on the wall, or use sample pots to paint generous patches on the wall(s) and look at it at various times of the day and night. Given you will invest a lot of time choosing the right colour for your walls – only put a Dulux colour tint into a Dulux product, otherwise you are taking a gamble with the outcome if you mix and match tints and brands.
Start with an artwork: choose a piece that speaks to you and use it to inform the other colour choices in the space.
Look to add texture in creative ways: the second artwork we've chosen here (in the nook) is a highly textured oil painting, which adds another layer of depth to the room.
Liven up existing neutral pieces, such as the grey sofa here, with scatter cushions and throws in a mix of shapes and fabrics, such as wool, velvet and silk.
Go bold with greenery: a big fiddle leaf fig will make a statement in your living room and draw nature indoors.
Don't forget the little details: fresh flowers and a few vessels in different shapes and finishes on the coffee table add impact to your scheme.