living room ideas

A friend of mine, Amanda and her husband Gavin, got in touch to ask for my help in redecorating their living room / diner in their new home. The property was a 60s style semi that had been recently extended to create a large living room and diner.

On my first consultation with the couple and survey of the property I spent time understanding what the vibe was that they wanted to create with the room, what its function was and what any restrictions were around designing the room. I won't go into the whole process as I could write a whole blog on it, but my general lead from clients is the type of feeling they want a room to have when finished. The atmosphere and vibe a room creates and the joy it brings the owners is what drives me! As they spoke I scribbled notes...

notes for interior design
interior designer's basic survey sketch

From this I started to get an understanding of the brief. 


A family space

Place to watch TV

Hang out





A need for storage

Very low hanging lighting (meaning no hanging pendants)

Need to incorporate existing furniture (leather sofas, dining table, sideboard and dining chairs)

Want room to feel as one. Zoned, but all within same scheme. 



Anything too dark

Statement pieces that are permanent (but statement is ok in small measure on soft furnishings)



My main concern was the mix of different woods that exist within the room. I plan to even out the different finishes by keeping the lighter wood to a minimum and painting any storage in the same colour as the new wall colour in order to minimise the different finishes and create a more cohesive look. 



"Amanda and Gavin want a family space that can work as a main living and eating area, but also double up as an entertainment space. The scheme should create a feeling of cosiness and warmth, maximising on the natural lighting that exists in the room. Amanda and Gavin want a feeling of different zones (eating and living) but have a scheme that works throughout. Extra storage needs to be cerated to store CDs, DVDs and random knick knacks and existing furniture should be used to create a complimentary scheme."

Here's what the property looks like now. The space has huge potential and is a really great space to work with due to loads of natural lighting and a great shape. The couple also have a few really interesting pieces such as the tall vases, the original dining table and sideboard and the flooring is great!

After our chat I set about doing a very basic room survey and furniture layout to incorporate a pair of new brown leather sofas that they were getting.

From this initial chat a concept came to my mind which was largely based on the words that the couple used when describing the feeling they wanted the room to have. The concept doesn't actually include any of the finished or decor elements, it's all just about atmosphere and abstract influences.

sarah akwisombe interior design concept

We also worked backwards a little bit, as they already knew what colour their sofas were so I needed to look at a colour scheme that would compliment them and the flooring. 

We narrowed down the paint choices to Zoffany's Taupe, Suede and Mondo. These were all a deep taupe but in varying tones. Due to budget restraints and in order to save costs we decided not to go for the designer paint on this occasion but to find a matched shade from Valspar, which worked out at about half of the price of the Zoffany paint. I left my paint chart with Gavin and Amanda to go and get testers while I went home to work on the full scheme idea and do some sketching in order to get my ideas straight.  

I then created a scheme moodboard to show the colours and finishes that I would be implementing in the room. Also I've put together a secret Pinterest board where we can bounce ideas around between us and comment on what we do / don't like. 

neutral living room scheme

After just a few days, the couple have already cracked on with buying paint testers and have got them up on the walls in different areas around the room as I suggested, to see the difference that the light makes to the shade. I do love a client who gets to work straight away! These pictures really show how much a colour can change under different lighting. After sending me these images we all unanimously chose to go with the lighter shade. 

Now they are setting about painting the entire room and starting to source the different furnishings and accessories that will dress the scheme. As this project was more of a consultation I won't be sourcing every piece myself but instead will give Amanda and Gavin guidance on which pieces I think might work in the room.

The dining table and sideboard have gone off to be French polished, so it's all go!

It looks like this one will be a pretty fast turnaround so we may have some finished images within the next few weeks. Stay tuned for updates!

S x

Living RoomSarah Akwisombe