These days we seem to want our houses bigger and our back yards smaller. But while having more space is appealing, bigger homes can present you will some challenges of their own. Successfully furnishing larger living spaces can be tricky.
Large living areas can be left feeling cold and empty if not styled and decorated correctly. So today we thought we would share some tips for those of you struggling to fill your space.
It’s important for you to create a functional space where you can feel truly comfortable. However, like anything in design getting the balance, layout and proportions right is key.
A good starting point is to think about how you will utilise a particular space. Instead of just looking at is as ‘one room’ start thinking about having two or three different zones. For example, having separate, designated areas in a large living room will make it feel more intimate and social.
You may want to create a cosy lounge-room with a reading nook in the corner and/or a bar in another? Or maybe you would like a dining area there instead? However you decide to separate your space make sure that the decor for all of the areas flow and work together cohesively.
Apart from promoting versatility to your space creating zones also adds visual impact by providing a dimensional appearance. There’s nothing worse than having a large living area with a couch on one end of the room and some seating at the other end. This creates dead space in the middle of the room.
When trying to create zones it is important for you to consider access points and ensuring good flow of movement. Some areas you may prefer a little more privacy while others will need continual easy access.
Getting a feel for how you want the space to be used will enable you to start planning your zones. It will get you thinking about furniture items. It will also ensure the space as a whole suits your needs without looking muddled, cold and empty.
Defining Zones Helps With Successfully Furnishing Larger Living Spaces
Once you have decided on what zones you would like to create you then need think about how to go about that. It’s important to incorporate different heights – keeping everything in a large space roughly the same height will make it look flat and one-dimensional.
Obviously with there being no walls there you will need to create divisions in order to allow each area to stand alone. You can do this in a number of different ways.
Layering rugs is one of the easiest and most successful ways to fill out your floor space and provide definition. Not only do they anchor a space but they also add detail and texture.
You can lay rugs under the sofa and coffee table, under your dining table and even under your bed. This prevents the furniture from seeming as though it’s floating aimlessly in the middle of the floor.
Always select the biggest size rug your budget and space will allow. If using multiple rugs in one space it’s important to ensure they work harmoniously together. Try to mix things up a little and not be too repetitive and matching. You could, for example, choose different shades of the same colour, or have one textured and one plain rug in the same hue. Just ensure they sit well together to keep a cohesive look to your space.
Another important thing to think about when choosing your rug is the material. Does it need to withstand lots of foot traffic or is it just to provide a little spot of luxury?
Using tall, leafy plants and trees indoors is a great way to help define zones. They fill dead space as well as provide sound reduction and health benefits.
You can fill lonely corners with tall, flourishing plants or strategically place along-side items of furniture to create definition and privacy.
Another option for sectioning off areas of large living spaces is to float your sofa appropriately and place something like a console table or daybed behind it. This marks a separation while still keeping a flow between the zones.
Open bookcases and screens are fantastic room dividers that don’t block light and can provide interest to zones either side of them.
L-shaped sofas are also great for dividing between your living and dining areas in a large space.
As none of these suggestions are structural, they’re perfect for allowing zones to be rearranged in the future to adapt to any lifestyle changes.
Keeping all furniture items from being pushed up against the walls will help to create a warm and inviting space. You don’t want guests to feel they need to shout across the room to communicate and be heard.
Talking of furniture, you need to pay attention to proportion when selecting items to fill your space. Think about the size and scale of the furniture, but also of the accessories and any patterns on fabrics or wallpaper. Getting this right is important!
Your room will look out of proportion, empty and unfinished if you choose furniture too small for your space. And lots of smaller items will tend to create the feeling of clutter. Having said that, doubling up on matching items such as placing two occasional chairs or two coffee tables side by side will create an illusion of size and fill a space nicely.
The same applies to patterns. Big, bold patterns such as wide stripes tend to work well in large areas. So, make sure you avoid small, repetitive patterns such as whimsical and delicate florals.
Fill out your space by layering your furniture items, ensuring you keep space for good flow and thoroughfare. Use foot-stools and occasional chairs in addition to your sofa/s and coffee table. And as mentioned before, you can double up on furniture items to keep things cohesive but improve scale.
If layering isn’t for you, then up-sizing big ticket items can help keep more a minimalist feel. Think deep and wide for your sofa and a big dining table with a large pendant light or two above. Consider choosing a four-seater sofa instead of a three-seater, or add built-in bookcases to a large, expansive wall. Or opt for some big floating shelves?
It’s so important to visualise the size your furniture will appear in the space, you want the scale of the pieces to match the scale of the room – so why not grab a measuring tape and mark it out.
Colour, Textures And Accessories
When using big, bold prints or colour it’s a good idea to tie them together with the room by repeating the fabric throughout. For example, use the same fabric on an ottoman as well as some scatter cushions on the sofa. This will make the room look unified and more visually appealing.
Also, varying the scale of textures and patterns will add visual interest and contrast to a large space. You could consider pairing a check with a large floral, and then add a texture or two in a complementary or contrasting hue.
Using well-chosen textures and colours for your soft furnishings will make a large space feel homely as well as have the added benefit of softening the often-echoey acoustics of a big open room.
When planning your colour scheme, remember that too many colours in a large room can look muddled and be just as overwhelming as in a small space. Try to keep things fairly neutral and use accent colours to enhance and define the areas of your room. If you do choose to paint a feature wall or two, locate a breaking point in the room such as a corner or architectural detail to incorporate the colour change.
It’s still important for your colour choices to be unified and look like they belong together. To do this, make sure to keep a common thread that runs throughout your various areas. Maybe reuse your accent wall colour in the accessories and fabrics throughout the rest of the room, or even repeat a pattern across the different zones.
Other Things To Consider
Choose art and mirrors that are proportionate to the size of your walls. Hanging smaller framed prints grouped together in an art gallery style is also an effective way to fill out your wall space successfully. The eye will view these items as a whole and it will keep them from getting lost in your space.
Create a vignette by a window or in a corner by grouping together an occasional chair and footstool with a side table and lamp.
Effective lighting is important to create a homely and cosy space. You will need to ensure you have enough bright task lighting for certain areas, whereas other areas will require a softer more ambient feel for the lighting.
Successfully furnishing larger living spaces doesn’t have to be difficult and costly. Take your time, select proportionate sized furniture and accessories that suit your lifestyle and budget and don’t be scared to mix the old with the new. Be patient and HAVE FUN!