Add panache to your sitting room

I have just completed a sitting room for a client who wanted to transform their room from a bland space into a sophisticated room for adults (or children under supervision!).

Here are some tips for how you can give your sitting room a revamp and add some panache:

1. Wall colour - Don't be a slave to trends, fads or interior design books/websites when choosing a colour scheme. Greys are currently on trend as are very dark walls (and ceilings) but that is no reason to choose these. Anyway, there may be an item in your room that will dictate the colour scheme e.g. a rug, curtains, artwork etc. My client had a pair of new floral greeny-blue (sort of duck egg) curtains that she wanted to use so we chose Farrow & Ball 'White Tie'  for three walls and a feature wall of Farrow & Ball 'Green Blue' . I must admit I'm not a fan of feature walls but this one worked well mainly because most of the feature wall was taken up with shelving and a large over-mantle mirror.

2. Window dressing - Don't neglect the windows.  If you have beautiful old sash windows then show them off to their best. Roman blinds work well as they expose the windows in all their glory and there's the added bonus of gaining more light in the room as curtains can restrict the light.  I had my client's curtains made into three Roman blinds and they look amazing as the windows are stunning Victorian sashes.  If you go down the curtain route, please hang full-length curtains and not short ones; they look so much nicer and give a feeling of luxury.

3. Lighting - It's the most important thing in a room and can make or break it. Think in terms of three levels of lighting - general (overhead lighting), atmosphere (table or floor lamps) and detail (uplighters or downlighters highlighting artwork for example). If you have a high ceiling and a ceiling rose as my client does, hang a gorgeous large chandelier - don't hang it too high though. The one my client bought is from India Jane. Hang the chandelier at a height where it can be seen in all its glory without having to strain your neck. Table lamps are an absolute necessity; you can't have too many.  I have six in my sitting room!  I hardly ever use my chandelier preferring to turn on all the table lamps to create shadow and atmosphere.  Oh, and always have your overhead lights on dimmers! 

4. Doors and cupboards - Upgrade and refresh these with new handles. You can go funky or traditional, metal, glass, ceramic - the world's your oyster as there's so much choice these days. Have some fun!

5. Flooring - Add a rug or rugs to the room as this can add interest and also they can "ground" the room by bringing colour from the blinds/curtains or cushions down to the floor level.  My client already had two plain blue/green rugs so wanted to retain these. However a rug with a pattern would have worked equally well.

5. Mirrors - I can't stress enough how important mirrors are as they reflect light and create wall features. If you have a large wall space and no suitable artwork, stick a large mirror on it.  Over a fireplace is a natural place to hang a gorgeous mirror especially if you have a chandelier that reflects in the mirror.

6. Styling with accessories - This is the part I enjoy most but can put others in a spin. I guess that's why I'm an interior decorator/stylist and they aren't!   I love items that have character, texture and a story behind them.  Whatever you do, buy items that you really love and group them on a shelf, table or wall so that the eye is drawn to them rather than dot them everywhere. 

Here are some before and after photos of my client's sitting room.   It's a difficult room as the door opens in the middle of the room opposite the fireplace so you can't use the fireplace as the focal point for the furniture. I recommended reversing the door and this opened up the room better. The transformation isn't quite complete as they still have to have to add a coffee table - I think coffee tables are one of the most difficult items to source, don't you? There are so many awful ones around!  They also still need to have slate laid in the hearth.  

Here are the Before photos.

And here's the room transformed into a sophisticated space with plenty of panache!

Seeking style inspiration?

If you’re working on your own home decorating project and looking for some inspiration, please get in touch and see how I can help. 

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