Arguably the most important space within a home, a living room plays host to an array of important functions, including providing a place for quiet relaxation and quality family time, as well as entertaining guests and friends. The key to creating a successful living room scheme lies in striking a balance between practicality and personality.

When deciding on how to decorate your living space it’s integral to consider what the area will be primarily used for and to select furniture styles accordingly; for example, an all-white colour scheme could prove tricky for those with a young family. Ideally, a living space should be a versatile zone that is both welcoming and accommodating, and invites relaxation.

This year, design takes on a bold new direction, colours are striking and eye-catching, and clean lines and statement pieces are leading furniture collections. We deconstruct three key looks and discover how to incorporate these into your home.

Coastal charm

Introducing prints to a predominantly white and neutral colour scheme will bring depth and a sense of character to the room. A nice touch here is the mirroring of the pineapple prints with the centrepiece fruit bowl on the coffee table.

There is so much more to coastal style than nautical stripes and anchor motifs. Whether creating a space inspired by Ibiza’s bohemian beach vibe or the laid-back luxe of the Hamptons, when curated carefully, coastal-chic interiors exude easy elegance and are a design concept that works all year round.

This living room demonstrates that a coastal look can be achieved with a grey and white palette and by working with materials like linen, wicker and seagrass. Enlisting hues from within the same colour group will help bring the look together.

Whitewashed walls provide an excellent backdrop and starting point, creating an instant sense of space and light, and are best complemented with colours that emulate sand, sea and sky. While blue and white may be the more obvious colour choices, shades of green, teal, lemongrass and pebble grey are also versatile options. 

Echoing colours within a space helps to create a sense of cohesion. This living space uses pops of yellow, teal and green to lift the neutral base tones, relying on different prints and fabrics to create visual points of difference throughout the room.

Introduce colours through fabrics, accent cushions, artwork and ornaments. Work in graphic prints and coloured glass vases to break up the monotony of a white and wood room. Embrace furniture in natural elements like wicker or rattan chairs, and complement with hemp or woven rugs and linen to capture the unfussy essence of coastal living.

This room set from Ethan Allen expertly mixes a range of fabrics, textures and hues to create a luxurious coastal look. The sleek white sofa and shiny ceramics bring elegance to the scheme, while the wicker chairs and woven rug add a relaxed touch.

To add a contemporary touch, marry a rustic style with more polished pieces. For example, place a rope detail lamp atop a marble side table or add cushions with a metallic sheen to a linen sofa. Ceramic printed vases or lamps also help to play up the contrast.

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A touch of blush

Cushions accent the theme on this living room set from Maisons du Monde. The wall split into dark and light tones is an easy and trending way to create a striking feature.

Soft pastel shades are on trend in both the fashion and interior world this year. Incredibly versatile, they offer an ambient alternative to white and neutral hues, and can be worked in to a white or neutral scheme for a gentle swathe of colour.

Soft furnishings such as curtains, rugs and cushions are the easiest way to integrate these tones to a room, however, it’s crucial to work with different textures and fabrics to add layers of depth to a blush or pastel colourway – suede, velvet and silk all add an air of opulence, while a fluffy lambs’ wool pillow or a cable-knit or faux-fur throw will lend a cosy touch.

Left: This room scheme by Marco Polo Fabrics demonstrates that dusty pink and gold are an opulent combination - adding tactile accents such as woven throws or rugs add depth and warmth. Right: For a slightly bolder approach, select a pink focal point. A modular sofa with clean lines, like this one upholstered by Jane Churchill, will keep the room feeling modern and fresh.

It’s also important to consider contrast to keep the scheme feeling modern. A wooden, concrete or glass coffee table will prevent the softer tones from being too feminine or sweet, and mirrors or metallic accents in either gold or silver bring a contemporary aspect to the room. Shades of pistachio, ecru, taupe and light grey are all serene pairings for lighter pinks, but if making a statement is more your style, offset pink hues against bolder colours such as teal, moss green, citrus yellow or a deep grey for big impact.

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Retro revival

This living room set by Jonathan Adler, available at IV in d3, combines graphic prints with distinct lines to dramatic effect. When decorating a monochrome room scheme a small hit of bright colour goes a long way – consider adding a pop of fuchsia, bright pink or aqua blue to lift the scheme.

Art Deco-inspired furnishings are experiencing a surge in popularity and bring unapologetic glamour to any living space. Bold colour, clear shapes and opulent details form the fundamentals of this decorating style and pack a powerful visual punch. Geometry plays a big part in Art Deco design, too, as strong, clean lines are a defining trait of this style.

This living room space by Interiors combines shades of silver, cream and teal for an arresting but calm scheme.

Colour is the key to pulling off a retro room and the bolder, the better. Opting for a feature wall in a vivid shade will anchor the scheme; deep blues, dark greys and rich greens work well and can be tempered with furniture in calming shades of white and neutral colours.

If an eye-catching chandelier is the defining feature of the room, keep other details pared-back. This soft grey and white scheme proves that less can be more, while subtle embellishments such as the stud details on the Ethan Allen sofa add a sense of elegance.

Play up Old Hollywood drama with different textures and patterns such as a geometric print rug and cushions or a sideboard in a lacquered finish. Placing a pair of armchairs on either side of an accent table or echoing the curve of a circular coffee table with a round mirror or rug will create a sense of symmetry and help to balance the room. Details are important too; wishbone chairs in rich wood stains, sunburst mirrors and dramatic chandeliers will bring the luxurious charm of old-Hollywood to the room.

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