Living Room Layout

Designer Candice Stanley bought the Christchurch abode she grew up in from her mum and dad eight years ago, and aftermost year completed a aloft renovation.

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The abode she shares with bedmate Tom and daughters Ivy (16 months) and Adelaide (seven weeks) is unrecognisable from how it was, and a lot of that is bottomward to the way Stanley has styled the active room.

“When Mum visits she says, ‘why did we never anticipate to position the appliance like this?’ That’s because best of us don’t anticipate the couch and chairs can be confused around.”

Rethinking the way your active allowance is abiding can accomplish a big aberration to how it looks and works, and the designer’s own home is proof. But Stanley (nee Van Dyk), who runs Mooi Design, says it helps to accept a starting point for any plan, and it’s not accessible to upload a assemblage of Pinterest photos of apartment you like.

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“If you adulation everything, you can end up with a absolute mish-mash of styles, so I say put the Pinterest being aside. Focus instead on how the allowance is used, and maybe one appropriate affair you have, like a painting.


Candice Stanley favours annular bolt ottomans that can bifold as coffee tables.

“One of my audience had a ample graffiti-style artwork, and we acclimated that as the starting point, acrimonious up colours and textures from the painting for the furnishings. Addition applicant had an aged cafe with beat edges. That collection the administration for the design.”

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Stanley is not absolutely a fan of continued bend sofas for entertaining. “A bend couch may be big abundant to bench six, but you will never accept that abounding bodies sitting in a row and about the corner. It’s not accessory to conversation. I anticipate it’s abundant bigger to mix your basement with a three-seater daybed and a brace of armchairs, or maybe two sofas and one chair.

“The advantage of accepting armchairs or casual chairs is that you can put them in advanced of a aperture that opens to the outdoors after blocking the appearance or the exit. And you can do article absorbing with the bolt on chairs, maybe application a admirable clover or a pattern. It’s additionally cheaper to reupholster a distinct armchair than a couch.

“Armchairs can be added rounded, with lower arms. They don’t feel too beefy in a allowance – if the abject is hardly animated aloft the floor, the attending is not so heavy, and there’s a bigger breeze through the space.”

Stanley says affairs the appliance abroad from the bank is key. “Don’t be abashed to do this. It doesn’t accomplish the amplitude feel smaller, rather the opposite. And it’s abundant added acceptable for absorbing and conversation. It can chargeless up amplitude for a animate behind, with a lamp.”

There’s a appeal from about every artist to not accomplish the TV the focal point in a active room. “Think instead of authoritative a broiler or a favourite allotment of art the focal point,” Stanley says.

“Put the TV on a low ball assemblage off to one side. It’s a abundant bigger examination position than aerial up on a wall. If there’s abundant in the budget, I like to accept a congenital assemblage off to one ancillary for the TV and storage.”

Mooi Design

Round coffee tables adverse square-edged appliance (left); armchairs can add a burst of colour to a aloof interior.

Natina Hellowell, of The Architecture Depot in Hamilton, says best of her audience opt for simple, aloof colours for their sofas. “We do a lot of neutrals, layering of textures, wools, beefy weaves, bouclé and altered fabrics, bringing in colour with cushions. In general, the attending is a lot added airy than alike aloof a few years ago back we acclimated to band up all the cushions and accord them a karate chop in the middle.

“Today, the attending is not about so structured or staged. And there’s a bigger accent on good-quality products, like sofas with calamus inners, and abiding you ability accomplish a cavity back you sit. But that’s what we love. If you accept bodies over, you appetite them to relax.”

Hellowell says this additionally applies to the way we decorate: “We’ve gone from affected plants and aggregate staged ‘just so’, with three vases aggregate on the coffee table. Now we accept bawdy pots with sticks or bracken out of the garden – things you aggregate forth the way. It’s still a funky, avant-garde look, but added natural.”


Natina Hellowell of The Architecture Depot says there’s a abundant added airy attending to home interiors today.

The designers additionally accept acceptable account on coffee and ancillary tables. Stanley is a fan of ample annular ottomans, which are multifunctional. They ability accept a slide-away coffee table over the top, or a tray. But they additionally assignment as a footstool, and they are abundant softer for adolescent children, who ability be arena in the room.

Hellowell brand annular coffee tables aggregate in altered sizes – “it break things up, visually. They attending acceptable together, but they can be afar to actualize ancillary tables beside sofas.”

Rugs are additionally invaluable decorating aids. “Rugs can ascertain a area aural an open-plan active space,” Stanley says. “And back allotment rugs, accomplish abiding they are big abundant to accept the advanced legs of your couch and chairs on the rug. This makes abiding aggregate is connected, visually.”

The artist says she is a big fan of alfresco rugs, and additionally alfresco fabrics on sofas because they are abundant easier to clean. “You can’t acquaint the aberration to attending at them, but they are invaluable if you accept children.”

Hellowell says rugs are addition way to accompany “depth and texture” into the allowance – a key allotment of the layering that transforms a room. She additionally brand to “go large”. “Back in the day it was 1.6m x 2.30m, and it sat in the average of the room. Now we like the rug to sit beneath all the furniture.”

Curtains, also, will add the finishing blow – or shutters and blinds. “Drapes can absolutely balmy up a allowance and change the accomplished look,” the artist says. “Window treatments are aloof as important as the flooring.”

Polyester fabrics will be added abiding than accustomed fabrics for a allowance that gets absolute sunlight – you can carbon the attending of linen with the affirmation of longevity.

Last, but never least, be abiding to absorb affection lighting into your room. If you accept downlights, accomplish abiding they are on a dimmer. But application attic and table lamps instead at night makes for a added relaxing, affectionate room.

Jane Ussher

This active allowance teams a baby daybed with two colourful casual chairs, an ottoman, annular coffee table and triangular ancillary table.

Interior artist Shelley Ferguson offers some tips on how to adept the neutrals trend. (Video aboriginal appear April 2020)

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