A few days ago I ran a session for a lovely group of women south of Sydney.  I didn’t take photos (didn’t want to be rude) but AnneMarie has sent me some she took ‘after’ and agreed to share them.

AnneMarie and her family have a lovely home – but there are a few things we could improve without even spending money.  The first was the furniture placement.  AnneMarie’s living room has two doors leading from it, and she had pushed the two sofas against the opposite walls to allow a large passageway through.  It’s a common thing to do, and always has the effect of making a room feel like  a passageway and not a natural seating area.

So firstly, we re-arranged it.  Furniture is better arranged around a focal point of the room.

Without a fireplace there was no obvious focal point.  So we selected the large floor-to-ceiling window as the focus.  The furniture was then arranged in a U-shape (the ideal seating shape) around this, with the largest sofa opposite, running across the longest wall (but not crammed right up against it).  I emphasised the focal point by adding lots of symmetry to it – placing her urns and so on either side of it.  We placed the rug and the coffee table in front of it.

The colour of the room is a really lovely pale lilac, but there are no echoes of the wall colour anywhere else.  So I added a lot more touches (cushion covers and books) in mauve and lilac to bring out the unusual colour (she chose a great colour that really works with the light).  AnneMarie is going to purchase some of these as she liked the effect.   I also raided her cupboards and brought out beautiful objects she had hidden away (such as a lovely Moroccan silver teapot) and used these to style it.  If you have ‘stuff’ then you may as well enjoy it!

Then we planned on some changes, that she will implement over time: the art over the sofa needs to be larger and in proportion.  The curtains when replaced, should be hung from the ceiling (not just about the window) to create nice vertical lines.  The new curtains will be trimmed at the centre so that when they are drawn, the focal point has some interest.  I recommended using more silvery grey, rather than cream, which will really complement the lilac.

Finally the built-in cabinet (in the first photo) would be better ending at counter height.  It would be less dominant in the room, and would provide a nice wide top to use.  Shelving that ends at door height when your ceilings aren’t high, just makes them feel lower.  It’s better to go all the way up, or stop at hip height.

It doesn’t cost the earth to make your home more lovely.

(sorry the photos are so small!)