In Design/Décor/ Featured Articles

The living room as luxury escape

Even a teeny-tiny touch of luxury can lift a mood, brighten a day, and soothe a tired soul. That’s especially true now, when having well-planned and handsome living spaces for relaxing, recharging, and retreating from the WFH environment may seem like the ultimate extravagance.

The most luxurious rooms are subtly layered, starting with the basics. Don’t ignore, for example, the flooring in the living room. Take a peek under old carpets; if you’re lucky, you find old wooden floorboards. If you’re really lucky, they will be made of oak, and—with a little repair, a sandblast, and a new finish—the floor will be a beautiful room anchor.

If new flooring is in the budget, there’s a wealth of options—from realistic-looking laminate and vinyl planks to porcelain, ceramic, and natural stone tiles. In chillier climates, see if you can’t squeeze in-floor heating into the budget.

You can add colour, pattern and graphic interest quickly and easily with a great rug. Keep in mind that a thick and opulent carpet will not only add cachet to a space, it will help absorb noise from other rooms—and other people. I love the lively design of the rugs from Thirty-Six Knots, shown at left.

Luxury is never, ever, messy. Unclutter groaning bookshelves, corners, and tables to give the room breathing space to expose period features.

Look up, and see if there’s a ceiling rose hidden under layers of emulsion paint. If there is, you can add instant elegance with a chandelier. There are so many styles of this classic fixture, from old-world cascades that drip and shimmer with light to more contemporary, angular designs that bring a sculptural element to a space. Go for softer, warmer bulbs, and put all fixtures on dimmer switches. If you lose, drop, or break a crystal—and you will at some point, trust me— don’t panic. It’s easy to buy replacement chandelier parts.

American lighting design company Schonbek is celebrating 150 years of making chandeliers that elevate elegant rooms. This beauty is from its Century line of fixtures.

Once the decor of your room is complete, do an audit of your furniture. Never, ever place form above function—there’s nothing luxurious about an uncomfortable sofa or chair. There are good options for both at chain decor stores, but do investigate local furniture makers, who can often do custom design at surprisingly affordable prices.

If you have an old piece with good bones but worn upholstery, consider getting it recovered. Ask about getting a feather wrap on foam cushions for extra luxe seating. For an even richer look, choose a softly textured velvet for the fabric. I love the dreamy cornflower blue of  the tufted velvet in the featured pic, which shows so nicely against walls done in the cozy beige of Farrow and Ball’s Jitney.

Auction houses and vintage stores are another good source of larger pieces.

Like all forms of design, the luxury aesthetic has become highly personal. So don’t fret about being prescriptive, because there’s no “right way” to achieve the look. Focus on pieces that delight your senses, awaken your interest, and make you experience a moment of indulgence, and your space will quickly feel like the lap of luxury.

This is a collaborative post. It was not reviewed prior to publication.


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