Interior design expert and The Block judge Darren Palmer is back with a new book, Home Space, packed with inspiration to help you create a home you love to live in, whether you’re a family, a couple or a single inner-city dweller. In this sneak preview he shares how to make over a living room four ways – keeping just the sofa and coffee table and swapping all the smaller elements, from art to rugs, lighting and decor. Shop Temple & Webster’s latest collection for a spring room refresh here.
One room, two sofas, one coffee table. Here are four different takes on one simple room, answering four separate briefs. It may be the case that some of these rooms work better than others, but this just shows that you can create any number of looks with little more than a new rug, a change of occasional furniture, new lamps, soft furnishings and décor.
This look is all about simplicity and layers, but keeping things comfortable and low fuss. Soft furnishings are kept to a comfortable minimum, colours being used sparingly to add interest but not huge amounts of drama. Contrast comes in the form of the shapes and textures used in the rug and the pattern of the side tables, with large scale, concrete-look lamps being good anchors for the strong, masculine look. As far as the palette goes, there’s grey, tan leather, blue, charcoal and warm gold. The colour palette is pure and simple, which works well with the low-fuss style of a masculine décor style. The rug is a huge impact piece but fits into the subtle colour scheme – the perfect base from which to build the room, but it’s not an overwhelming statement.
This feminine look may be playing to gender stereotypes with its uber-pink prettiness, but the exercise is to demonstrate how different you can make a room look. Firstly, scale; the side tables and lamps are about 80 per cent smaller than in the masculine look, which makes the sofa and coffee table look larger and the room cosier. The artworks’ pinks and purples work in with the pastel colour scheme and the rug is again the base from which to build the room – here, it’s bright and ambient in pattern. Bright red natives light up the room and tie in with the artworks. The cushions are all linen to match the sofa, and in two sizes and colours they skate the line between colour coordination and matchy-matchy. Pinks are also found in the metallics used in this scheme; where gold was used in the masculine scheme, here we have copper.
This look is all about everything blending gently for a relaxed feeling. The palette is a simple blend of white linen, bleached wood and simple textures such as wood grain or basket weaves. There’s stone for textural contrast but it’s in the same colour as the sofa, which reduces the stone’s visual impact. Timber log textured lamps are in the same warm silver colour as the bleached oak sidetables; wool and coral flesh out the simple scheme which has been designed for minimal contrast but with enough interest to make the room work. Even though it contains quite a lot of white, this would make a suitable family scheme. The linen couch and cushion covers are removable, so the occasional mishap can be easily rectified. Storage baskets sit inside the side tables, allowing toys or books to be easily swept out of sight and the white, hinge-topped box gives a place for toys or blankets to live, and also makes good overflow guest seating.
High contrast and understated glamour is the brief of this look, with gold and blue adding a big pop of colour to the grey and white room. There’s a feminine bent to it, but elements would appeal to both men and women. There’s contrast and colour in every inclusion – the blue of the dip-dyed drapes, in the cushions as well as the huge hydrangea arrangement, and visual interest occurs in both the ombré effect of the baskets under the coffee table and the geometric pattern in the oversized sidetables. Elegance and glamour are seen in the lustre of the gold lamps, while the mustard in the cushions works in nicely with the mirror above. Interestingly, the rug is one of the more sedate elements in the space. Gold décor items, succulents and scented candles and diffusers finish off this sweet looking and fragrant space.