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New living rooms can come with a substantial price tag. That’s why these industry professionals have shared their best tips on how to make a big difference, for the best value.

Living room renovation industry professionals

Janine Hendry
Director
Guild of Objects

Camilla Molders
Creative Interior Designer
Camilla Molders Design

Sally Bevan
Founder
Milray Park

We asked them:

I want my living room to feel spacious and welcoming, where do I start?

Sally Bevan

The basics! The first thing to do is to trim everything back to the essentials - seating, somewhere to put your cup of tea, and lighting (natural and electric light sources).

This will require you to strip away anything that isn't functional and assess what you need to prioritise in your space. This will maximise the feeling of spaciousness and help inform decisions like powerpoint positioning.

The next step (and the best way) to create a welcoming feeling is using texture. Think soft furnishings, rugs, throw pillows, throws, and anything that adds contrast to finishes.

For example, even something as small as a trio of different coloured glass vases on the coffee table will help you create an interest against any textile in the space. Most importantly, play around and have fun!

Janine Hendry

Every design project should start with decluttering. When decorating your living room, start by removing everything that you no longer love.

From there, you can set about creating a room that is both spacious and welcoming. A welcoming room is one that is open, inviting and meets the desired function.

Think about the overall theme of your living room and how this ties in with the rest of your home. You can use texture or colour as well as furniture style to tie all the elements together.

Start the process by choosing your hero piece, this is often the most expensive piece too! This can be your sofa, artwork or perhaps storage.

Try and avoid the focal point of the room being the TV. If your hero piece is something other than your sofa, look to make this the focal point instead. Also try to avoid being too “matchy”, have fun and don’t be scared of using colour!

Camilla Molders

A comfortable sofa with chairs on either side makes for easy conversation. Add lamps on side tables for a cosy glow and a rug underfoot to connect all your living room pieces together.

How do I choose a colour scheme or materials that I know I'll still love in 10 years’ time?

Janine Hendry

Ten years can seem like a long time in the design world. The biggest factor in future proofing our home lies in the changing needs of our family as they grow.

Like you, we all worry about whether our homes will survive these changes. What's the key? It is as simple as making sure you don’t slavishly follow trends.

Try to avoid going into a furniture showroom and buying a job lot. Take your time, great design evolves. Think about what you really love, look specifically at furniture styles, do you love mid-century modern? Victoriana? Minimalism. Use that as a starting point.

You don’t have to ascribe to this style but consider what it is you love about the style, then use that element to inform your design taste. Do you love the type of timber, the style of the furniture legs, the lightness, the heaviness? The colour?

By understanding the style that you love you won’t be tied to a contemporary style or colour trend that is likely to change. You can add to your room when you find items that have a similar look and feel but may or may not come from the same era. History is a great informant of fantastic design.

Camilla Molders

Avoid trends and surround yourself with pieces you love. I choose neutral colours for the base pieces and introduce colour in art, rugs, & scatter cushions that are more easily interchangeable when I’m looking for a change.

Sally Bevan

When it comes to longevity, a focus on quality materials is always the go. Additionally, selecting colours and materials that can stand the test of time and trends usually means doubling down on the classics.

That way, you can refresh styling accessories as seasonally as you would like; complementing your base colour palette, while keeping things on trend and interesting, in a sustainable way.

I really want these changes to increase the value of my home, but I want to be savvy. What can I do that will make a difference, but won't cost a fortune?

Janine Hendry

Creating beautiful spaces doesn’t need to cost a fortune. The most efficient way to increase value is to declutter and remove all the stuff that you don’t need.

Next, paint is great. Use a similar colourway throughout your home to create a feeling of spaciousness. As a side note, if you are living in a smaller home, make sure that your furniture is raised off the ground. From there add a bit of drama by wallpapering a feature wall or walls.

This can be subtle or quite dramatic. Don't forget to tie the colourway of your wallpaper into your soft furnishings.

Camilla Molders

Don’t skimp on cabinetry. Good quality cabinetry will always have a longer lifespan than a cheap flat pack...You get what you pay for.

Sally Bevan

The first thing to consider is functionality. It is easy to deploy a large budget on expensive materials to give that luxurious look and feel. However, if the space doesn't feel conducive to easy everyday living, the value simply won't be there.

A smart, functional space is in fact, the most important value-creating feature that property viewers will look for. After that, there are many savvy and luxe-look tricks that renovators can use to 'get the look for less'.

For example, if the budget doesn't stretch to full marble benchtops, you could create a more luxurious feeling by using a smaller marble slab for a beautiful splashback. This is also a great budget saving option to maximise impact being at viewer eyeline.

Finally, organising your budget so that you’ll have enough to splurge on the little details (drawer handles, tap wear) will also help to increase the value for any property viewer (and hopefully, buyer)!

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