For our second blog post with Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, we asked him about his tips on dressing the living room for Autumn, and he answers another viewer question from Littlewoods Live, which took place on the Littlewoods Facebook page on the 13th June…
Tell us a bit about designing your range with Littlewoods this season.
One of the joys of being a designer for Littlewoods is that I know that my range is so easily and affordably available – it’s not something you need to buy upfront, you can look at paying it off over the Winter which I think is a wonderful facility. It’s a really scary, cold world out there at the moment; it’s really important that our homes feel safe and comfortable and feels like a reflection of us. So to use the Littlewoods facility to be able to create that new room shouldn’t be discounted at all. These are important things – as a world we do have to have safe places to recharge our batteries every now and again.
What key changes can be made to the living room to really take it from summer to autumn?
Changing seasons means we’ll often change the focus of a room so during the summer we also want to be communicating with the outdoors a lot. Furniture often tends to be pointing towards windows or patio doors. Obviously by winter you’re going to want to be able to cosy up and snuggle down, and get everything orientated back towards to fireplace or the television. I think one of the most important things you can ever do in an interior in autumn is make sure you’ve got decent curtains. Properly made really lush curtains like the ones I’ve got in my range, they’re a fabulous way of cutting down your heating bills. There’s something wonderfully cosy and comforting about the difference that lush curtains make to the acoustic or an interior and as summer become autumn we want that very comfortable, very indulgent acoustic to come back into our space so think deep pile rugs, plenty of cushions and lovely snuggly curtains
With a living/dining room what’s the best way of creating two separate areas without ruining the overall flow and style of the room?
The best thing to do is think in terms of zones, and an ideal way of doing it is using the floor. Use two rugs to designate sitting space and dining space. But one of the important things that often people get wrong is your dining table. Don’t keep it separate and completely unfurnished, just because occasionally you use it to eat on. Use it as a surface on which to display things, it’s very important that it should be part of your living room because it’s obviously makes a very visual impact. One thing you can do if it’s possible is to push your dining table back against the wall so it becomes more of a console table put a couple of lamps and books on it, maybe put a vase on it then hang a mirror above it. It means that when you’ve got people coming round or when you want to eat off it, just pull it away from the wall slightly, but it’s a very classic piece of Georgian decorating which can be very successfully updated for the 21st Century.
What’s the best way of creating a warm and cosy atmosphere without making the room look too dark by filling it with dark furniture?
The secret is to use the light reflective possibilities of things like mirrors. Even framed prints with a piece of glass in them will bounce a bit of light back and give an augmented feeling of space. But then why not go a little bit further and use furniture from my Scaramouche collection which is actually mirrored, or we have the black lacquered version as well. If you have a Scaramouche table with a lamp on it, the light shining down onto the surface is very much amplified and reflected back. But look at things like using the Scaramouche furniture in the bronzed colour which will warm up the light of the room and will give you a really fabulously autumnal glow and will absolutely be the perfect environment for opening a cold bottle of chardonnay.
With the living room in mind, what is your favourite item from the new range?
I’m very pleased with the quality of the rugs that we’ve created. They’re wool, they’re knotted, and I think they’ve got a real sense of antique of the future to them. There’s nothing more lovely than going into an autumn living room with candles lit, some gorgeous room fragrance happening in the background, soft music, ice cold wine in the ice bucket and a really lovely comfortable rug in front of the chimney breast. You can just kick your shoes off and enjoy the sensual experience of having your tired, overworked feet playing around with the pile like a cat does. Give yourself ‘happy paws’ with one of my lovely luxurious rugs.
Littlewoods Live viewer question:
Alison Jones: I want some advice with regards to lighting in my lounge. Cannot stand stark bright lighting
Stark lighting I think is the absolute bane of the way we decorate in this country. There’s a very simple equation with getting lighting right and that’s to always try to light the corners rather than the middle. So use as many table lamps as you can and use them as a way of creating pools of light. Now what you can do is use a standing lamp in one instance, which gives a much more direct light for reading, but the secret is that more is more with lighting but make sure you’re keeping the light itself quite low and seductive and very voluptuous. One light in the middle of the space, even a chandelier in the middle of the space is no good, I personally always have a dimmer switch on a chandelier to make sure they’re not too bright. And if you keep the dim quite low you get an almost candle lit sense to them.