8 interior secrets for styling your living room like a pro

Redesigning an entire room can be daunting a task, but with the help of these handy hints you’ll be ready to create a beautiful interior with confidence


8 interior secrets for styling your living room like a pro

1. The starting point

When designing a space, you need a starting point. Select one element in your chosen room – whether it be an amazing sofa or piece of furniture, a stunning print or ceramic work, a rug, a favourite fabric or cushion – and use its colours and style as the basis for your decorative scheme. Once you have chosen this item, the room’s style and colour palette should start to fall into place.

2. Soften the lines

Most rooms are either square or rectangular. To soften these hard lines it is a good idea to add one or two rounded shapes – a circular rug, print or artwork or perhaps a clock, mirror or pendant lights. Here a large round coffee table, upholstered stool and curvaceous chair work to soften the space and create a feeling of calm and repose.

3. Introduce an accent colour

When introducing an accent colour to a room, it is good practice to incorporate the shade in at least three places and ideally at three different levels. For example, the beautiful shell pink on the wall of this living area is repeated on the stool, chair and vase. Elements of gold – on the coffee table, cushion, lamp and round wall decorations – also work in harmony, bringing an understated glamour.


4. Layer with lighting

Lighting can make or break a room so it is vital to get it right. While the majority of homes have recessed down-lights as the main source of lighting, it is important to have a layered effect to help create atmosphere. Clustered pendant lights and floor and table lamps are very effective in this regard. It is not uncommon to have three or four light sources in a living space (more if it is open plan).

Cluster lighting over kitchen islands has been popular for a while, but groupings of pendants are also now making an appearance in living rooms, especially in a corner or close to a reading chair, as pictured here. Keep in mind your chosen scheme and style when selecting lighting fixtures so that they complement and, in fact, enhance your overall vision for the space.

5. Include fresh or faux foliage

A room is not complete without a plant or two to bring it to life. Plants are a great tool for introducing texture, too. If you are not green-fingered, there are some fabulous faux-foliage options available which will last for years. The palm in this room adds texture at a useful height, looks wonderful against the pink wall and cleverly mirrors the print behind it.

6. Sofa size is key

The largest, and generally the most expensive, item in a living room is the sofa. As it is generally an investment piece that will be with you for years, it is important to select an enduring shape and colour. Before purchasing, consider how many people you regularly need to seat, who will be using it and how they like to use it. This will determine the size, colour and fabric required.


7. Use a rug to create ‘zones’ 

Rugs are great for delineating separate zones within a space (especially in an open-plan living area) – the key is getting the size right. If in doubt, always go bigger; there is nothing worse than having a three-seater sofa with a small rug in front of it, as the proportions look all wrong. To stop a rug ‘floating’ in a room, consider putting the front sofa legs or chair legs on the rug to ‘ground’ it.

8. Get expert guidance 

Another great way to create a room you’ll love – whether you’re redecorating, have recently moved house, or just have a few questions about what would look good where – is to book a session with the interior decorating team at Freedom. They’ll come to your home and help you find inspiring ways to make the most of your space (and keep to the budget).

Get the look

1 Hinterland ceiling pendant cluster of five, $499. 2 Fox Deco statue, $14.95. 3 California Hills print, $349. 4 Gilt cushion 50x50cm in gold, $64.95. 5 Divina cushion, $64.95. 6 Arnico wall decor 37cm in gold, $99. 7 Sanctuary chair, $799. 8 Neema table lamp, $89. All available instore or online at

Love your look

Whether you’re moving in, redecorating or just have a few questions about what goes where, our team of Freedom interior decorators can come to your home and help you find fresh, inspiring ways to make the most of your space – as well as your budget. Our interior decorators also offer a free in-home consultation for stylish custom-made drapery and blinds. Our extensive range includes those from the best fabric houses, and your local decorator can provide advice on colour, design and materials to suit your home or office. Transform your home from a place you live in to a place you love!

To book an appointment with the Decorator Service, go to

Words by: Vanessa Nouwens.

Home experts are just a click away