Living Room Planning Part Two; Multiple Focal Points
Bravery. A definite requirement when designing a room that is slightly out-with your comfort zone.
As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been used to decorating on a slightly smaller scale, in properties that didn’t really need to be grand in any way. Number 69, is a different kind of girl though. She has the bones of a duchess, deserving of the most lavish of treatments and draped in the finest of fabrics. A duchess who has a penchant for the luxurious, but who doesn’t mind finding it in TK Maxx.
If you haven’t already caught up with my last post ‘Living Room Planning; Part One’, best do it now, otherwise some of what is to follow might not make any sense. You can find it here.
How I Got Brave
Simple answer; by making mistakes. Yes, I did it again.
I knew that I wanted to go grey in this room and I knew that I wanted the room to make a statement. Having sampled a LOT of different greys, I finally settled on one that looked dark-ish, but not too overpowering. I went on to paint the entire room.
It looked shit. It wasn’t that it cast a tone, or felt oppressive… it just looked bland. In every light! Not only was there no drama, there was no soul, nor did I feel very inspired. Again
So, going back to the tester cards, and learning from my earlier bedroom fuck-up, I bit the bullet and went for the darker of my choices…
sampled it, loved it, painted it.
What a difference!! Painting the walls, woodwork and panelling in the darker shade blends in the architectural features, and makes the room feel even bigger. Don’t get me wrong, I want people to see the detail in the woodwork, but blending it in looks more sophisticated and less ‘look what I’ve got!’
Ignore the myth about dark colours closing a room in… going dark. does the exact opposite! The walls in fact recede and pull away from your line of vision. The bedroom is a perfect example of this.
Surely, I’ve learnt my lesson now!?
Creating a New Focal Point
Although I had decided to create a focal point of the fireplace, I’m quite the believer that a room should have more than one focal point. This room certainly should. Multiple focal points make for a much more comfortable and relaxing space, allowing your eye to be drawn around the room, rather than to one particular spot.
So, with the fireplace being focal point number one, the natural second, was the bay window. Beautiful original wooden panels either side are flanked by two cylindrical ‘posts’, both capped with stunning turned finials. I can see this as a separate seating area, and have a clear vision of how I want it to look. This area kinda deals with itself.
Focal point number three, however, will be a brand new feature.
Since I didn’t want to draw attention from the fireplace by shelving the alcoves, I decided to fill the wall behind the door with floor to ceiling shelving. This was where the previous owner had placed her display units.
Now, as much as they WERE NOT my style, I really liked the idea of utilising this space for storage/display. Also, I own a lot of shit, and really want somewhere to display it.
Bring on IKEA hack number two!
The initial plan is to use four IKEA Billy bookcases, turning them upside down and ‘resting’ them on four kitchen bridging cabinets. The bookcase plinths (now at the top) will then be covered over with a decorative moulding. The whole thing will be attached to the wall, giving the illusion of a floating unit. The idea is to leave as much floor space visible as possible, to retain the feeling of space.
This is a much cheaper alternative to store-bought units.
The Other Side
Having come up with a plan for the shelving, I decided to draw out the other side of the room. During the course of this, I made a few tweaks to my ideas. Maybe due to my new-found bravery, I have decided to go all dark…
The original plan was to keep the units white, but I felt that this would detract from the drama of the dark walls, and would close this side of the room in. By painting the shelves the same colour as the walls, they too should recede and allow the objects on them to take main stage.
A simple, square, mid-century style armchair accompanied by an elegant iron side table sits out on to the rug, lit by a large decorative table lamp, giving a bit of height and depth to the room. The bay window will be dressed with thermal lined roman blinds, for added insulation and to showcase the beautiful wooden panelling. I’ll be adding in white wooden venetian blinds for privacy. An Arne Jacobsen style egg chair will sit in the bay window, accompanied by Audrey, our huge Sansevieria plant, bought off Gumtree for a fiver. There are other elements to be added in, such as my Franco Albini wicker stool and various decorative bits and pieces, but for now, I think this gets the style across.