As the room that most reflects its owners and their lives, the living room should be welcoming and inviting; why, therefore, does the living room often come across as dull and sometimes even cold? Fabrics are one of the most under exploited design tools in the home; used well, fabrics are a medium for bringing character and definition into any living room.

living room design
living room design

One of the best and easiest ways to make a living room look more inviting is with the use of fabrics. Fabrics are crucial to a living room design in order to add warmth, texture and a feeling of comfort, and are used not only for curtains and cushions but also for sofa throws, floor rugs, and even retro teapot cosies. Fabric art is also popular; find a fabric you love and attach it to a canvas with a staple gun for a beautiful and original piece of artwork.

The more textures and fabrics there are in a room, the more depth the room will have. If a living space feels flat and boring, the chances are that fabrics have not been used to their full potential; however, remember that if a living room is well used and sees a lot of people passing through, and especially if there are animals and small children in the home, fabrics should be purchased that are both washable and stain resistant.

Fabrics can be incorporated into any kind of living room design, from rustic to modern. Even a minimalist, urban living space with leather sofas can benefit from fabrics – as long as they are applied with consideration. Embrace bold colour schemes for that extra wow factor, or use more neutral tones for a crisp, tailored and sophisticated look.

Even if an old and worn carpet has been replaced with a versatile and modern laminate, the use of rugs should still be considered. Floor furnishings are coming back into fashion, and rugs do not just look and feel good when you walk on them – they can also help to build a visual connection between different room elements, especially in an open-concept living room/dining space.

Reupholster a tired old armchair or high-backed seat and give it a whole new lease of life. Think simple country elegance, with narrow stripes, small calico prints or traditional 18th century chintz designs to give the room the nostalgic look of summer cottages.

When considering window treatments for the living room, choose durable fabrics that won’t fade in the sunlight. Use heavy, layered curtains with plenty of texture and patterning for warmth in otherwise cold surroundings, while sheer fabrics let light pass through them, have an airy quality, and bring a feeling of lightness to the room. For more designer appeal, a dramatic, flowing window treatment is eye-catching without being ornate. Avoid a messy look by letting floor-length curtains rest gently on the ground rather than piling up in a heap.

Remember that living room fabrics add a unique sense of personality and individuality to the room; however, don’t forget to apply good design sense and remember the rules of symmetry for a look that is dramatic but balanced.