In most homes, the sitting room is truly a family room, a place where adults and children alike can gather to relax and reconnect, surrounded by family heirlooms and comfortable furniture. Finding ways to make this inviting space even more suitable for the long winter months may seem daunting, but design elements such as colour, texture and even the simple positioning of furniture can make the sitting room warmer and cosier than ever.
Add rich, warm colours
Colour is an easy way to add warmth to a room. If the sitting room has a neutral base with taupe, sand and other rich brown tones as the dominant hues, then splashes of reds, oranges, yellows and gold can be added to make the entire room feel aglow. Throw pillows, area rugs, draperies and afghan cushions are all great accessories to add a splash of colour and style to the room. Selecting soft and plush fabrics for some of these items will add to the feeling of intimacy, with fabrics such as velvet and chenille making an appealing addition to the overall design.
Artwork is another way to add warm colours to a sitting room, with the darker earth-tones and vibrant accents of older oil paintings particularly desirable. Recreations of works from such notable Dutch masters as Rembrandt or Vermeer would be ideal.
Layers and texture
Just as layers of clothing add warmth to the wearer, so layers of fabrics and accents add a warmth and cosiness to a sitting room. Layered rugs and draperies, as well as the accent of plush throws and soft pillows, add richness to a room’s décor. Using the many varieties of fabrics and upholsteries that are characterised by soft textures and designs is a good way of enhancing a sitting room. Crepe, velvet, brocade, chenille and plush are examples of fabrics and upholsteries that could be chosen. Remember that less is always more, however, and don’t drown a small room in heavy fabrics and accents.
Do not forget the important layers of scent and lighting. Spicy scents such as cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger or vanilla evoke memories of warm treats and comforts, and can be added to the room through potpourri burning or candles. Candles also add the lighting element that helps to soften and warm up the room. Lamps may be the preferred mode of lighting rather than overhead lights, and incandescent bulbs are the best choice if a welcoming ambience is desired.
Sitting room furniture
A sitting room is a place for the family to gather, relax and unwind, so the furniture in it should be unquestionably comfortable. Large, overstuffed recliner sofas and chairs are a popular choice, and keeping the colour and texture suggestions outlined above in mind when choosing a piece, can go a long way toward creating the perfect atmosphere.
Centre the furniture around the fireplace if there is one, and create conversation areas by grouping two or three sitting options together, which allows people to sit within easy talking distance. A quiet area or two – for example a comfy reading nook with a soft recliner and lamp, or a pile of plush floor cushions in a corner – are also great features to include.