Eileen’s Design School: How To Design Your Living Room


Text Eileen Marshall | Photography Averill Lehan | Produced by Canadian Home Trends

You may be moving into a brand new residence or renovating and updating your existing space. This task, be it one room or many, can be overwhelming and often expensive! However, by taking simple steps, this process will not only be rewarding, it will also be fun!

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It all starts here…

Where to Begin? Plan how much you intend to do. For example, do you need to add major design elements such as trim, lighting, flooring, built-ins etc., or is it purely a paint job and the opportunity to re-fresh your accessories?

Know your Style! Do you prefer a clean-lined approach or a more traditional vibe? Eclectic is also good but try not to have too many styles mixed together as this will look choppy and confusing.

Create a “Feel”/Atmosphere Are you partial to a warm and cozy feel, or a bright and fresh atmosphere? A clear direction will help you move forward in your planning.

TIP: When planning a space it is vital you bring home samples! Collect flooring, paint chips and carpet pieces to make sure everything works well together. This simple little step can save you a lot of headaches and unnecessary expenses.

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Lighting A good lighting plan is essential. There are many options to consider – pots, tracks, sconces, pendants and lamp lighting. Know how you want your room to function and then decide on the type of lighting most beneficial to your space. Don’t forget to invest in a dimmer switch. This enables you to create many types of ambiance and lighting options.

Trim dresses up ceilings, floors and areas around doors and windows. It can be simple or ornate depending on your style and taste. Trim has the ability to turn a plain space into something spectacular!

Colour creates an impact in a space. Not only will it reflect your personality it will also ‘gel’ the entire room together with other elements such as furniture, fabrics and accessories.

Flooring is a major part of the room, so give yourself plenty of time to ponder your options. If you are considering hardwood or an engineered floor, try to keep the colour tones similar to the other wood tones within the room (i.e. furniture.)

Fabrics on windows and/or furniture will soften the room visually and add a sense of comfort. It is also a great way to add pattern.

Artwork never fails to bring life to a wall. It infuses colours, textures and shapes.

Accessories A room needs accessories – be it a glass vase or a book on the coffee table. However, be selective in your choices to avoid clutter.

Source Guide: Area Rug, Coffee Table, Side Table, Accessory Plate on Coffee Table, Elte, elte.com; Sofas and Arm Chair, Interior Design House – Oakville, interiordesignhouse.com; Drapery and Toss Cushions, Q Design, qdesigncentre.com; Lamp, Home Sense, homesense.ca; Designed by, Eileen Marshall, eileenmarshalldesign.com

Written by Eileen Marshall & Sharon Finn Hart

Eileen Marshall & Sharon Finn Hart

Eileen Marshall, owner of Eileen Marshall Design ,offers a full range of residential design services, specializing in renovations and custom homes. Her philosophy is to create a personal space that will feel like home and comply with a sense of practicality and beauty. Eileen has lived in New York, London and Berlin and believes her love for travel has provided great insight into how people live and what they want from their home. She is also author of Dancing with Design, A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Create a Unique Home; a valuable how-to-manual on decorating and design. She also blogs at Dancing with Design together with Sharon Finn Hart.

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