Choosing furniture for the living room

Guest blogger Angela Bunt, an interior decorator and blogger at Flair Fairy, shares how she chose the key pieces for her re-styled Victorian living room

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My living room was originally a small bedroom and sitting room, which was knocked into one large room years before I moved in. I am a big fan of zoning furniture like the seating area, so that it’s an intimate and cosy space to watch television or spend time with friends.

To make best use of the space, I have zoned my seating area by placing a Victorian painted desk behind the sofa, which I have accessorised with my favourite books and flowers. Unfortunately there are no power sockets nearby and I’d love to add a couple of tall table lamps too, but I have made up for this by choosing tall vases to add height and interest.

Angela Blunt Choosing Furniture curtains shot

I love colour so as I was redecorating the space, I took the opportunity to invest in statement furniture, including a luxe purple sofa, mustard armchair and comfortable armchair in grey — plus a lovely upholstered stool to use as seating or a coffee table when needed. I had always coveted a purple velvet sofa and was granted my wish when a friend gifted me her grandparents’ Regency sofa, which I had stripped back to the wooden frame, restored and reupholstered in J Brown Modena Velvet in ‘Aubergine’. It takes pride of place in front of the fireplace and I have accessorised it with bold orange and mustard velvet cushions, which all work really well against the neutral walls painted in Farrow & Ball’s Cornforth White.

Angela Choosing furniture blunt living room furniture sofa shot

To add even more texture and colour, I sourced two old comfortable Victorian-style armchairs and had them reupholstered too — one in dark grey Swedish linen with mustard velvet covered buttons from The Cloth Shop and the other chair in J Brown Modena Velvet in Mustard and Grey. I had some fun with this chair and chose grey fabric for the back and mustard for the front.


That was the seating sorted, so to add to my ‘comfort and relaxing’ zone, I was keen to add practical elements too, so reintroduced two circular chrome and glass side tables I bought years ago from India Jane. These have added a contemporary touch to my scheme, plus another texture too.

My top five tips for choosing furniture:

  1. Remember that only two people can have a conversation on a sofa so if space is limited you are better to buy a couple of two-seater sofas as the third seat is often redundant!.
  2. Three-piece suites have seen better days, so for an on-trend look, buy a sofa and if you have space, a couple of nice armchairs (they don’t have to match). I’ve found that people do like their own space, so usually prefer an armchair if there’s a choice.
  3. Sofas are very expensive to have re-covered so opt for a fabric that you won’t get tired of. A brightly coloured or patterned fabric is always going to be a riskier option for longevity.
  4. Mix up the styles of furniture as it adds interest. A couple of contemporary side tables in a room with classic pieces can work very well.
  5. Zone your room clearly if it is a multi-function room by using a console table or desk.

When it came to choosing a coffee table, though, I found this particularly challenging. I found it tricky to find a style in the right shape, style and size to suit my space, so decided to go for an upholstered stool instead. I’m a big fan of upholstered stools as an alternative to an occasional table as they have multiple uses — you can put your feet up on them or add a tray for drinks and accessories. If you have the space, a large square buttoned one can work really well and it can be styled beautifully with books, plants and candles.

Mine is rectangular, about 80x60cm and prior to redecorating it was covered in a plain linen. I decided to have some fun with the fabric so I chose a gorgeous Harlequin velvet called Eglomise Amethyst which has a beautiful a texture and pattern, which I think perfectly complements the striped Turkish rug underneath.

Angela Blunt Choosing Furniture Footstool

Now all the work has been done and I’ve arranged the room complete with the made-over furniture, I’m so happy with the result. By breaking up the room using simple tricks and cleaver placement of pieces, the room feels spacious, while also maintaining the feeling of separate zones to enjoy for different uses.

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