Interior styling tips for rooms of all shapes and sizes

One of the many exciting parts about buying a new home is that different properties come in different shapes and sizes, offering a blank canvas for you to personalise depending on your living style.

But with so many homes to choose from, where do you start when it comes to styling the shape of your rooms to make them distinctively yours? We asked our interior design partners, Edward Thomas Interiors, for their hints and tips.

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How would you style different living room shapes?

Long & Narrow

The best approach for slim rooms is not to overcrowd them. Where possible, try to make your room feel wider and taller. This can be achieved by wall mounting a TV in a central position on the longest wall and adding sofas, armchairs or love seats at either end to make a cosy reading corner or snug and help create separation from the main relaxing areas.

It’s also worth considering creating a feature wall behind the sofa, either with bold paint or wallpaper – and don’t forget to use vertical stripes if wallpapering as this creates an elongated effect!

L-shape

The most common styling for this shape is to accentuate the L, either by adding a corner sofa or two sofas meeting in its centre. This creates an inviting space, but be careful not to push them so far back that people can’t see or interact with each other when they’re sat down! Also, don’t overlook any space behind the sofas – instead, consider adding a wall unit, bookcase or floating shelves to add character and space for personal touches.

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Open Plan & Apartment Living

Keep it light and bright – avoid oversized furniture and try to find pieces that can be easily moved. It’s amazing how a small reconfiguration can transform your space! Adding a TV on the wall will not only ensure space isn’t lost to a media unit but will also create the illusion of width, especially when paired with a mirror on either side.

Another common theme for apartments is full height glazing, French doors or walls of windows – anything that lets in lots of natural light. Consider dressing these with light or sheer fabrics to soften the look. Alternatively, wall to wall curtains work well so that when they’re pulled back, light floods in and when they’re drawn, it adds atmosphere, especially for movie night!

In larger open plan living rooms, a corner group sofa with a coffee table and occasional chairs instantly creates somewhere to rest and relax. Placing a rug in the centre will also help ‘zone’ the area and is a simple way to create that ‘hygge’ feeling, especially if the room has hard flooring. For contrast or a splash of colour, why not paint or panel the walls?

Formal

Here’s where you have a real opportunity to create a cosy and snug space, somewhere to retreat. If possible, add a log burner or feature fireplace in the centre of one of the walls. Add wallpaper to the whole room for a dramatic effect and position two sofas opposite one another to instantly make the room somewhere to socialise and entertain as well as relax. Add a coffee table, side tables or a footstool and don’t forget to consider taller pieces of furniture such as dressers, open cabinets or even ladder style desks.

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In your experience, what are the easiest and most difficult shaped rooms to style?

Square or equally proportioned rectangular rooms are certainly the most straightforward rooms, as they leave plenty of scope for impactful designs, whether that’s a feature wall, some unusual artwork or a statement light fitting. The downside is that they can often lack any inherent character, so we have to be imaginative with our styling – maybe add a picture rail or use a bold colour palette.

The most difficult rooms to style are the narrow, L-shaped rooms as it can be tricky to create a truly sociable space. We have to maximise every available surface – wall mounting TVs, shelving and artwork helps a great deal, as does only using furniture that’s in proportion.

What advice would you give to those struggling to envision their final space? Are there any steps to make decorating your space easier?

We understand it can be difficult to imagine a finished space, so if you’re struggling with this, draw or sketch it out and check your measurements – it’s much easier to make changes on paper! Unless you have a substantial room, avoid big and bulky items of furniture, they’ll only make the space appear smaller.

As with any new home, the point is to enjoy it, so build rooms up over time, don’t rush to do everything at once. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes either, keep evolving and adding new pieces as your tastes change.

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What are some easy ways to make a small and compact space appear larger?

For these rooms, try to keep them light and bright. If your room has lots of windows, dress it with light fabrics, and if it only has a few then think about your lighting. Consider floor lamps, table lamps, recessed or under-cabinet lighting. Use light coloured furniture, paints and accessories or add mirrors – on one of our recent projects we installed a complete mirror wall which seemingly made the space double immediately!

What colour trends are popular now?

Anything wintry, so a strong mix of blues, greys, silver and black will give a sense of luxury. This ties in with the Dulux Colour of the Year for 2022 too; ‘Bright Skies’ is a cool and tranquil blue. Similarly, neutral, natural colours and textiles remain popular, especially when paired with shades of green. Emerald green has become a particularly desirable colour for kitchen cabinetry.

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