After struggling to easily find the right items to furnish her own apartment, Kuldea Co-Founder, Deirdre Mc Gettrick, was inspired to create an online platform to make home shopping as straightforward, efficient and fulfilling as possible. Here, she shares some of the tops tips she has learnt along the way for furnishing your living room.

Whether you’re moving into a new home or craving a fresh design makeover, furnishing your living room is easily one of the most exciting aspects of the process. For most of us, the living room is the focal point of our living space; it’s the first room we invite people into when entertaining and the first place we want to plop down on the sofa for some much-needed R&R. Furnishing a living room is a fun chance to create an atmosphere that perfectly showcases who you are and what you want your personal space to reflect; that being said, I understand that knowing where to start and how to get everything just the way you want it can be tricky and overwhelming. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be! As someone who’s been through the process and come out happily on the other side, I’ve learned some key tips that will help get you situated quickly and, hopefully, have fun with your project!

Top tip 1) Strike a balance

This is the tough part that most living room furnishers, including me, have struggled with. We all want our spaces to look trendy and put-together while feeling warm and intimate. The truth is, most of us aren’t professional interior designers and, especially on a first go at furnishing, the finished product tends to lean a little too much to one side. No one wants to lounge around in a showroom just as much as no one wants their guests walking into a room that looks a little too lived in. This is why it’s crucial to be mindful of finding the perfect balance between function and aesthetic. One of the easiest ways to do this is to think of furniture and accessories as your harmonising halves. Sofas, chairs and recliners – dressed up with inviting throws and cushions – are a great way to make the room comfortable and inviting. End tables, lamps, rugs and wall hangings can be mixed and matched to add a pop of elegance and personality.

Top tip 2) Choose furniture that fits your space

When I mentioned that sofas and chairs are great pieces to focus on function, I didn’t mean at the expense of style. With so many places to look to for furniture nowadays, it’s never been easier to find comfortable furniture that’s still easy on the eye. However, how a piece of furniture fits in your unique space is just as important as how it feels. It’s really easy to over or underestimate how much space you have. Most of us, including myself, have gotten a little too excited about a specific piece that ended up being the totally wrong fit. It might seem tedious upfront, but I can attest to how much of a difference it can make: be particular with your measurements ahead of time! This not only ensures that you know exactly how your space is being utilised, but also saves a lot of time and headache by avoiding returns and redeliveries. If you’re anything like me, you want your room looking its best on the first try – no one’s got time for do-overs in the midst of a working or family schedule! Pay close attention to factors like wall angles and specific dimensions. As much as you might want that leather sectional, it’s always a good move to be realistic and know if it will actually work well. For smaller spaces, two-seater sofas combined with large ottomans work well for both entertaining and lounging and do well with maximising more vertical space.

Top tip 3) Work around a colour theme and focal point

I know how easy it is to see the range of available furnishings out there and want to go crazy scooping up the most attractive items. I also know how quickly this can turn into a collection of mismatched furniture and accessories. If you want to avoid looking more chaotic than complementary, I suggest having a colour theme in place before you buy. First of all, it will dramatically help to weed out the sea of choices that just won’t work, which saves infinite amounts of time. Secondly, the improved focus can make shopping much more budget friendly, as you can spend the time you’d be sifting through 150 coffee tables looking for great deals focused on finding the exact style and colour you need.

Are you a monochromatic person who likes a subtle pop of colour? Or, perhaps, someone who wants to come home to a cosy, warm colour scheme? Either way, think ahead about what colours you want to pop and which you can use to complement. For those furnishing an entire home, think about the way your living room colour palette fits into the bigger picture, especially if dealing with an open floor plan that connects to a kitchen or dining room.

A great starting place for planning a colour theme is to pick out a focal point for your living room. I might start off with a sofa or painting I know I can’t live without and work outward from there. You’ll be surprised how quickly everything falls into place when you start connecting the dots!

Top tip 4) Pay attention to practicality

One of the most important features of any room and often one of the most overlooked when furnishing is lighting. Whether it’s natural or artificial, the way lighting affects a room is important to the types of pieces you buy and how they’re arranged. Having a layering of good overhead lighting and accent, ambient and task lighting is the best way to avoid a room looking oppressive and create an element of multidimensionality. Table lamps or standing lamps are the perfect ingredient for a more intimate evening atmosphere where you can curl up with a good book or film. Additionally, if your space isn’t outfitted with large windows for a lot of natural lighting during the day, well-placed accent lighting can mimic the subtlety of natural light as opposed to the artificial fluorescence of an overhead. Once you’ve determined what sort of lighting scheme you want and need in your room, you can start looking for furnishing that corresponds with your color scheme and design theme.

Another practical consideration to keep in mind when furnishing your living room is how much storage you’ll need. It’s very common to realise, when moving house, just how much more stuff you have than you originally thought. Things get wedged into nooks and crannies and soon you’re left dealing with more than you know how to manage. When a thorough purge isn’t an option, choosing furniture with hidden storage facilities is a very practical way to stay organised and maintain a clean, uncluttered look. Many sectionals and ottomans have secret compartments that can be utilised for keeping knick knacks or blankets out of sight. I’ve made great use of these in my own home, which has eliminated the need for a lot of extraneous shelving and given me more space to work out the “feng shui” of the room.

large sofa with storage

Just remember – when it comes to furnishing a living room, there’s no “right” method for making a space look amazing. All it takes to get it right is a little research and a lot of vision. If I’ve learned anything from my own trial and error periods, it’s that personal instinct plays a huge role in the decision making process. Don’t forget to trust your gut!

To start your living room furnishing project, head to our Living Room page for thousands of products from the UK’s leading retailers and get your transformation underway!

If you’re looking for more advice or would like to discuss this article further please feel free to email me at info@kuldea.com, and I’ll do my best to help.