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10 Things Houzz Designers Have Taught Us About Living Rooms

Last year’s Houzz Tours featured living spaces packed with ideas to steal. Be inspired by these fabulous rooms

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There’s nothing like a peep behind the closed doors of someone else’s home, but more than just satisfying our curiosity, Houzz Tours are rich in examples of wonderful colour schemes, clever furniture choices, lovely layouts, great lighting and more. Take the opportunity to revisit these favourite living rooms from 2017 that are sure to spur on your own revamps.

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Lesson 1: How to go greener
This new-build home’s interior was revisited to create a contemporary and individual scheme – and one that brought the outside in. Making a place for greenery included this clever solution: a purpose-made shelf behind the sofa for a row of Sansevieria trifasciata, or mother-in-law’s tongue. Even cleverer, the smart containers keep the plants watered when the owners are on their frequent travels.

Another lesson to take from this living space? The selection of a corner sofa and round wood coffee table makes for a cosy ambience in a high-ceilinged new home.

See more of this architect-designed house

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Lesson 2: How to avoid looking square
Here’s a top tip for keeping a look relaxed from designer Kia Stanford’s work on this apartment in a converted Beaux Arts building. “When you have a room that’s so very square, adding more square furniture can take away from the relaxed feel, but these rugs keep it informal,” she says. She combined a runner (left by the previous owner), a new cream rug, and her client’s cowhide to disrupt the geometry.

Another contrast to the square room is the restored parquet flooring, with its eye-catching pattern – albeit one that’s geometric. Its lines are complemented by the legs of the butterfly chair and side table, harmonising original features and furniture.

Check out more of this Edwardian flat

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Lesson 3: How to dress for the evening
Love the trend for velvet sofas? The beautiful teal number in this Victorian home evokes a mood of luxury that’s deliberate, as the room was designed to be a space where the adults could enjoy a cocktail in front of the fire.

It’s a great reminder that rooms used largely in the evening are the ideal venue for moody wall colours – this is Farrow & Ball’s Railings – as bright light would be contrary to the desired atmosphere. Compare the kitchen-diner beyond, where white-painted walls multiply the light.

Take the full tour

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Lesson 4: How to layer neutrals for a relaxing feel
Some of us want our homes to express our personalities loud and proud, while others prefer them to be a calming refuge. The latter was the case in this apartment, where serenity was the watchword.

Follow its lead for a living space that lets you unplug and relax. A muted palette and pared-back furnishings keep things peaceful, while a smattering of graphic patterns and sculptural houseplants introduce interest.

See more of this home

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Lesson 5: How to banish the TV screen
If you don’t like your television on show, this room’s storage wall, which conceals the TV when it’s not in use, could tickle your fancy. “We designed this custom-made joinery unit around the flatscreen,” says designer Jess Lavers. “The cupboards either side of the gas fire are for extra storage and the shelves are back-lit to display beautiful objects.”

Prefer not to build in cabinetry? Invest in a painted TV cupboard with doors, so the big, black screen doesn’t dominate your living space.

Discover the rest of this Victorian flat

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Lesson 6: How to revisit vintage style
Here’s proof that ice-cream shades and vintage finds needn’t proceed down a clichéd route. In this cottage, soft pink walls provide a light-reflective backdrop for a considered collection of contemporary pieces – such as the sofa and footstool – and one-off finds. Check out the room from a different angle…

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…where a former medicine cabinet is now used for drinks, and a pelican ornament has been turned into a lamp.

The whole feels up to date, with punctuation points of detail in an uncrowded layout.

Find out more about this cottage

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Lesson 7: How to celebrate the 1960s
This home is a 1960s Span house – considered a design classic – but it had lost many of its original features over the years. In the living room, a connection to the era was evoked with seagrass wallpaper, reminiscent of the decade’s hessian papers.

It’s a texturally appealing wallcovering, but also a reminder that you can make a link with a home’s past through your choice of materials, as well as the furniture and colours you use.

Visit this midcentury home

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Lesson 8: How to give your books centre stage
Here’s a living space for fans of brilliant book displays. It’s been given a library feel with full-height shelving either side of the chimney breast. A double chaise is the place to take a volume from the shelf and kick back.

Note how painting the shelves the same colour as the wall makes the book spines stand out. Arranging them in blocks of colour gives the display visual punch.

Enjoy a tour of the other rooms in this house

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Lesson 9: How to add a light touch
Like the idea of making an impact with living room lighting? Try this idea, where selecting pendant lights from the same range and hanging them at different heights has created a unique feature.

The artwork here is an original, but you can get the same impact with a wall mural: search online for a huge selection of designs.

Look round this Victorian home

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Lesson 10: How to blend old with new
This Aberdeen living room is a great example of how architectural details can be happily married with contemporary elements. The room’s sophisticated original features and ornate mirror are balanced by the fuss-free lines of shelving and seating.

There’s equilibrium in the room’s colour palette as well, with Farrow & Ball’s smart Hague Blue in the alcoves and below the picture rail set against a pale shade above, oak boards on the floor, and a pale marble fire surround.

See more of this Scottish home

What do you think of this selection of inspiring living rooms? Do you have a favourite from 2017? Share your thoughts in the Comments section.
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