DECORATOR INDEX: EXPERT ADVICE REBECCA WAKEFIELD’S INSIDER GUIDE TO ARRANGING YOUR LIVING ROOM
How to place your furniture and objects for maximum impact
1 The rule of three There is an unwritten rule of still-life styling that says you should work with uneven numbers. Avoid symmetry and ‘coupling’ objects; instead, think about balance for a more interesting and appealing composition. Arranging a lateral object (such as a book or tray) with something tall and vertical ( like a vase or candlestick) and something low and bulky (such as a paperweight or bowl) is a great starting point for styling a coffee table or sideboard.
2 Work with your room size
If you have a large room, don’t be afraid to buy an oversized sofa and armchairs – you can often get away with much bigger pieces than you’d think. It will look underdressed if you scrimp with small furniture. You can add more delicate elements with lamps and side tables. With a small space, it’s the opposite: you often have to downscale more than you’d think to create the illusion of an open, airy space. Get a sofa that is less deep but as wide as the room can take, placing it against the wall. Armchairs should be smaller too, but if you don’t have room for any, don’t force them in – they will overpower the space. 3 Get the right rug A rug should be the main anchor of your room. Avoid it being too small; a rug covering only the floor around a coffee table will make the space feel incohesive. Go for the largest rug you can – they should extend at least halfway under sofas and 30 centimetres either side of them; side tables need to sit either fully on or offto avoid a messy look. 4 How to hang art I am a huge advocate of unexpected artwork positioning and sizing, which adds real interest to a space. If you’re not confident doing this, use your furniture layout and architectural features as a guide. Don’t just hang an artwork precisely in the middle of a wall, as it can look contrived. Hanging a small piece above a side table in the corner of a room, and adding a lamp alongside, can create the illusion of a secondary space.