THESE images show the ‘perfect’ living room layout to improve your mood and wellbeing at home – and the mistakes Brits most often make with their décor.
A series of digital renders were created after expert insight highlighted the most common front room mistakes people make in their home.
These range from too much furniture packed too close together with little storage, to choosing the wrong colour scheme or using synthetic air fresheners.
Pippa Jameson, author of The Sensory Home, is working with leading furniture retailer DFS to help Brits create a home that feels good and works for them.
She explained ‘flow’ is vital when it comes to the sensory experience, with furniture that is too big for a room being something to avoid – as well as pieces blocking walkways or being closer than 90cm together.
She said: “A mistake people make all the time is following conventions – they see something on social media and think, ‘I must have it’.
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Pippa’s advice comes after a study of 2,000 adults, commissioned by DFS, revealed 56 per cent don’t think the layout of their living room is perfect, and 36 per cent of these aren’t sure what the issue is.
This comes as 64 per cent want to redesign their front room for a more calming ‘vibe’, whilst 72 per cent want to feel relaxed in their sitting room.
On this, Pippa said: “We become blind to rooms that aren’t working and it’s hard to see a problem when you’re in it.
“When people move in, they choose a room and don’t optimise it for their lifestyle, so they sometimes have unconscious stress. This means a room isn’t working and they don’t really know why, what they have done wrong, or how to fix it.
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“So first and foremost, you must work out what the functionality of the room is going to be.
“Now more than ever our rooms are multifunctional, so you need to make sure your furniture suits this.
"For example, having modular sofas that you can switch up or an extendable table that can also be an office and a dining area.”
The research went on to find that having too much stuff in the room (45 per cent) and not enough storage (40 per cent) are cited as top reasons why a living space isn’t quite perfect, whilst almost a fifth (19 per cent) don’t like the colour scheme in their room.
However, a comfy sofa ranked highest as the item which really makes a house feel like a home – with leather and cotton the materials Brits are most likely to turn to provide comfort.
But a third are unsure of which materials to use to achieve a sense of homeliness.
We become blind to rooms that aren’t working and it’s hard to see a problem when you’re in it
Furthermore, 66 per cent believe the layout of a room impacts their mood and 73 per cent feel like their living room is a sanctuary from the stresses of everyday life.
Pippa said: “Our home environment is intrinsically linked to our mental health.
"Lack of storage and clutter is the number one cause of stress, as it’s a constant presence that can make us feel out of control and chaotic.
“One of the biggest mistakes I see people make in their living rooms is not thinking about the power of scent.
“We all know how much of an impact smell can have on us, it can transport us and is so powerful – but very few people utilise this.
“People have similar issues with light, it’s really important to ‘layer’ your lighting – rather than simply using the ‘big light’ all the time, to have light that can change through the day.
“I use striped LED lighting to regulate the room for sensory reasons and to introduce colour in a subtle way.”
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Lou Petersen, head of design innovation at DFS, added: “Our study shows that many households may not be aware of how our interiors can impact our mood, and that making a few small changes to their homes could make a big difference when it comes to how they feel in the space.
"Whilst 61 per cent of households default to white, brown/beige or grey for the colour of their living room walls, many are missing out on the relaxing properties of colour.
''Our homes are our sanctuaries from the stresses of everyday life, and whilst we tend to prioritise how they look, it’s also important to create a home that makes you feel good, whatever your style “thing” is, or the mood you’re trying to create.”
EIGHT MISTAKES BRITS MAKE IN THEIR LIVING ROOMS – AND HOW TO AVOID THEM
1. Ignoring noise pollution
When selecting and arranging pieces of furniture, consider how they might have an impact on noise coming into your peaceful space. If you have a noisy neighbour, put your bookcase against the wall nearest their house.
2. Following trends
Don’t follow the crowd of what you’re ‘meant’ to do if it doesn’t work for you or your space. For example, your sofa doesn’t have to go against the wall and you don’t have to have matching items if you don’t want to! Social media can make it tempting to make choices that aren’t right for your space, and we can lose sight of what works for us. Try and be unconventional in that sense and go for what works for you.
3. Not thinking about your body
Often you’ll decorate a living room and pick a sofa because that’s the one that’s on trend, but we’ve got to be kind to our bodies and choose furniture that suits our comfort needs and how we like to lounge too. For example, if you have back problems for instance, don’t go for a soft chair just because it looks good, and if you like to stretch out on your sofa, make sure that it’s long enough to accommodate you or opt for a recliner sofa.
Lack of storage and clutter is the number one cause of stress
4. The wrong smells
Your sense of smell is one of the most powerful senses, and often overlooked. It has the ability to evoke really powerful memories. Avoid synthetic air fresheners where possible, as they don’t help with clean air at home – natural diffusers or botanical options are a lot kinder on the senses and have an instant impact.
5. No space for yourself
Try and have a separate space in your living room that is for personal time – maybe a corner to read in, a space to do some yoga, or a comfy chair where you can listen to your favourite music – whether that’s the sounds of nature or rock music!
6. Happy triggers in the wrong place
You need sentiment within your living space – be that art, photos, or whatever it is that brings you happiness. But when you’re in your favourite armchair, you need something within your eyeline that will be a happy trigger – having these triggers all at eye level when you’re standing rather than sitting is a common mistake.
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7. Not layering lighting
Layer lighting with side lamps, floor lamps and dimmable switches to change lighting to suit the time of day and your activity. Or, the next step is sensory coloured lighting to suit your moods – pinks and purples can be calming, but you want light you can alter throughout the day. Also consider the colour of your walls to complement the overall mood.
8. Incompatible materials
A common mistake that people make is not having synergy between materials in your home. Try to avoid having materials that jar with each other – nothing really shiny and plastic next to something lovely and woollen – try to invest in finding natural materials that go together.
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