Warming up to Autumn

How to bring that special cosy feeling to your living areas

I love being together with my family in our home during the autumn months, especially in the kitchen or living areas. As it becomes colder, we spend more time together in these spaces, whether all tucked up together watching a family film, or sharing a delicious hot chocolate to warm up after returning home from work and school!

But I think that what I’ve always liked the most is the feeling of cosiness, the contrast between the dark evening and the lights of our homes. The joy of staying home when outside is dark and cold.

Unlike days gone past where kitchens were closed off from the rest of the living area, today a lot of people prefer to be in the middle of it all to nurture a sense of togetherness. An open plan living space is the ideal way to be involved in family life. It is great to be able to entertain friends while keeping the evening’s festivities flowing in the kitchen.

But how to make your open plan living spaces cosy and connected? Here are some tips.

 

Create specific areas

With the idea of free-flowing living spaces comes the danger of losing your functional areas. Open plan living doesn’t mean that there should be no distinction from one to the other.

In fact, the more the different areas are defined, the cosier they become.

A lot of people start with addressing the kitchen first because they find it outdated or not serving to their needs anymore. Then why not looking at a different layout which connects it to the rest of the spaces?

The layout of a kitchen can change everything! The flow around it can alter greatly the perception of the space. People will naturally “position” themselves differently and the space will become more alive than before, sometimes looking even bigger.

BEFORE

AFTER

Create a dining area and use light to define it (see below), put a carpet under the table to mark even more the space and add an extra furniture to complement it (i.e. a buffet).

Do the same for the living room: if you can, put the sofas and armchairs in a way that foster conversation: an “L” shape, a “U” shape or one in front of the other. Turn them so that they are open towards the people coming. Put a carpet in the middle area and coffee table or foot rest in the middle. Add some light (see below).

A rendering on how to organise a very large living room using existing furniture

 

Add storage

Storage is usually a major issue. There is either too little or enough but not optimised.

See the whole space (kitchen, dining and living room) as a whole and see if what you have works well together. I am not saying that everything should match, but there should be a sense of coherence. This applies to finishes but also to proportions.

Think of symmetry and see if what you have conveys a sense of balance or not.

See if you can arrange what you have differently or move it somewhere else to introduce new elements.

Storage for the kitchen and dining room in the niches right and left of a former fire place

 

Think colour scheme

When you move from one space to the next and find some colour pattern then the feeling is of connection.

Think about the colours you like and about what you have already. Most of us have neutral sofas and chairs. Add a touch of colour with pillows or paintings or curtains and use that as a “fil rouge” to link the spaces.

If you’re bold, use colour or wall paper on one feature wall.

A feature wall in a neutral colour scheme.

 

Use light

When creating different functional spaces, the use of light is very important because it helps define each area: rather than having only one ceiling light, you could add others to create a cosy atmosphere in the room.

For example, have a lower pendant on the dining table, a floor light in the reading corner, and a table light on a console.

If you still have to renovate, it’s at the beginning that these decisions should be made so that they can be incorporated into the new electrical installation.

An oversized lamp on a table / A small lamp on a piece of furniture to create the right atmosphere

 

Sit back and relax!

And finally, sit back and relax! Which is maybe the least easy thing to do!

PS If you need some more help, have a look at the Kitchen Connection  ( a full renovation project of your living areas) and the Refresh Your Home Consultation (advice session for you to implement)

Cosy reading corner

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