Without accent furniture a room can seem a little sparse and unresolved. It is the accent pieces in a room that create interest, depth and personality in any design. Therefore here are some tips on must have pieces when finishing a living room with accent furniture. But first of all what is accent furniture? These are the smaller pieces that support the large furniture in the room. For instance a rug that pulls the furniture together, a side table placed at the arm of a sofa, or a floor lamp that creates warmth and light in a space.
Side tables are a must have for any living room. Unlike larger coffee tables they can be extremely flexible in terms of placement enabling you to reposition depending on how you are using space at any one time. Also many side tables can double up as stools creating extra seating for when you have more guests than usual. If you don’t have room for a large coffee table why not cluster two or three small side tables together in front of your sofa or chairs. This will give the same effect and functionality that a coffee table does, but also gives you flexibility to move the tables when needed.
Rugs bring many facets to a space. They can pull furniture placement together defining a space, add color, pattern and texture to an otherwise bland room. They can also cover up existing flooring that has seen better days. General things to think about when choosing a rug includes: shape; size; material; and style. You can’t go wrong with a rectangular rug, most spaces support this shape. However don’t discount square or round if the room can hold these. When defining a seating area it’s ideal to have at least the front legs of the sofa and chairs on the rug, this will make the rug feel generous and ground the room, but if you don’t like your flooring then go oversized taking it up to foot from the wall. If you’ve already got a lot of pattern and color present in your room choose something more textural with a neutral color. If your room is fairly neutral go for a color and be bold with pattern.
Flat weaves and intricate designs are good for high traffic areas and pets as they hide dirt. Whereas a shag, cut pile and loop piles are better for low traffic areas and are really comfy underfoot.
Occasional chairs are a large accent piece so can be used to create a focal point, or impact in a room. Again this piece should be light enough to offer flexibility and when needed (i.e. for social gatherings) easily repositioned within the room. If your room is big enough for two occasional chairs this is ideal. Placing two into your seating configuration will help add balance to your layout. Either positioning these opposite your sofa, or both to one side of your sofa will make conversation easy. If you only have room for one, this is fine too, make it a statement piece by choosing a pattered fabric with a defined style such as a contemporary wing chair accented with a bright scatter cushion.
Floor and table lamps
For a harmonious lighting scheme you need a mixture of light sources. Accent lighting such as floor and table lamps are fabulous for brightening up a darker corner in a room, or by placing a couple around the room these can throw out enough light for a whole space.
Placing a pair of matching table lamps either end of a console creates a classic, structured feel to a room. Splitting the lamps by placing one on a side table and the other on a console will create a looser look for a less structured room. Add in a separate floor lamp in a different style and you will get a good even distribution of light whilst creating more interest in your design.
Personally I love using ottomans in a living room, often replacing a coffee table with a round ottoman covered in a beautiful fabric. This is such a simple and easy way to continue your pattern and color theme into other pieces in the room. To enable items to be placed on the cushioned top add a wooden tray or two creating a more even surface. You can then add decorative pieces onto the trays. Smaller ottomans can also be used to sit on, or placed in front of your occasional chair as a foot stool. To maximise storage potential go for one that opens up with storage inside.
When combining all of the above pieces into your design try and mix and match a couple of styles and materials. To use pieces that are the same style and similar materials will feel uninteresting and have little impact. When mixing for instance a distressed tan leather chair, timber side table with a modern sectional sofa and a chrome floor lamp, essentially the earthy with a more urban look you instantly create a design that’s eye catching and interesting.
Now you’re ready to accent your living room, be brave and push the boundaries. Try something new and see what a difference it can make.