Vincent Cullane is creative director at London interiors firm Increation. After working with bespoke cabinetry for years, Vincent took his passion for design to the next level by starting his own company.
Specialising in commercial and residential projects, Vincent and his team spend their time transforming all kinds of living rooms. Here are his top ten design tips for creating the perfect shared space for your family.
1) Decide What You Want From Your Living Room
“The key to any successful living room design is planning. You have to first understand what is required of the space available.
“Some people see their sitting room as a place to entertain guests or host evening drinks receptions, whereas others want a more family orientated space for long evenings in front of the television.
“Those who see their living room as an entertainment space might need to spend weeks deliberating over seating and AV choices. Many opt for a relaxing space with sentimental items like photos or pieces of art taking prominence. Either way, purpose of space is key to planning the design.
“Try making a list of everything you want from your lounge before you get started.”
2) Consider A Total Overhaul
“Working around pre-existing fixtures and fittings can be difficult, so when creating a new scheme we often fully strip out the previous room, including all wiring and built-in furniture.
“This gives us a blank canvas on which to work. It’s definitely worth considering when a room needs a total overhaul, particularly after moving into a new home.”
3) Find Your Focal Points
“Distinguishing the focal points of your project, and not detracting from them, is vital for a balanced design. If you have a beautiful Victorian fireplace, for example, avoid placing another strong item on an adjacent wall.
“Televisions can be great focal points, particularly when complemented with bespoke cabinetry.”
4) Start by Creating a Colour Scheme
“Ascertain and finalise your style and colour preferences right at the start of the project, because inevitably every choice you make will hark back to this.”
5) Think About Seating
“Before you can start thinking about which TV to buy or what cabinet will look best, you need to put together a seating plan. This could be one large comfy sofa for the whole family or a number of smaller armchairs – again, this all depends on how you want to use the space.
“Without a proper seating plan in place early on, I’ve seen people inadvertently stuff the room with chairs and appliances they never really wanted to begin with.”
6) Soft Furnishings Give a Fab Finishing Touch
“Soft furnishings breathe life into any living room. They can bring in a splash of colour, texture, or even ground a sofa with really lively pattern.”
7) Create Space with the Right Lighting
“Lighting is a key consideration, particularly when working with a smaller living room. The correct lighting, in conjunction with glass and mirrors, can make a space feel twice as large.”
8) Use Clever Cabinetry to Avoid Overcrowding
“Bespoke cabinets can really help get more from smaller sitting rooms. Our first thoughts are always about functionality and storage – from there we can start making design choices.
“We recently completed a large Russian-influenced AV unit for a client in West London, where the design had to fit in a specific space around a 60-inch 3D television. Our finished piece measured over three metres in width and encompassed large speaker panels on either side.
“Audio visual units need to look clean so they don’t detract from the design of the television – storage space is a great way not to add additional clutter. In this particular unit, drawers were included at floor level for storing the family’s extensive film and music library.”
9) Hide Stray TV and Speaker Wires
“Most modern TVs these days come with a wall mounting option. This can offer some great space saving advantages, but should only be used when in keeping with the overall scheme of your sitting room. If you’ve gone for a really traditional design, a wall mounted TV might not look right.
“A recent trend is to disguise wall-mounted televisions as artwork or an ornate mirror – this is ideal for spaces where a TV might seem a little out of place.
“We’re often asked to hide speaker systems too, which has led to us install false walls, build speaker panels that stretch the entire height of a room, and even embed speakers in ceilings. This often involves a lot of rewiring.
“The key to doing this successfully is working out where the speaker or cabinet is going to be and wiring accordingly. You don’t want a glamorous feature wall being ruined by a stray wire.”
10) Get Smart With Technology and Design
“Smart technologies are becoming commonplace in home refurbishments. We were recently asked to help in a fully iOS home where all appliances, heating and lighting were controlled using wall-mounted iPads.
“Systems like that are brilliant for people always on the go. Being able to control what’s going on at home from an important meeting or while you’re out socialising can prove invaluable.”