Five steps to the perfect sitting room


It’ll be ten times easier to re-organise your sitting room if you start with a blank canvas. So, begin by tidying the room. Donate anything that no longer suits the space to friends, family or a local charity shop. Consider re-arranging furniture, if you think a piece may be better elsewhere.

After decluttering, deep clean the entire room from top to bottom. Don’t forget to clean inside the drawers and cupboards, dust the tops of shelving units and check down the sides of your sofa.

Choosing the floor and wall colours

Before introducing new furniture, decide what you want to do with your sitting room walls and floors. If you want to add warmth and texture, choose a carpet. Natural wood and stone floors can be softened by adding rugs. Carpets are great for creating a cosy atmosphere, but flooring made from wood or stone will last longer if properly cared for; plus, it’s a more versatile choice for open plan living areas.

At this stage, you may want to pick blinds or curtains for the windows and the hardware on doors and fixed pieces of furniture, including built-in storage.

Where to start when planning the layout of a sitting room

When planning the layout of a sitting room, there are a few key things to consider. How you want to use the space? Will there be a TV in the room? Does the room lead to another? Do you want to include a workspace? Practical issues, such as plugs, entranceways and fixed pieces of furniture, will also dictate the configuration of a room. To create a functional sitting room layout, take measurements and record them digitally or on squared paper. Include windows, radiators and doors (and the direction in which they open) and draw your floorplan to scale. There are several online planners which will help calculate the scale size. When it comes to plotting new furniture, it’s easier to work from big to small. Make 2D cut-outs of your furniture (using accurate measurements) and arrange them in your plan. Experiment with different designs until you find something that works for your home.

How to arrange sitting room furniture

As mentioned, start big. Rugs, sofas and coffee tables are good starting points because they take up the most space. If you own a special piece of art or an heirloom, you may want to use this as a focal point to guide the design of the room.

If you would like your sitting room to feel welcoming and lived in, fill it with rustic-style pieces, patterned textiles and classic lamps. If you adore minimalist décor, choose furniture crafted from metal, acrylic and glass and decorate using cooler tones. Designs constructed from clear materials blend into a space, resulting in a contemporary, uncluttered look.

If you’re buying a new sofa, decide where it will sit in the room and don’t choose one that is too big – it will overwhelm and make a space look smaller than it actually is. If you have children or pets, picking one with loose covers that can be easily removed for cleaning may be a good idea.

Coffee tables are slightly easier, as there are only so many different shapes and materials to choose from. A round design will counterbalance a rectangular sofa or a lounge following a rectangular layout as its smooth curves will break up the monotony. Square designs are simple yet effective; a design with an extra shelf below or one that can double up as an ottoman is an added bonus.

Once you’ve got all your statement pieces, introduce other components, including side tables, storage, cushions and throws. As soon as these are installed, it’s time to think about accessories….

Decorating with accessories

No space is complete without accessories. They allow us to put our own stamp on a room, reflecting our interests and personality. At OKA, we love to mix textures, colours and materials, designing pieces that complement treasured antiques and contemporary pieces alike – so don’t worry about mixing your Great Grandmother’s china with modern sculptures and bold prints. This juxtaposition of different styles can work well together.

Display accessories at different levels. Storage and wastepaper baskets can be tucked under a desk, adorn your coffee table with ornaments (if you’re worried about this looking untidy, use a decorative tray to compartmentalise your collection), hang wall art and illuminate with chandeliers and floors lamps.

Along with textiles, new accessories are a quick and easy way to introduce colour and transform your scheme. They can be effortlessly changed from season to season and repurposed around the rest of your home.