Elegant Living Room Elegant Living Room

Autumn is the time to come inside from the cold, cozy up with a book, and even, on a particularly chilly night, light a fire in the hearth. So this month we're taking a look at an elegant country living room, which is just the place many of us would like to be as the temperature begins to drop.

Let's see how this room works according to the Sheffield Guidelines to Interior Design: function, mood, and harmony.

Looking first at the function of this room, it's a comfortable refuge from the modern world, providing a place for the occupants to read or converse. It's also a room for entertaining - on the other side of the glass coffee table, there's a full-length sofa which matches the two chairs, so the room can easily accommodate four or even six people at a time.

The coffee table provides a place for guests to place their drinks, and offers enough room for a tea service or other tray. Each of the chairs also has its own spot for resting a drink, a book, or a magazine; one chair is next to a chest of drawers, the other has a table beside it.

Both chairs also have their own reading lamps, and this is an important point when considering the function of a room. If you want to provide a place for reading or other close work, remember that it's just as important to assign a lamp to that spot as it is to provide a chair. Both chairs are also next to windows, to allow for reading by natural light during the day, supplemented by the lamps.

The mood of this room is married to its function: it's calm, elegant, and serene. And yet, even though the room as a feeling of the old world, it's brought into the modern era in a few ways.

First, it's brightened up by the window treatments: these swaths of curtain draped over the heavy rods lend an air of elegance without blocking the light the way more formal drapes would. Along with this modern-yet-formal window treatment, the painting over the mantle and the glass coffee table also add enough of an up-to-date touch to keep the room from feeling stuffy or "over-done."

The mood is enhanced with the colors chosen. The deep red walls bring out the elegant mood, while the bright white mantle and ceiling echo the note of modernity.

Finally, this room harmonizes in terms of scale, lighting, and color. Notice how the furniture is all on the same scale: every piece is big, heavy, and solid. The glass table is wide and long enough to be on the same scale, but being of glass and not wood means it adds some lightness to the room. The lighting harmonizes, with the standing lamp and the table lamp in similar styles. And the color scheme of deep garnets, soft plums, and ivory is echoed from the rug and furniture to the walls and drapes.

This room is indeed an elegant refuge, saved from being too formal by the modern touches. It's the kind of room where a person could sink into one of those deep chairs by the fire and dream the winter away.

Reprinted with permission from the Sheffield School of Interior Design

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