Lemony Living Room Lemony Living Room

After a long, white winter, there's nothing quite like a springtime mix of color and style to brighten up a home, so our Room of the Month for March is this bright living room.

As we do every month, we'll examine this room in terms of function, mood and harmony - Sheffield's Three Guidelines to Interior Design. Over the years, we've found this to be a highly effective way of analyzing the décor of any room and these principles can be applied to a kitchen, bath, living room - even to a garden or a garage.

Here, we'll look first at the function of this room. It's obviously a living room, and a somewhat old-fashioned one at that. The owners of this room aren't asking it to fill more than one function, as happens in a more modern open floor plan with a combined kitchen/living area, or in a loft, where the space is designed to change, chameleon-like, from an area for dining to living to entertaining to sleeping.

Here, the function is clearly relaxation and entertaining on a small scale, and for that function, this room works quite well. The sofa and chair sit catty-corner to one another, creating a good conversation area. The larger sofa can seat three or four, and the matching easy chair can seat another person, making this room ideal for entertaining for two couples, or for just hanging out with the family.

The over-sized coffee table here provides a handy place for quests to rest their drinks or desserts, with a minimum of awkward reaching. And for relaxing alone or with a few family members, this living room provides enough space for lounging with a book or while watching the flames flicker in the fireplace. The lamp on the mantle provides reading light for the far end of the sofa.

In terms of function, this room could be improved with the addition of another reading light, perhaps a floor lamp standing between the sofa and the chair. Also, if the owners wanted to provide more seating, they could install another chair, or better yet, a loveseat, opposite the sofa. This would obscure the fireplace a bit, which would be unfortunate, but the benefit would be extra seating and more complete look.

The mood of the room is casually-elegant. It's a traditional look, but updated by being kept simple. The designer has made good use of a traditional color combination, with yellow walls trimmed in white for the crown molding, the frame for the window, and the fireplace and built-in bookshelves. The white sofa and chair continue this mood, as the white lends itself to a more formal look, while the over-stuffed, curved look of the furniture is more casual.

In terms of harmony, this room is totally pulled together. Staying with the yellow and white color scheme has kept everything working in concert, and allows the polished wood of the floor to really stand out, especially since it's accented by the wood table. The colors are what really make this room work so well: yellow, white, and a bit of green in the accents of the basket of apples and the flowers.

In fact, going back to our earlier suggestion of adding a loveseat, we'd choose one in a patterned fabric, either floral or stripes, in yellow and pale green, to bring out the color choices a little more fully. Thinking still of harmony, this room could also benefit from a rug, either in a sisal or in a yellow-white-and-green combination. That could be all that's needed to complete the look of this cheerful, comfortable living room.

Reprinted with permission from the Sheffield School of Interior Design

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