Creating a Light and Airy Living Room Creating a Light and Airy Living Room

In much of the United States, the month of November is synonymous with "dark and dreary," so it's fitting that the Room of the Month is this light and airy living room that calls up a feeling of bright optimism.

This living room could be in a summer home on Cape Cod or a year-round beach house in Florida or Southern California.

Let's look at this room with the three Sheffield Guildelines of Interior Design in mind: function, mood, and harmony.

First, we see that the function is to provide a place for people to socialize with each other, as is the primary function of any living room. Imagine a party held in this room, and you'll quickly see that the seating allows for at least two groups to form. If a living room setup forces the conversation to remain focused on one person, the party will become stilted, as everyone begins to feel compelled to listen to the one talkative person holding forth on the details of his trip to Illinois.

But in this living room, three or four people could sit on the comfortable sofa, and one person could sit on each of the easy chairs, forming two separate conversational groups. A third group could form on and around the small settee by the window.

Keeping function in mind, the coffee table allows a place for guests to put their drinks or food.

The mood of this room is nothing but cheerful. The white ceiling gives the room an airy feeling, even though the ceiling isn't very high; the illusion of a high ceiling is created, and with this comes the feeling of light-heartedness. The pale pink walls, light carpet, and light fabrics on the furniture contribute to this feeling.

This room also has quite a feminine feeling to it: the floral painting on the wall, the cluster of peonies on the table, the ruffled sofa skirt and the dominance of pink all contribute to this feminine feeling.

How about the harmony here? Everything fits, and many elements of the room are bound to one another by color. The striped armchair is wedded to the pillows on the sofa with the same fabric, and the curtains pull the whole room together by being of this same print.

There is nothing heavy in this room. The furniture is either light, with spindle legs and wicker, or it is of a light color: the heaviest piece, the sofa, is made with the lightest color fabric, an off-white that's even paler than the pale pink walls. The bookcase, which could be seen as sounding a lower note in this room, is off to the side, partly hidden by the plant and one of the chairs.

By harmonizing the colors and styles, this room creates a feeling that's so bright and airy it could cheer up anyone, even if you're looking at it from a gloomy Seattle or Maine November afternoon.

Reprinted with permission from the Sheffield School of Interior Design

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