This month our guest blogger is the Founder and Principal designer of GRAY & Co Interior Design, Graham Simmonds.

Over the course of the next four weeks Graham has shared with us his tips for updating our home over winter so that we are summer ready.  From a makeover to freshen your home to a complete room renovation, Graham has prepared for us his expertise on styling and renovating your home. We have been working with Graham with our members and it is now time to share his amazing talent with our community to embark on their winter renovation projects.

Graham is committed to designing spaces that his clients love using and living in. Graham’s design aesthetic is always evolving, but the philosophy that lies at the heart of GRAY & Co is BALANCE, SYMMETRY, and PROPORTION. Drawing inspiration from art, travel, and the environment, you will know a GRAY & Co design by the level of sophistication and the perfect balance between style and comfort.

Founded in 2015, GRAY & Co is a full-service residential design firm with a focus on highend residential projects and boutique commercial spaces. However, we are also available for smaller, single room transformations and believe luxury is accessible to everyone. GRAY & Co prides itself on delivering stunning, inviting spaces on any budget.

At GRAY & Co, we approach each project from the ground up and will be there from the initial consult until the last cushion is placed. Graham believes in a close and collaborative relationship with his clients to ensure that their new or updated home reflects their personality, culture and desires.

In addition to interior design services, you can experience Graham’s aesthetic by shopping his curated furniture and decor collection on the GRAY & Co online store. Located in Darlinghurst, Sydney, Australia, GRAY & Co’s work includes residential and commercial projects in Sydney, Jakarta, and New York City.

This week our feature is all about the LIVING ROOM.

So often when we move into a new home or apartment, we place our furniture in the same configuration as the previous tenants or owners. Sofas pushed up against walls or arranged to get the perfect vantage point of the TV. But something very important to think about when designing your ideal living room, is how YOU would like to use it. It’s a deeply personal decision.

As early as the late 19th century, the “Living Room” of a house was actually called a “Parlour”. The term was derived from the Latin word “parlare” which means “to speak”. It was a place for sitting and talking to members of the family or guests.

Would you like to use your living room the way it was originally intended to be used? Or do you want to make it more of a media room or games rooms? Anything is possible in a living room and this is one of the most fun rooms to decorate!

Here are some simple suggestions that can drastically change the way you use the space without knocking down any walls…

Paint: Even if your walls are already white. I can’t tell you how much another coat of fresh white paint will lift the room. A nice blank slate will remove all of the previous tenants fingerprints and make the room sparkle. If you like a little more drama, my advice would be to update the walls with a warm mid tone grey.

Rug: With one of the highest price-tags of any single piece in your home, choosing a rug for your living room is tough.

The three key considerations are:

  • Size – This is the most important part of the selection process. A living room rug needs to be (at the very least) big enough to fit all of the front legs of your furniture on them.
  • Fibre – Natural fibres like cotton and sisal tend to give a more casual look. Whereas wool and silk tend to be more formal.
  • Design/Style – Anything from abstract designs to subtle solid colours. The world is your oyster and it really comes down to personal taste. Have fun with a rug. Keep within your colour palate for the rest of the room and it will always work!

Window furnishings: Add some sheer curtains to soften the room and diffuse any light that can cause glare on the TV.

Accent furniture: I just felt you cringe! Furniture has come a long way from that matching mahogany living room set your grandparents owned. Guess what?! Your TV unit does not need to match your coffee table and side tables. Play around scale and shape, particularly when it comes to side tables.

Soft Furnishings: Fresh new scatter cushions and a cosy throw on the end of a sofa is not only an opportunity to add colour, but also personalises the space and can be used to tie in that new rug!

Artwork: Create a focal point that isn’t the TV. The larger the scale the better in a living room. Let’s make an impact and start a conversation! If you’re not into art or rather spend your money on something else, print black and white family snaps and then frame them in simple white or black frames to create the perfect gallery wall.

TV: That big black rectangle on your wall can now go! But don’t fear – technology has come a long way. Samsung offer a framed TV that displays digital artwork when its not in use. Other companies offer custom framed mirrors that cover the TV and turn to clear glass when the TV is in use.

Lighting: Having lots of different lighting levels is imperative in creating a living room that you want to spend time in. The glow of the TV is not enough. Table lamps and floor lamps are fantastic to create ambience.