When it comes to our wardrobes, there’s a notable difference between simple and sophisticated style. Simple is characterised by a Little Black Dress; sophisticated is said LBD with the perfect pair of drop earrings, a killer pair of heels and a slick of red lips to tie it all together. And the same goes for our homes.
Despite its characteristically composed aesthetic, a truly sophisticated interior takes much more effort than it appears, but the end result makes the work so worth it.
– Linda Holmes, LuxDeco Creative Director
Starting with a timeless cream canvas and beautiful architectural features, Linda went about transforming the formal living room of this stunning Georgian design townhouse. “The Georgian style was, by its very nature, utterly sophisticated,” the London-based interior designer reveals, “but instead of recreating the look I wanted to reinterpret it, channeling its sophistication into a more contemporary incarnation.” Which is exactly what this interior succeeds in. Via tailored shapes, a pop of colour and a gallery of perfect finishing touches, the design is straight from the classic contemporary design handbook.
A cocktail of slick silhouettes and traditionally-informed pieces strike a stylish balance in keeping with the classic environment as well as being desirably up-to-date. The matching consoles and coffee table maintain a refined aesthetic whilst a chic sofa nods to the design’s heritage. “A clean-lined sofa is the appropriate choice for a formal living room,” Linda explains, “This is a place to entertain and make your best impressions so smart pieces in luxurious fabrics are a must.” Piped detailing and luxurious velvet make a stylish pairing and epitomise the smart sensibility that a formal entertaining space exudes.
As one of the room’s foundational neutrals, the sofa’s silvery grey hue is the ideal counterpart to the warm cream tones of the walls. Once the base colour palette was set, it was time for a colour boost. “I love the versatility of a greige colour palette but it needs that zing. Neutrals always need an injection of colour otherwise it just becomes bland and uninteresting,” Linda reveals. Speaking of her controlled use of colour in this London property, the designer says, “Chartreuse is a wonderful addition. It really brings the colours alive and works especially well when a room leads to a garden area as it creates the vision of space.”
Here, carefully placed pops of lively colour – silky cushions and refreshing greenery – promote an appreciation for its neutral scheme in a way which a colourless one wouldn’t. In a bright space like this – with a wall of near floor-to-ceiling French doors flanking one side – the effect is one of subtle recognition of the recent return of spring and prevents the look being too subdued.
“With such a controlled colour palette, I also made sure to include a variety of objets,” Linda discloses, “Without them, a room always feels underdressed.” In essence, these finishing touches are the accessories of your room’s wardrobe. Room jewellery, if you will. And, as with sartorial accessories, of course, proportion control and quantity require skill to get right.
Linda reminds us, “Sophisticated doesn’t have to mean small.” In fact, according to the designer, it shouldn’t. “Oversized cushions were the only way this large sofa was ever going to look suitably dressed and they add comfort to an otherwise formal piece,” she explains, “Similarly, a grand chandelier is often the only option for a high ceiling. The rule is that as long as a piece adds to and doesn’t overpower a space, sophistication is guaranteed.” Words to live by, indeed.
Having said that, often, a curated array of smaller pieces is the only way to really complete a look and this is where a sound understanding of quantity is valued. “The trick is to discover where your room needs interest and arrange and rearrange until you find the perfect assortment of heights, silhouettes and sizes,” advises Linda. In light of this interior’s exciting vignettes – a trio of bone-covered objets, a set of polished pewter vases and a pair of crystal obelisks – it’s clear that that’s sage advice. “Tabletop accents draw the eye in and make an inviting environment of such a high ceilinged room.”
Accessories were also an easy way to include the textures Linda wanted to incorporate into your space. “On a project of this magnitude, textures are vital. I especially love this woollen area rug,” enthuses Linda, “It adds underfoot comfort and anchors the seating arrangement perfectly. And the choice of glossy finishes was deliberate as well because they counterbalance the depth of the dark wood.” Like she said, a sophisticated room requires much more work than it seems. But who could complain when the result is as stylish as this?