e-Design: A Cheerful Jeeves & Wooster Inspired Living Room
I’ve officially launched my e-Design services, and today I’m sharing a full design plan I put together for a UK client so you can see what my e-Design services include. My client, KP, wanted a Jeeves & Wooster-inspired living room (i.e. with 1930s Art Deco touches) that felt bright and cheery. He already had table lamps, a large gold mirror, and had recently picked up an Oriental coffee table on eBay. He loves leather furniture, and wanted a sofa bed for overnight guests. He lives in a rented house, so the walls had to stay white, and instead we decided to bring in colour in the furnishings.
KP’S JEEVES & WOOSTER-INSPIRED LIVING ROOM // DESIGN PLAN
This design plan brings together the styles you’re drawn to – Art Deco, Chinoiserie and a touch of English Traditional. Rather than serving as a one-stop shopping list, many pieces shown here are intended as inspiration for collection over time. The colour scheme is up to you, but has to come from one large piece that ties everything together – in this case, the rug. Buy that first before you spring for anything that isn’t a neutral colour.
The layout you already have works well.
RUG & COLOUR SCHEME //
The entire design plan hinges on the rug (the mood board shows this one). A large rug will anchor all the furniture, creating a sense of cohesion in the entire room. It will also absorb sound, reducing echoes and making the space feel cosy. It’s a key place to bring in colour, since your walls have to stay neutral.
The front feet of each piece of furniture should sit comfortably on the rug. For your space, it should be around 285cm x 310cm; a squarer shape would suit your room.
While one-of-a-kind rugs this size can be expensive (upwards of £2000), more affordable options are out there – set up an eBay alert for Kazak rug or Persian rug and see what comes up. Look for vibrant colours – this one uses a warm, corally-red (with yellow rather than blue undertones), duck egg blue and rich navy. We’re pulling these colours out through other elements in the room.
Another option, if you find a smaller rug that you love (it would still need to be at least 5’x 8’ or 152cm x 242cm), is to layer it on top of a larger jute rug. The natural texture will add another layer to the room, and these rugs can be very affordable – Ikea has a great-looking, soft option that costs £85.
SEATING // Option 1
The Chesterfield on the mood board meets a lot of your asks – it’s leather, it’s a sofa bed, and it’s a 1930s shape – slimmer and with cleaner lines than typical Chesterfields but still classic. This particular one is made in England and can be customized to meet your required level of firmness.
One or two curved-arm chairs would complement the sofa well – the similarly shaped arms echo the sofa’s curves, while the wooden legs will help create visual space, making the room feel bigger. Pull one of the colours from the rug for these – either a neutral stone/cream, or something more colourful. Based on the mood board rug, I’d choose upholstery in Ivory or Aqua.
There is also a small sofa option, which would work similarly well with the sofa bed.
If you kept this one in your living room (rather than moving it to your bedroom), I’d complement it with a sofa bed in a performance fabric (which would make it essentially wipe-able and very durable) rather than a second leather one. This will stop the room echoing and feeling cold, just like the rug. Here are a couple of options with similar lines to complement your existing sofa:
Your gorgeous view is a second focal point in the room, and framing that view will only enhance it. Curtains are also a key place to bring in a large dose of colour. Swapping out the existing beige ones would have a hugely transformative effect on the whole room. For this colour scheme, I’d pick some in a small-scale pattern (small so it won’t compete with the larger pattern on the rug), in a grounding navy.
These have an eyelet heading, so wouldn’t hang on your existing curtain rod, but you could mount a second rod and leave the existing one with just the curtains removed. It’s white, so it wouldn’t be overly noticeable, and you’ll only have a couple of holes to fill when you move out. Ikea sells affordable curtain rods (less than £20) in a range of styles that look just as good as much more expensive options, and would be great in a rental where you don’t want to invest much.
I’d pick a round side table to offset all the square angles in the room. This is a good spot to bring in some classic art deco style. Look out for something like this vintage piece on eBay, but try to match the wood tones of your existing furniture to keep it all unified.
TV STAND //
For the TV stand, look out for something with Art Deco, Oriental or Traditional lines that will fit between the wall scones. It needs to have space for electronic equipment, and ideally not be too deep so it doesn’t impose. The one you picked up on eBay recently, while not shown on the mood board, looks like it would work well.
COFFEE TABLE //
Your existing coffee table is a good scale and works well in the room. I’d echo the Oriental style with your existing ceramic lamp and the plant stand referenced below.
Plants add dimension to any space, and at least one large-scale, structural dose of greenery would work very well in your room. They can also make a huge difference to indoor air quality, eliminating a range of toxins. This blog post references some of the best low-maintenance air-purifying plants.
Ikea and Homebase are good places to look for affordable plants. As I mentioned above, using a Ming style pot will echo the Asian influence of your lamps and coffee table. The one in the mood board is from the US, but this is another thing you could find on eBay.
Every room needs multiple light sources. You already have some great table lamps – both the brass base and/or the Oriental style ceramic ones work well. An established rule in interior design is that every room also needs a touch of black (or at least dark charcoal) in it, which you could bring in with a lamp shade or two. I’d also add a touch of black in the floor lamp – this one, while more 50s-esque, would still feel at home with its slim, unobtrusive yet resoundingly stylish shape. It would echo the other gold finishes you have, and provide good task lighting for reading on the sofa:
Your existing large frame would look great filled with the type of graphic architectural pieces you like. The mirror you already have also works well, and a group of three smaller paintings or prints on the final wall bringing in colours from your scheme would work well to tie the room together.
TIPS FOR CREATING A COHESIVE ROOM //
The Rule of Three //
Everything looks better in threes. Repeat every colour at least three times to make it look intentional. Group pictures or accessories in threes, providing they’re not stand-alone pieces.
While you mentioned preferring solids, adding in a few patterns creates dimension and interest in the room. Think about scale – use one large-scale pattern (e.g. on the rug), one medium (e.g. on a couple of the cushions) and one small-scale pattern (e.g. on the curtains).
KP didn’t have a specific budget in mind – he is aiming to find most things on eBay over time, but here’s the budget breakdown for the pieces I’ve listed:
Curtains – £190
Curtain Pole – £15
Plant Pot – £100
Plants – £60
Throw – £90
Art – £120
Mirror – already owned
Sofa Bed – £960
Floor Lamp – £250
2 Ikat Cushions – £50
2 Velvet Cushions – £70
Rug – £1000
Jute Rug (because the mood board one isn’t big enough) – £85