Today I’m sharing a full design plan I put together for a remote client, who asked for a blend of traditional English and Art Deco styles for his living room design scheme. If you’re curious as to what you get with Emmerson & Fifteenth’s Room Scheme Interior Design Service, this might give you a taste.
The client loved the set design on the TV show Jeeves & Wooster, and wanted 1930s Art Deco-inspired touches throughout his living room. He wanted to pair that with more traditional English country pieces, as well as a hint of Chinoiserie, and the space needed to feel bright and cheery.
Key Design & Function Requirements
The client listed the key requirements for the living room design as follows:
- Pastel colours
- Incorporate existing pieces: table lamps, a large gold mirror, and an Oriental coffee table
- Some leather seating
- Sofa bed for overnight guests
- Renter-friendly: retain existing white walls but bring in colour with furnishings
The Mood Board
Traditional/Art Deco Living Room Design Plan
This living room design plan combines three main design styles, all of which the client is drawn to – Art Deco, Chinoiserie and a touch of English Traditional.
Rather than serving as a one-stop shopping list, many pieces shown on the mood board are intended as inspiration for collection over time.
The different styles are all anchored together by a consistent colour palette defined by one statement piece that ties everything together – the rug. I’d recommend purchasing the statement piece first, and then making sure every subsequent purchase works in harmony with it.
The floor plan the client had already laid out worked well, with the large sofa opposite the gorgeous French doors onto the garden. Two armchairs flanking it create space for conversation and watching TV alike, and can be easily moved out of the way when the sofa is converted to a bed for overnight guests.
Marrying Art Deco & Traditional English Design Styles with An Anchor Piece
A large rug sets the cheery colour palette that will unite the different design styles. The front feet of each piece of furniture should sit comfortably on the rug, which will create a further visual anchor, emphasising the sense of cohesion. It’ll also absorb sound, reducing echoes and making the space feel cosy and calm.
Large one-of-a-kind rugs this size can be expensive. You could be looking at a couple of grand for something around this size – 280 x 310cm. There are ways to get the look on a budget though. Set up an eBay alert for Kazak rug or Persian rug and see what comes up.
Another option, if you find a smaller rug that you love (although don’t go too small), is to layer it on top of a larger jute rug. The natural texture will add another layer to the room, and jute rugs can be very affordable. Ikea has a great-looking, soft option that costs less than £100.
With any Room Scheme design service, I give alternative options for the bigger pieces in the space. For this living room design, I pulled in different options that featured Art Deco and/or Traditional English design elements.
OPTION ONE | The Chesterfield on the mood board meets a lot of the clients’ asks – it’s leather, it’s a sofa bed, and it’s a 1930s shape – slimmer and with cleaner lines than a typical Chesterfield. This particular one is made in England and the mattress firmness is customisable.
Two curved-arm chairs would complement the sofa well. The similarly shaped arms echo the sofa’s curves, while the wooden legs help create visual space, making the room feel bigger. These echo the duck egg tones in the rug.
OPTION TWO | The client already owned a gorgeous leather sofa, which he was debating using in another room.
If he decided to keep it in the living room, I’d choose a different sofa bed. This one complements the alternate design style, with similar lines on the arms.
Adding Interest with Textiles & Pattern
It’s often the little details that are overlooked in interior design, but those are the ones that elevate a well-designed space above just a “nice” room.
By bringing subtle texture and low-key pattern in varying scales through the soft furnishings, we’re able to keep the space looking intentional, layered and interesting.
Curtains are another key place to bring in a large dose of colour to a room with white walls. Swapping the existing beige rental curtains would have a transformative effect on the whole room, and better frame the French doors and their beautiful view. A small scale pattern avoids competition with the larger scale pattern on the rug, and the navy adds contrast to the room.
Even in a rental, the right window treatments are often a very worthwhile investment. You can pick up affordable curtain rods at big box stores like Ikea, and they’re and easy DIY to hang.
Curating A Room with Vintage Furniture
As I mentioned, a number of the pieces shown on this Art Deco meets English Traditional living room mood board were intended as inspiration pieces. The client was willing to put in some time and energy in order to find unique, vintage pieces of furniture.
I had a few recommendations to help with his search.
- Choose round side tables to offset all the square angles in the room and create a softer overall feel – Art Deco curves are perfect for this
- Try to match the wood tones of any existing pieces, or choose significantly lighter or darker tones to create a sense of intentional contrast
- Check out local antique shops, but also set up alerts on eBay and see what comes up over a few weeks
I can never stress enough the importance of a proper lighting scheme in any space. The client already had some Oriental table lamps, but I suggesting adding additional task lighting with a floor lamp. This one is unobtrusive but stylish, and echoes the other brass finishes in the room.
Tips for Creating A Cohesive Room Design
With a design scheme like this, where the client plans to execute the installation themselves, I give tips to keep in mind throughout the process. I’m always on hand to answer any questions or advise along the way. In this case, my key tips were:
1. The Rule of Three
Everything looks better in threes. Repeat every colour or finish at least three times to make it look intentional. Group pictures or accessories in threes, providing they’re not stand-alone pieces.
2. Mixing Patterns
This client didn’t like pattern, but I was keen to push him outside his comfort zone here. Adding in a few low-key patterns creates dimension and interest in the room, and will make all the difference. 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).
The client in this case didn’t start with a specific budget in mind. He is aiming to find most pieces over time on eBay, but here’s the breakdown for the pieces shown on the mood board (and a little refresher – this is a long post!)
Curtains – £190
Curtain Pole – £15
Plant Pot – £100
Plants – £60
Throw – £90
Art – £120
Mirror – already owned
Sofa Bed – £960
Floor Lamp – £250
2 x Ikat Cushions – £50
2 x Velvet Cushions – £70
Kazak Rug – £1000
Jute Rug (for layering under the Kazak rug) – £85
Coffee Table – already owned
Table Lamps – already owned
Lamp Shade – £50
2 x Armchairs – £1160
Side Table – £70
TOTAL – £4260