New home owners often face the issue of making their property feel liveable and cosy, which can be a challenge when you are neither inspired nor have the know-how to style the space.
A good way to tackle this issue would be to start by giving character and personality to your living room, the area that tends to be the centre of all homes.
The majority of homes, especially landed properties and condominiums, are based around open-plan living and dining spaces.
Here are eight things to consider.
#1 PLAN THE LAYOUT
Ensure that the layout of the room is conducive to entertaining and that it is more than just a space for two people facing a television screen.
Focus on creating a layout that encourages interaction among the inhabitants. The arrangement should feel comfortable before you move on to decorate the space.
A sectional or three-seater sofa is ideal for positioning groups of people so they can interact with one another, but such furniture items can be a tough fit for a small living room.
If that is the case, look at enhancing the atmosphere with mood lighting. You will be surprised by how ambient lighting helps to facilitate conversation among those present.
The following is a list of items to consider when styling your living room:
• X-bench or small ottoman
• Ceramic stool
• Table lamp or floor lamp
• Small coffee tables that vary in shape or one large coffee table
• An indoor palm tree to create a tropical atmosphere and to place at odd corners
#2 SCENT IS IMPORTANT
Every home has its own smell, which is a reflection of the home owner's character as it is an extension of his or her preference.
Do not neglect to light a scented candle in the evening. The evening is a time to unwind, relax and recharge, so opt for soothing scents such as lavender or lemongrass to help you ease into the mood.
#3 PICK DECORATIVE ACCESSORIES
Finding interesting decorative items to dress up your abode is probably the most enjoyable part of putting your dream home together.
However, many urban dwellers tend to overlook this aspect, owing to a lack of time or budget. It is common to find many apartments here devoid of accessories, such as glass hurricanes, books or wall art.
These items actually say more about your personality than a sofa or a scatter cushion and are essential additions if you want to soften the feel of your space.
#4 DRESS UP THE VERANDA
Living areas in condominium apartments are usually small, but the space can be enlarged by dressing the veranda so that it becomes an extension of the living room.
Make sure to include in your styling budget provisions for large planters with star jasmine, which flowers all year round. Top the look off with battery-operated lights to highlight the greenery and create mood lighting in the evenings.
#5 DO NOT FORGET THE COFFEE TABLE
A coffee table, no matter the size of the room or whether you have small children, needs to be dressed. Otherwise, its presence feels heavy and cold.
It does not need to be cluttered, but a few key items of varying heights will do the trick, for instance:
• Faux orchid or real flowers in a bud vase
• Coffee-table book or stack of magazines
• Box to hold remote controls
• Tray to anchor the pieces
If you do not have the space, consider two square or three round tables of different sizes.
Use nickel or brass finishes, or textured sides, to add interest.
#6 PUT UP WALL ART
The wall behind the sofa must have something on it. But you do not have to wait to find the perfect art piece. Use black-and-white photographs of your family (enlarged to a suitable size) or use hand-coloured prints to create a statement wall.
#7 GIVE THOUGHT TO HOW YOU STYLE YOUR DINING TABLE
While local home owners prefer to keep surfaces neat and free of accessories, it can result in the dining table looking cold and uninviting.
Adding pizzazz to your dining area does not have to mean cluttering the table with plenty of knick-knacks.
Small touches, such as the placement of a simple floral arrangement or tealight candles in beautiful holders, can create a significant difference in enhancing the surrounding ambience.
#8 JAZZ UP THE KITCHEN COUNTERTOP
Kitchen countertops should be treated as though they are side buffet stations or a console.
An easy way to jazz up the space would be to add a series of glass jars with limes or lemons or place two large glass vases with fresh flowers on either end of the kitchen bench.
This leaves space for using the countertop, but also dresses it for the evenings and when not in use.
version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 10, 2019, with the headline 'My Home, My Style', and first appeared in the April 2019 issue of Home & Decor, which is published by SPH Magazines.