While compiling last week's Insider on 1970s style, I received an apt charity-shop gift from my nice neighbour: Rooms for Living, a 1976 Design Council paperback on the sitting-room. Despite its use of sunken sofas and giant toadstools, the brilliant tips are timeless. As the book is out of print, I'll share some here...
The lived-in look
"Create a room without living in it first and you will constantly bang shins on that table which, when the room was planned, seemed to be in just the right place."
Build a gallery in high-ceilinged living rooms, to add a separate relaxation area/spare bedroom. It could even be a temporary structure, "made from painted scaffolding". Clever – and that industrial look is right back in fashion.
Something old, something new
"Plain, simple modern furniture and blinds instead of curtains, can reveal the shape and character of a Victorian room, while boxy modern rooms often need a beautiful piece of old furniture for character."
Don't look back
If a kitchen nook or a cluttered work alcove in a white living-room is painted a bright colour, "the eye will notice the colour not the clutter".
"The harsh light from a high, central ceiling pendant neither selects good points nor disguises bad ones." Stuck with one? "Use a cord-deflector and longer flex to take it over a coffee or dining table." (Try historiclighting.co.uk.)
Out with the in crowd
Beyond everything else, forgo fashion: "To live with a style with which you are not completely in sympathy is to place continual strain on every aspect of life at home." Hear, hear.
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