Study Mode 3: Adding Warmth

I have chosen this living room as an example of a cool space that I believe can be made warm and more intimate without drastic changes.

The concrete floors, monochrome colour palette with vast white wall surfaces, minimal furniture, and crisp clean lines in the glass doors, low box table and the smooth surface in the furniture pieces really create a cool living space. The light is quite bright, ceiling high and there is minimal pattern or texture that the space itself feels large and open.

With a focus on the principles of balance and harmony, making changes in relation to the design elements of shape, colour, pattern, texture, and light can transform this room.

  • Shape; adding some more circular shapes into the room with soft furnishing such as cushions and a floor rug will not only complement the two existing coffee tables but soften the hard lines present.  Curves lines and shape evoke a calmer sense to the space.  The couch itself, although difficult to ascertain in this photo, should be large with rounded edges, fabric not leather (to add texture and warmth) with soft inviting cushions to sink into, softening the hard lines of the table legs, fireplace mantle and door frames.
  • Colour; an obvious design choice to warm this room is to add colour, but in keeping with the monochrome theme this could simple be adding some more grey tones to the space. A softer warmer white on the walls rather than crisp cool white or even pale grey walls would draw the space in a little and feel more contained.  The room appears quite large so you could be quite daring with dark colour tones and not shrink the room greatly and if your client was not apposed, adding just an additional colour of warmth into the room’s accessories; floor rug, potted plants, artwork or soft furnishings can immediately imply a more cosy atmosphere and a pop of colour can encourage an atmosphere of fun and activity. Adding a feature wall, wallpaper or large art canvas would also bring texture and pattern to the space creating warmth.
  • Pattern/Texture; this space has no pattern, it’s all block colours and the textural elements are smooth surfaces that inherently feel cold and hard. A patterned rug would help define the space but also create warmth.  Placed under the coffee tables, in front of the fireplace and couch invites a sense of intimacy and gathering on how the space may be utilised.   A large luxurious throw over the couch, multitudes of cushions in textured or patterned materials (wools/velvet), candles on shelves, baskets in warm natural fibres to store magazines etc are all aesthetic changes that don’t have to cost a fortune or be drastic changes but will make the space feel warmer.  Draping fabric, curtains or even simple bunting over the open doors would also help the space feel contained and cosy.
  • Light; apart from the floor lamp near the couch it is hard to see what light sources are being used. Adding a large pendant light with a circular patterned or textured shade in the centre of the room would draw the ceiling down. This could be a real point of emphasis in the room too.  Add a dimmer switch it could be used to create an intimate mood in evenings.  As I mentioned earlier the presence of candles would also offer a warm ambient light source.

I believe with these various changes the room would still keep its contemporary feel, be balanced with the rhythm and repetition of shape and textures and have a feeling of warmth we are after.


June 30, 2015 by Sharee Potter

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.