Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen reveals why you should never put furniture against the wall

Make a 'glamorous island' in your living room
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  • Sometimes we know a room in our home isn’t quite ‘working’ but it’s not always easy to pinpoint the problem. During a recent appearance on This Morning, interiors expert and former Changing Rooms host Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen helped a caller named Nicolle with her design dilemma.

    Related: Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen’s tips to make a living room cosy – the colour that ALWAYS does the trick

    From his vibrant Cotswolds home, Laurence revealed a simple trick to help make a space feel more welcoming – and you won’t have to spend a penny.

    sofa furniture away from wall

    Image credit: Future Publishing Ltd

    Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen’s furniture layout tip

    Laurence first highlighted a key issue with Nicolle’s living room. ‘The big problem you’ve got is agoraphobia. All of your furniture is backed to the wall so it’s making the spaces feel very unfurnished,’ he said.

    ‘Bring the sofa unit into the middle of the space a little bit more and maybe a rug, a nice bright, orange, citrussy or red rug in the middle of the space will make it feel like a comforting and rather glamorous island.’

    Not all of us will have enough space to slide our furniture into the middle of the room, but if you do have some extra square footage to play with, it’s definitely worth experimenting. Paradoxically, it can make a space feel bigger with furniture given a little more space, even if it’s just an Ikea Billy bookshelf pulled an inch away from the wall.

    Plus, if there’s some space behind your furniture, it might make it slightly easier to whizz round the room with the vacuum cleaner.

    Moving furniture around and trying every layout possible can have surprising results and transform how you use a room, reducing the dread we might feel for the upcoming spring clean.

    sofa furniture away from wall

    Image credit: Polly Eltes

    If you love watching films in the evening but the TV isn’t actually in a spot where you can view it for an extended period of time without getting neck ache, something needs tweaking.

    Does each piece of furniture earn its place in the room or could it be better placed elsewhere, or even removed entirely?

    When moving furniture around it’s worth considering the flow of energy and the pathways in the room. Can you walk easily through the room or are you turning sideways and shuffling past? An armchair sticking out so that it’s harder to walk through a space will be immediately apparent.

    This Morning viewer Nicolle also wanted advice on how to brighten up and add colour into her grey and beige living room, and Laurence suggested using a darker colour in the area with more natural light to stop it feeling overly bright.

    This goes against much advice out there on embracing a darker room with dark paint rather than trying to make it brighter with brilliant white. But, there are no concrete rules in interiors, and if you love how your space is decorated, that’s all that matters.

    ‘But I love what you’ve done there,’ he said. ‘I love the panelling, I love the colour palette. It’s all very distinguished, grown-up and gentlemanly. I just think it needs an injection of a bit of a feminine touch.’

    sofa furniture away from wall

    Image credit: Simon Whitmore

    Related: What to expect from Interior Design Masters series 2 on BBC Two

    Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen is guest judge in the first episode of Interior Design Masters, helping Michelle Ogundehin to scrutinise the designs of the competition’s ten contestants.

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