While it might invite long sessions of television viewing or relaxing reading, lounge furniture design and decor doesn’t have to be lazy. Rather, I view rooms designated for relaxing as the perfect place for homeowners to express their aesthetic preferences through furniture and décor that fits their hobbies, habits, and home while offering a balance of comfort and style.
Defining your style is one of the first steps in selecting lounge furniture that is both practical and pleasing to the eye. To help, here’s a 10-question quiz from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that gauges your answers about lifestyle to determine whether you’re personal style resonates with a modern aesthetic, a traditional look or somewhere in between. The quiz offers a good starting point, however no matter the results, you shouldn’t be afraid to blend vintage styles with modern design, or to balance comfort with practicality as you create relaxing rooms uniquely suited to you and your home.
Homeowners can also look to hotels for inspiration, noting how lounge furniture is used in lobby and patio design to make guests comfortable in common spaces both indoors and out.
Perhaps you love the contemporary black-and-white heavy décor of the Adelphi Hotel in Melbourne, where the reception area looks more like a trendy art gallery than a traditional hotel lobby. Or maybe you favour the Hotel Palisade in Sydney, which employs vintage maritime themes in its ground-floor Public House, while offering “contemporary charisma” in the Henry Deane on its top two floors. There, you’ll find a salon and lounge complete with stunning harbour views and comfortable sofas in hues of salmon and soft grey.
Once you’ve defined your style, you can start selecting lounge furniture to fit. If you have the space, few pieces balance sophistication and comfort as well as a chaise lounge. As a chair and ottoman in one, the chaise lounge offers both leisure and luxury across a wide range of specific styles. A chaise lounge with clean lines could make for a modern feel without sacrificing comfort.
Leather upholstery paired with a metal frame could offer a minimalist or masculine feel. Pretty pillows paired with an overstuffed chaise could provide a feminine feel and a spot that’s ideal for curling up with a good book or settling down for an afternoon nap.
Chairs offer even more variety and flexibility when it comes to styles, colours, and materials; homeowners shouldn’t be shy when it comes to mixing and matching. Gone are the days when living areas were defined and dominated by a set of identical wing chairs and a matching sofa.
Instead, modern lounge furniture design lends itself to an eclectic combination that might include the Clementine High Back Chair and the Maxwell Chair in the same room, with the décor tied together by interesting textiles, unique accessories, and complementary colours throughout.
Long the centrepiece of many lounge spaces (not unlike my Melody Sofa, pictured above), the sofa is subject to some fresh trends in 2016 that offer a nod to classic craftsmanship. Tufted upholstery and hand-applied nailhead trim are hot this year and offer a sophisticated, ornate style that lends itself to large, luxuriously appointed living spaces.
For those on the other side of the sofa spectrum, there are smaller options including settees, loveseats, and two-seat sofas, some of which also employ tufting and hand-applied trim. These practical pieces, perfect for apartment dwellers and small-home enthusiasts, also offer a wide range of choices when it comes to colour, style, and material for those who don’t want their limited floor space to limit their lounge options.
Lounge furniture design isn’t all about overstuffed upholstery. Environmentally sustainable natural materials, like those used throughout the décor at 1 Hotel South Beach, are a great way to showcase an organic style and bring the outdoors in.
Glass and metal, often more closely associated with exterior architecture and industrial design, also have a place in lounges and living rooms. For example, a glass coffee table adds elegance to any room. Because of its timeless material that lets other aspects of a room take centre stage, a glass-topped table can fit any décor. Its transparent top can also create an illusion of extra space while giving you the chance to layer other elements of your décor below it, on its shelves, or on its spotless surface.
Metal can also serve as ideal contrast to soft sofas and comfortable chairs and chaise lounges without creating a feeling of clinical coldness. Consider on-trend pieces like the Swanson Tiered Spot Table, which features a silver leaf finish that softly graduates from brass to silver, or the Florence Coffee Table that mixes silver and gold. Mixing metals in the same piece not only adds visual interest, but makes furniture easier to adapt to any space and style.
Maybe a monochromatic theme best suits your style. If so, use a variety of textures and hues of the same shade to create visual interest and eliminate boredom in the space. For instance, a winter-white tufted sofa paired with pieces that include touches of white stone and marble can help make a tranquil white interior anything but bland.
If you’re still trying to settle on a colour palette, try introducing a few small accessories as an experiment. Like white, cool colours including shades of blue and grey can create calm spaces perfect for relaxing after a hectic day. Or, if bright colours call you, don’t be afraid to go bold. For example, the Bridget Lounge Chair from Coco Republic features a 70’s-inspired design with contemporary updates and colour choices that could make it part of your home’s signature style.
No matter what that style is, if you let it lead you - while also considering how the colour, materials, furniture, and accessories you’ve chosen work together - you’ll be well on your way to designing a room that encourages leisure without sacrificing looks.