June 25

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Expert Tips: How to Create an Elegant Formal Living Room with Designer Emma Sims Hilditch

How to design a formal living room – designer Emma Sims Hilditch's tricks for creating smart spaces

Designing a formal living room can be a daunting task. You want to create a space that is elegant and sophisticated, but also comfortable and inviting. Designer Emma Sims Hilditch understands the challenges that come with designing a formal living room and has some expert advice to help you create a beautiful and functional space.

One of the first things Sims Hilditch advises is to consider the function of the room. A formal living room is often used for entertaining guests, so it’s important to think about how you can make the space comfortable and welcoming for your visitors. This might involve choosing furniture that is both stylish and comfortable, and creating a layout that allows for easy conversation and movement.

“A formal living room should have a focal point,” Sims Hilditch says. “This could be a fireplace, a beautiful window, or a piece of art. Having a focal point will help anchor the room and give it a sense of purpose.”

In addition to having a focal point, Sims Hilditch suggests bringing in elements of nature to create a more relaxed and inviting atmosphere. “Plants and flowers can really enhance a formal living room,” she says. “They bring life and color to the space and can help create a sense of calm and tranquility.”

Sims Hilditch also advises considering the lighting in your formal living room. “Lighting is key,” she says. “You want to create a warm and welcoming ambiance, so make sure you have a mix of different lighting sources, such as overhead lights, table lamps, and wall sconces.”

In terms of design trends, Sims Hilditch emphasizes the importance of staying true to your own personal style. “Trends come and go, but your personal style should always shine through in your home,” she says. “Don’t be afraid to mix and match different styles and pieces to create a space that feels uniquely yours.”

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How to design a formal living room

When it comes to designing a formal living room, there are many things to consider. The goal is to create a space that is elegant and sophisticated, while still being comfortable and inviting for guests. In order to achieve this, it is important to work with a designer who understands how to bring out the beauty of the room and turn it into a functional space.

Many designers, including Emma Sims Hilditch, have a knack for transforming homes into beautiful spaces.

According to Sims Hilditch, the founder and expert designer at Sims Hilditch, a formal living room should have a focal point, such as a fireplace or a large window. This will help to create a sense of balance within the room and give guests something to focus on.

When it comes to furniture and layout, Sims Hilditch advises that less is often more in a formal living room. By keeping the furniture and decor minimal, it allows the beauty of the room to shine through. She also suggests using pieces that are both stylish and comfortable, as this will encourage people to sit and relax in the space.

Sims Hilditch also believes in staying current with design trends, but warns against following them blindly. She says that while trends can be useful for gaining inspiration, it is important to design a formal living room that reflects the style and personality of the homeowner. This will ensure that the room feels personal and unique.

Overall, designing a formal living room requires careful planning and attention to detail. By working with an expert designer and following their advice, homeowners can create a space that is both beautiful and functional. To learn more about formal living room design ideas, sign up for our newsletter and receive the latest information straight to your inbox.

  • Consider a focal point like a fireplace or large window.
  • Keep furniture and decor minimal to let the beauty of the room shine through.
  • Choose stylish and comfortable furniture pieces.
  • Stay current with design trends, but customize them to reflect your style.
  • Work with an expert designer to create a beautiful and functional space.

1 Give a formal living room an everyday purpose

When it comes to designing a formal living room, many people often think of creating a space that is only meant for special occasions. However, according to designer Emma Sims-Hilditch, it’s important to give a formal living room an everyday purpose.

“Formal living rooms can be wonderful spaces that often go unused in many homes,” says Sims-Hilditch, founder of Sims Hilditch Design. “But this doesn’t mean they have to be neglected or turn into a museum-like space.”

So, what does Sims-Hilditch, an expert in creating smart spaces, advise? She suggests giving a formal living room a purpose that will make it more functional and inviting on a daily basis.

One idea is to turn the formal living room into a cozy reading room. “By bringing in a comfortable armchair, a side table with a table lamp, and some bookshelves, you can create a space where you can relax and enjoy a good book,” Sims-Hilditch says.

Another idea is to turn it into a home office. “With the right furniture and storage solutions, you can create a dedicated workspace within your formal living room,” she suggests. This way, you can work from the comfort of your own home without having to give up the beautiful and elegant design of the space.

Another purpose for the formal living room could be a space for entertaining guests. Sims-Hilditch advises incorporating comfortable seating, a coffee table or ottoman for drinks, and perhaps a bar cart for easy access to refreshments. This way, you can still host and entertain guests in a more formal setting without sacrificing functionality.

Sims-Hilditch also suggests considering the location of the formal living room within your house. “If it’s located near the kitchen or dining area, it could be transformed into a formal dining room,” she says. This way, you can have a separate space for dining that is still within easy reach of the kitchen.

No matter what purpose you give your formal living room, Sims-Hilditch assures that it should still reflect your personal style and taste. “It’s important to create a space that you love and feel comfortable in,” she says.

2 Add a fireplace

Adding a fireplace to a formal living room can instantly bring warmth and elegance to the space. According to designer Emma Sims Hilditch, a fireplace is an essential feature in any formal living room design. She advises that a fireplace should be placed in a central location within the room, so that it becomes a focal point for guests.

A fireplace not only adds visual interest to the room, but it also creates a cozy atmosphere. Sims Hilditch says that having a fireplace in a formal living room gives people a sense of comfort and relaxation, making them feel more at home.

There are many different fireplace designs to choose from, ranging from traditional to modern. Sims Hilditch recommends considering the overall design and style of the house when selecting a fireplace. It should be a beautiful and functional piece that complements the rest of the room’s decor.

In addition to its aesthetic appeal, a fireplace can also help to heat the room. Sims Hilditch suggests selecting a fireplace with good insulation and ventilation capabilities, so that it can efficiently warm the space without creating drafts or excessive heat.

To make the most of a fireplace, Sims Hilditch advises incorporating seating arrangements around it. This will allow guests to gather around the fireplace and enjoy its warmth. Placing a cozy armchair or a sofa near the fireplace can create a cozy and inviting spot for people to relax and socialize.

Finally, Sims Hilditch recommends considering the positioning of the fireplace in relation to windows. If possible, she suggests placing the fireplace near a window, as it will create a beautiful visual contrast between the warm glow of the fire and the natural light coming through the window.

In conclusion, adding a fireplace to a formal living room is a great way to bring warmth, elegance, and comfort to the space. It can serve as a focal point and create a cozy atmosphere for guests. By considering the overall design of the house, selecting a suitable fireplace design, and incorporating seating arrangements, homeowners can create a beautiful and functional space that will be enjoyed by all.

3 Rethink window treatments

3 Rethink window treatments

When designing a formal living room, one of the key elements to consider is window treatments. According to designer Emma Sims Hilditch, founder of Sims Hilditch design studio, the choice of window treatments can greatly impact the overall look and feel of the space.

Sims Hilditch advises homeowners to think beyond traditional curtains and blinds and to consider other options that can bring a touch of elegance and sophistication to the room. She says, “Window treatments should be used as an opportunity to enhance the design of the space and create a beautiful frame for the views outside.”

One idea she suggests is to incorporate window seats or banquette seating beneath the windows. This not only provides additional seating options for guests, but also creates a cozy and inviting atmosphere in the room. Sims Hilditch also recommends using Roman shades or sheer curtains in formal living rooms to allow natural light to enter the space while maintaining privacy.

Another trend that many designers are implementing in formal living rooms is the use of statement drapes. These are often made from luxurious fabrics such as velvet or silk and are designed to be a focal point in the room. Sims Hilditch says, “Statement drapes can add a touch of drama and elegance to a formal living room, especially if the room has high ceilings or a grand fireplace.”

In addition to these ideas, Sims Hilditch advises homeowners to consider the practical aspects of window treatments. For example, if the room receives a lot of sunlight, she suggests using window treatments that can filter or block out the light to create a comfortable environment. She also recommends taking into account any specific conditions or needs of the space, such as insulation or soundproofing.

Overall, when designing a formal living room, it is important to carefully consider the window treatments. They can not only enhance the design of the space, but also provide practical benefits and create a beautiful and inviting atmosphere.

4 Consider where art may be placed

4 Consider where art may be placed

When designing a formal living room, it is important to consider where art may be placed. Emma Sims Hilditch, founder of Sims Hilditch, says that art can bring a sense of beauty and personality to a space, so it should be carefully thought out.

Designers often recommend placing art above the fireplace in a formal living room. This creates a focal point for the room and draws attention to the artwork. However, Hilditch advises thinking outside the box and considering other areas where art can be displayed.

One idea is to place art above a window. This allows the artwork to be showcased without competing with other elements in the room. Another option is to create a gallery wall, where multiple pieces of art can be displayed together. This can give the room a more eclectic and dynamic feel.

Hilditch also advises considering the size and scale of the artwork. In a large, formal living room, a larger piece of art might be appropriate to fill the space and make a statement. In a smaller room, smaller pieces or a collection of smaller artworks might be more suitable.

Ultimately, the placement of art in a formal living room should reflect the style and preferences of the homeowners. Whether it is above the fireplace, above a window, or on a gallery wall, the artwork should complement the overall design of the room and create a visually pleasing space for guests to enjoy.

What is the difference between formal living room and informal living room

What is the difference between formal living room and informal living room

In the world of interior design, there are two main types of living rooms: formal and informal. Each type has its own unique characteristics and purpose, and understanding the differences between them can help you create the perfect living space for your home.

Formal Living Room

Formal Living Room

A formal living room is a space that is designed for entertaining guests and hosting formal events. It is often located near the front of the house and is intended to make a statement. The formal living room is usually more elegant and sophisticated in design, with attention to detail and luxurious furnishings.

For a formal living room, designer Emma Sims Hilditch advises incorporating classic elements such as a fireplace, grand chandelier, and large windows to bring in natural light and create a sense of grandeur. She suggests using rich fabrics, such as velvet and silk, and selecting furniture pieces that are stylish and well-crafted. The color palette should be timeless, with neutral tones and pops of color to create interest.

Hilditch also advises that formal living rooms should be symmetrical and have a clear focal point, such as a grand piano or a large piece of artwork. This helps create a sense of balance and harmony in the space.

Informal Living Room

An informal living room, also known as a family room or a casual living room, is a space that is designed for everyday use and relaxation. It is often located in a more central part of the house, such as near the kitchen, and is intended to be a comfortable and inviting space for the whole family to gather.

An informal living room can have a more laid-back and cozy design compared to a formal living room. It may feature comfortable seating options, such as oversized couches or recliners, and have a more casual color palette and decor. The space can also be more versatile and adaptable to different activities, such as watching TV, playing games, or simply spending time together as a family.

While formal living rooms may be more focused on style and aesthetics, informal living rooms prioritize comfort and functionality. Design trends for informal living rooms often include open floor plans, multi-purpose furniture, and the integration of technology to enhance the overall experience.

Ultimately, the difference between a formal living room and an informal living room lies in their intended use and design principles. A formal living room is designed to impress guests and create a sense of elegance, while an informal living room is centered around comfort and everyday use.


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