If you've decided to decorate your living room in a classic or traditional style, this second part of our two part series will provide you with some wonderful tips and ideas...

Furnishings

Elegance and comfort are essential elements of the classic style living room. Choose a boxy-shaped sofa with comfortable, soft cushions covered in a longwearing woven stripe or damask. Team it with a selection of different seating styles, covered in toning but different fabrics. This looks more natural than a matching suite, and you can pick up bargains to revamp. A chesterfield or chaise longue adds an authentic touch.

Glass-fronted cupboards are perfect for displaying favorite china or old books. Chests and trunks with upholstered tops - or draped with a shawl or throw - provide a useful surface, and hidden storage space, too. Modern items such as the TV and stereo are best tucked away in built-in storage systems.

Look for small decorative tables to hold lamps and collections of silver-framed photos; or buy inexpensive particleboard tables and disguise them with matching floor-length circular cloths trimmed with deep fringing.

Create a soft, atmospheric glow with careful lighting. If you have a central chandelier, fit a dimmer switch so you can create a candle-like glimmer. Wall lights, table lamps, and floor lamps, or candles set around the room, create pools of warm light. Large Chinese-style vases in blue and white or green provide good lampbases; wood stained to a mahogany or ebony finish on brass bases are also ideal. Fit them with a simple parchment or pleated silk shade.

Large, gilt-framed landscapes or portraits look suitably imposing, together with a large framed mirror over the fireplace. Architectural engravings or botanical prints in narrow black frames add a sophisticated touch. Hang them in groups, perhaps linked with a picture bow or stick-on, printed classical swags and borders.

Choose ornaments carefully, avoiding a cluttered look; a single big plaster bust - some museums sell copies of original antiquities - placed on a side table or in the hearth, has real impact. Symmetry is an important element - matching stylized china dogs or cats either side of the hearth is a typical classic look; or place matching china figurines on the mantelpiece.

Details

Small touches can create the impression of graceful living that typifies classic style. Flowers are always important; create a big, splashy formal display of greenery and twigs, and supplement it with fresh flowers in season. Place bowls of scented dried flower heads or potpourri on tables for a drift of perfumed air.

Handworked items, such as tapestry cushions, old silver, and leather-bound books, create a sense of the past. Group objects together carefully to complement each other.
 
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