French-born, New York-based interior designer Robert Couturier furnishes homes for the world’s glitterati. With clients that include writer (and Vanity Fair’s International Best-Dressed winner) Amy Fine Collins, hairstylist Frederic Fekkai, and billionaire Sir James Goldsmith, he has a portfolio of work that spans homes in Gstaad, Soho loft apartments, private Boeing 757s, Mexican hilltop palaces and some of the most luxurious properties on New York's Park Avenue. Top of ELLE DECOR's A-List and Architectural Digest’s best decorators and architects in the world, The Chosen Club caught up with him to exclusively find out what makes his living rooms the best in the business.
Create a beautiful smell
Memory is triggered by smell. The best one for me is Frederic Malle "Cafe Society". It is pleasant and warm and cozy.
To encourage family life and conversation, I never put TV's in my own or my client's living rooms. TV is a conversation killer and we come together in a living room to share life moments.
Put the best art in the living room
I hate showy. pompous living rooms - in fact I find them very unpleasant as one feels on display in them. The art and the expensive furniture pieces should be considered to be used and lived with as if they are our friends - good witnesses of our daily lives. A Living room to me should be like in French " Un Salon de Companie" a room to gather family and friends. A room in which art is integrated as part of living.
Make all seating very comfortable…
Although I have been known to sacrifice comfort to elegance... my grand-mother disliked sofas as they encouraged bad posture!!
Go large with your rugs
There is little that unifies a room more than a large rug; it brings the room together and, if proportioned well, pushes the limits of the room to the limits of the rug itself. You can have a collection of smaller rugs for a less formal and more collected look. Just remember, they need to still altogether take up almost the whole floor space.
Go for one seating arrangement
I am not really in favor of many different seating areas in living rooms (unless the room is extremely large), it gives a hotel look, which can only be elegant if the furniture is of great quality. I prefer a classic layout. If the size of the room allows, place 2 sofas and 2 armchairs by the fireplace with one sofa facing the fireplace.
Remember living rooms are for everyone
I always create living rooms that are open to dogs and children - after all they are what make our lives so wonderful. You can’t ever think of your interiors as a stage set.
Create ambient evening lighting
Soft, dimmed lights and lots of candles make everybody look good and rested! It also creates an atmosphere that feels softer, cozier and so much more comfortable!!
Put side tables next to all armchairs and sofas
This is my trick so one can easily put down a drink or a cup of coffee! I also like to leave a fairly large unoccupied space in the middle of the room to allow for guests gathering before dinners. Some people prefer standing with a drink in hands which I find bizarre.
Have the living room close to the Dining Room
It is fairly important for the living room to open into the dining room only because it makes a logical transition into seating down for a meal. I often have people gather in the library before dinner and in the living room after dinner. The library being fairly small it almost forces people who don't know each other to speak to one another. The living room being much larger, it allows people to spread around for relaxed comfortable conversation after dinner, it actually then becomes difficult to get people to leave.... which is a whole other problem!!