As far as the art of interior design goes, the living room has a tough order to fill. Almost always the most frequented space in the house, you'll use it for downtime after a tough day but also to entertain house guests, friends and relatives.
On one hand it'll be your sanctum, providing peace and comfort, but on the other if you've got young children they're sure to turn it upside down.
Versatility is the keyword here. You're looking to fulfil a variety of different functions that won't always seem mutually compatible. The secret is a little inventive thinking - by trying unusual combinations, you'll not only impress your visitors but might even find that hitherto undiscovered conveniences reveal themselves.
Getting the seating arrangement right is crucial and probably seems like an especially daunting task. However, it's an excellent opportunity to be creative and you might be surprised just how cheaply you can bring about that special ambience you're after - whether you're adopting a retired workbench, filling your living room with Moroccan pouffes or experimenting with novelty cushions.
Mix and match
Coordinating your furnishings will go a long way, but as any living-space innovator will realise, ubiquity bores easily. One of the hottest trends this summer is to rehabilitate seats from a variety of different backgrounds - for instance, why not invite a retro work stool or garden chair into your abode?
These furnishings should be cheap to acquire and easy to lend a new lease of life. Wooden objects can be given a new coat of paint or wood stain to achieve that rustic-chic look you're after, while throws, blankets and cushions will add luxury to otherwise utilitarian items.
Furthermore, seats - like stools - are easy to move around; you're free to create more space whenever you require, bringing them back into the spotlight when guests arrive.
Cushions are always welcome
It's hard not to love a good cushion and it's easy to become addicted to filling your residence with a variety of plush pillows. But while they're often confined to the sofa, oversized throw cushions make for an excellent impromptu seating arrangement - you might even find your guests prefer to lounge in a pile of pillows than perch on chairs.
Cushions come in no end of different patterns and prints, and various styles are available too, including bolster variants and novelty covers.
For those wishing to rearrange their seating plan with some regularity, cushions and pillows are incredibly convenient - they can be stored and stacked with ease. Additionally, removable pillow cases make cleaning a stress-free experience.
Add some Middle Eastern luxury
Middle Eastern furnishings like pouffes and ottomans are perfect if you need your seating arrangement to be versatile; they can operate as footstools but also as overflow seating when necessary.
That said, they're by no means utilitarian - quite the opposite, they'll lend your abode a real sense of exotic sophistication. Moroccan Bazaar sells a range of beautiful Moroccan pouffes in almost any colour you can think of, so you should be able to complement any colour scheme. Rich browns and deep reds are perennially popular, but if you're looking to inject some glamour into your seating arrangement try a faux-leather gold or silver instead.
A well-made ottoman can even serve as a functional table - just by adding a serving tray you'll find you have a chic coffee table on your hands.