A home from home in London - CBRE x Country Life

'In the winter months, there's nothing better than a cosseting London living room where you can catch up with family and friends- or simply relax after a long day in this most exciting of cities' Laura Tracey, residential design consultant at CBRE.

A home from home in London

Spending time in London doesn’t just offer an opportunity to experience new cultural and gastronomic experiences, it’s also about socialising, in particular with those who you rarely get a chance to see.

Yet although the city offers a rich and exciting mix of places to meet—from stylish bars and private members’ clubs to hotels and pubs—it’s hard to beat the peace and intimacy of your own living room, far from the lively hubbub.

A carefully considered living room is key to creating your own London home-from-home. A new London apartment can also offer an opportunity to explore a new style. The clean, contemporary look of a newly built city apartment can offer a great backdrop to new collections, such as paintings, rugs and ceramics, which can fast become a consuming passion.

'A new London apartment offers an opportunity to explore a new style'


The absence of a structured floorplan gives an opportunity to create a cosy living-room zone with large items of upholstered furniture, as well as rugs and floor-standing lights. Whichever style you choose, flexibility is key in the successful design of an apartment; a single, open-plan space provides all you need for entertaining, from a quick cup of coffee or a glass of wine to a large-scale drinks or dinner party. A seamless join between spaces designed for cooking, dining and relaxing creates an effortless setting for spending time with those you value.

A flexible layout allows you to make the most of a panoramic view of the breathtaking cityscape, which you can admire with a sundowner in your hand. It also lends itself to a bold statement created with large-scale pieces and accent colours that will bring a space to life.

Open-plan living

Laura Tracey

A senior architect at CBRE’s Residential Development Consultancy, shares the secret of an open-plan living room.

Creating a focal point The starting point should be to define the space by creating a focal point, such as a fireplace, a big-screen TV or a work of art, around which you can arrange furniture. To further define the seating area, use a rug to add comfort, warmth and texture.

Lighting Interiors always look cosier in dim lighting. It hides minor flaws, gives everything a warm glow and is flattering to everything (including people).

Colour Colour offers a fantastic way to infuse a scheme with personality. Creating combinations of colours can add dimension without overwhelming the space. Ensure that one is at least slightly darker than the other. A great example is the dressed studio in Grand Union, where a block of colour on the wall defines the living space and another defines the kitchen.

Furniture Arranging furniture is a powerful tool in defining living areas, blocking off spaces and creating conversation spots. Console tables and sofas tend to most commonly mark transitions from one space to another, but you can also use chairs, ottomans, bookshelves, desks and other pieces. Remember that the backs of items of furniture will be visible in open-plan schemes, so ensure you provide enough empty space to make ‘walking paths’, which are free of obstacles. The aim is cosy, not cluttered. Chose the colour of the curtains so that they complement the dominant piece of furniture in the room. This will help bring the room together and provide a canvas for your own personal design style.


'The design in One Blackfriars makes the most of the unforgettable view'
'Examples of the difference statement bookshelves can make to a living room'
'The use of bold colours at Lincoln Square to make the interior pop'
'Green plants add to the atmosphere at Hampstead Manor'
'At Grand Union block colour is used to define the space and make it more cosy'
'Bolsover Street perfectly illustrates how to make best use of feature lighting and sofas'