Event Styling: The Living Room Effect

Event styling and décor have come a long way in the last few years. Looks are far more sophisticated and professional than ever before. Borrowing techniques and inspiration from interior design, event stylists are creating a new look that we have termed, ‘The living room effect’.
Using a combination of soft furnishings, colours and patterns and props and furniture that you would traditionally see in an interior decorating magazine or on the latest room reveal of The Block, event stylists are now creating stylish yet comfortable environments where guests can feel at home.
The living room effect can be interpreted a number of ways and works well for big or small events. We love it because it adds a whole lot of character and warmth to an event space. It is a great way to make your guests feel relaxed and comfortable - as if you’re inviting them into your own home for a few hours.
To explore how this style can be used best for your events, we caught up with the team of Head Stylists from Decorative Events & Exhibitions to find out how they are implementing this style for their clients. 

Where do you think this style trend has come from? 

There is a stronger sense of sophistication with event styling these days. We are seeing a direct connection between events and interior decorating shows, Pinterest and interior magazines. Trends are translating faster than ever before as everything is easily accessible through social media.
The trend for networking events to be more casual and intimate is also shaping the way we style event spaces. Clients want to create comfortable spaces where their guests can relax and have meaningful business connections. 
The ‘pop-up’ phenomenon also supports the ‘living room effect’ as we are designing boutique environments that need to appear tailor made for the occasion and at the same time have more substance than a temporary environment. 

How is the style achieved?

The style is mainly achieved by creating intimate spaces and zones using screens, plush and comfortable furniture, rugs and soft lighting, so that guests feel as though they are in a personal space. Choosing a strong and limited colour palette and layering an array of different textures and finishes through detailed styling, florals, candles and soft furnishings helps to build the effect. 
Living Room Effect - Blue Marquee
The use of soft furnishings and wall panels gives a sophisticated, modern living room feel to this marquee space. A feature from House & Garden? No, an event for a major bank!

We have seen you use rugs and soft furnishings for outdoor events – is it easy to achieve the living room effect anywhere?

The living room effect is easy to achieve if you compliment your environment with the right product. Many stylists fight against their environment as they are trying to push a particular trend or product. Your design needs to match the expectations of the event. For example, if your event was located by the water on a large grassed area, an intimate external lounge area can be created with large sea grass matts and comfortable large scaled rattan lounge furniture. Large outdoor cushions and throw rugs will complement the space perfectly.

From vintage to swish immaculate designer living rooms – are the principles the same?

The fundamentals of designing a space are the same but the design principles are quite different. Creating a vintage and eclectic look is a lot more difficult as the design is supposed to look 'effortless'. There is a lot of layering and you require a larger 'mixing desk' of the right props. Both looks have different 'accents' involved in the design.

What colour palettes or patterns are in this season?

Radiant Orchid (purple) - Pantone’s colour of the Year, shades of grey and metallic.
Deconstructed chevron and geometric shapes are the patterns of the season.

What venues does this style work best for?

A great stylist should be able to work in any venue to create a 'lived in look' as they should be starting with the venue as a base. An empty space or small intimate warehouse is easier as you are working with a blank canvas.

What events does this style work best for?

This style works best for cocktail parties as the intimate spaces are designed to engage people in conversation to create meaningful connections.

Living Room Effect - Cell Block
Using a combination of soft furnishings, hanging pot plants and warm colours, this is a great example of a homely feel in a large lofty space. We’re loving the use of Radiant Orchid on the ceiling too!

Living Room Effect - Opera Point Marquee
This is a great example of how Decorative Events created a lot of cosy lounge areas in a large space, the Opera Point Marquee. By using traditional home furnishings, they were able to make the space appear comfortable and inviting for a large number of people.

Living Room Effect - Event Styling
The use of a rug gives shape and a border to this cosy lounge area.

Living Room Styling in large industrial event space
This is a great example of how soft furnishings can be used in a large cold space to give warmth and comfort. The ottomans and plush rug give the space a border so the lounge area appears more intimate and inviting.

A big thank you to Lynleigh, Sarah Jane, Claudia and Jen from Decorative Events for sharing their styling expertise with us!