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Crafting a Modern Australian Living Room

Produced in partnership with Est Living. 

From spatial layout to materiality and furniture, we explore the design-led details that help shape a modern Australian living space. 

The living room works hard, both flexibly and functionally to meet our daily needs; becoming a reflection of our lifestyle and individual aesthetic. To unpack the interior design elements that influence a modern Australian living space, we step inside a case study Melbourne family home by Shareen Joel. Appointing the expert styling eye of Swee Design alongside Australian furniture brand King Living, we discover the essential elements of a timeless family space, including removable sofa cover options by King Living that enable an effortless aesthetic update allowing for a full expression of individuality in any living space. 


The Jasper Sofa in Richmond Wattle is paired with the Oliver Tub Chair and Bongo Large.


Spatial Planning and Flow


The size and shape of a living space, consideration of flow and movement, and overall functionality are all key considerations during the spatial planning of this communal area. First and foremost, the placement of hero furniture pieces, such as a sofa, should be arranged to encourage conversational zones and to act as an anchoring focal point within the room. 

A common practice is to divide larger spaces visually using furniture to simultaneously connect family members while still offering moments of quiet retreat. A modular sofa is key in offering different arrangement options to suit various family dynamics and spaces. 

The Australian-designed Jasper Sofa by King Living can be tailored in configuration to suit individual spaces and interiors. Adapting seamlessly to all room shapes, the sofa can be welcomed inside large-scale spatial footprints, such as this Melbourne home’s living room, or for more intimate settings, such as a secondary living space/study or small-scale apartment. 

Its connecting modular system allows for flexibility where the seats, arms, backs, and shelves can be instantly reconfigured into multiple settings – including a guest bed when required. 


Featuring the Jasper Sofa, Apero Side Table, and Bongo High Ottoman.


Removable covers


The Jasper Sofa shown here creates a focal point by showcasing a removable cover in ‘Richmond Wattle’ fabric. The sofa sits in good company with an Apero Side Table, and a leather Bongo High Ottoman to build a living space that is warm and inviting. 

In contrast, the same Jasper Sofa shown here highlights removable covers in a softer, more neutral ‘Portland Silver’ fabric which crafts a clean and fresh feel within this space to promote a sense of calm and simplicity. 


Featuring the Jasper Sofa, Apero Side Table, and Bongo High Ottoman. and Bongo Large Ottoman.


Timeless design details


Injecting personality into the living space requires the addition of finishing touches. A thoughtful selection of art, accessories, and sculptural pieces enhances a living space by adding visual interest. In this family home, Swee Design curated the final touches, including oversized, organic-shaped vessels for another layer that adds to this home’s narrative and mimics the sculptural form of the home’s curved architecture and generous proportions. 

Lighting also shouldn’t be overlooked when crafting the right ambience and mood within a living space. Shareen Joel specified dimmable downlights that have been recessed into the ceiling of this family living space to ensure the arched, steel-framed windows take the lead. 

The Jasper Sofa in Richmond Wattle covers (left) and Portland Silver covers (right).


Materiality and colour


Curating the right balance of tones and textures can enhance a living room’s overall aesthetic. Colour can be used to manipulate the perception of space; while lighter colours can reflect the light to make it appear more spacious, open, and bright, darker colours can create a sense of intimacy and cosiness and make larger spaces feel warmer and inviting. “Having a neutral base palette in the key furniture items allows you to refresh, or even completely change the look and mood of a space by adding colour through smaller furniture items, parts, and accessories,” Swee says. This builds flexibility into the spaces, allowing you to refresh your look without starting all over again. 

In this family living space, the removable Jasper Sofa showcases a darker-coloured cover in ‘Richmond Wattle’ and then a lighter version in ‘Portland Silver’ to reveal the contrasting appeal of opposing tones and how it can alter available light within the room. From the ochre-coloured Oliver Tub Chair to the tan leather Bongo Large Ottoman and Jasper Sofa in dark and light material covers, this home captures a modern iteration of a palette inspired by the Australian landscape. 

King Living offers a range of textiles designed and manufactured in-house, including removable covers for all of their sofa collections. Substituting the covers from dark to light allows one to breathe new life into a space without needing a complete furniture replacement, making it both a sustainable and future-proofed investment. It also allows the sofa to be adapted to suit changing tastes and seasonal trends and even accommodate different moods or occasions. It provides the ultimate freedom to experiment with various colours, textures, and patterns to inject new life into a living space whenever inspiration strikes. 


For more interior inspiration and articles by Est Living, discover: 


Architecture, interior architecture & landscape design: Shareen Joel / Styling & furniture selection: Swee Design / Photography: Shannon McGrath / Artwork and objects supplied by: Makers’ Mrkt, Station Gallery, Sophie Gannon Gallery & Edwina Corlette Gallery