Friday, November 18, 2011

Decorating Gallery: Living & Family Rooms

In this living room, every item has a unique shape, from the twisted legs on the chairs to the statuesque floor lamps flanking one sofa. Symmetry grounds the multitude of shapes and gives the room balance.
  • Vintage textile pillows complement Chinese lamps and antique accessories.
  • Mohair fabric on the sofas is luxurious and practical.
  • A glass coffee table keeps the room from looking cluttered.
  • Color in this room is reserved for two armchairs and artwork.

Simple, geometric shapes combine in this living room for a modern design that is both stylish and functional. A gridded entertainment center hides electronics, the massive coffee table is a great spot to prop up feet, and the glass-and-wood doors close the space off from adjoining rooms.
  • A built-in entertainment center with walnut veneer spans one living room wall.
  • A few substantial furnishings, rather than lots of small items, make a bold statement.
  • Sparing use of color makes a big impact. Here, primary color accessories command attention.
  • The cozy sofa proves that modern design can be both sleek and comfortable.

Flanked by twin sofas, the mantel features a gently arched detail that's repeated on the wall niche above. Notice more curves on the sofa backs, vases, and chandelier overhead.
  • The room was remodeled to include higher ceilings and new dormers.
  • Floral pillows on the sofa bring together all of the colors seen in the room.
  • Beaded board on the vaulted ceiling gives it character and charm.
  • The pale yellow wall color creates a fresh, airy feel.

Though all-white interiors are not everyone's cup of tea, rooms without color can communicate a sense of elegance and serenity. White in this space is interrupted only by an occasional plant or expanse of wood, and seems cool, calm, and collected.
  • A vintage porch post fills the fireplace corner with distressed texture.
  • Subtle variations of white and cream add to the interest.
  • Fresh flowers and plants help relate the indoors to the outdoors.
  • A curvy table introduces an iron element and repeats lines of the chairs.

The owners of this home merged elements of tropical, European, and contemporary, creating uncommon style. What seem like unrelated elements -- a log ladder, linen curtains, wicker chair, and antique oil paintings -- are all connected by common neutral tones.
  • In a neutral scheme, texture and scale achieve added importance.
  • Simple brush fringes give pillows a custom touch for little expense.
  • Darker neutrals keep this room feeling grounded.
  • A variety of line (horizontal, vertical, diagonal, curved) is also key.

Before, too many patterns cluttered this room, making the eye restless. Now those layers of print have been cleared away, leaving a living room that exudes calm. Fabrics in the wall-hung quilt inspired the pale yellow wall color as well as the hues for pillows and furniture.
  • A cornice board and sheer window treatments hide dark window trim.
  • The built-in window seat bridges the gap between bookshelves.
  • Doors were added to conceal lower shelves, creating closed storage.

A preference for chocolate hues is hard to miss in the living area, where a mahogany Chinese Chippendale daybed, wicker coffee table, and Thebes-style (Egyptian) stool are complemented by artwork, pillows, blind trim, and other accessories.
  • The furniture was arranged to take advantage of an ocean view.
  • Cream carpeting helps unite the rooms in this small apartment.
  • Identical frames and mats accentuate artwork behind the daybed.
  • Brown, like black, adds depth and punctuation to a space.

Pair a beautifully refined shade of red with white and natural hues for a no-fail color palette. Repetition of the focal-point red, here in the toile-style fabric, unifies the decorating scheme. Touches of black and gold add sophistication, while white is fresh and clean.
  • White woodwork and trim lightens and brightens a color-rich room.
  • Finishing touches of gold and gilt warm and enrich the room.
  • Neutral furnishings relax the room without competing with the red walls.
  • Red, the most daring of colors, infuses a living room with drama and warmth.

A striking mix of old and new, comfort and style create a living room that is both elegant and inviting. Silk draperies lend elegance, a sisal rug introduces soft texture, and a honed-marble fireplace surround injects sleek sophistication.
  • Placing the piano in front of the windows makes it the focal point.
  • Antique and contemporary furnishings can blend together seamlessly.
  • Chocolate, taupe, and other warm neutrals create a welcoming feeling.
  • Use a wicker basket to store firewood.

It's a little bit Asian and a little bit retro, yet the contemporary clean lines of this style unite a variety of elements in this living room. Neutral walls and furnishings allow the patterned rug and artwork to breathe as they capture the eye's attention.
  • Keep upholstery fabrics plain to accommodate busy patterned rugs.
  • Opposing diagonals of the chair and rug increase the room's drama.
  • Contrast between walls and large furniture emphasizes their shape.
  • Accent pops of red are evenly dispersed throughout the room.

Blending stately architectural features with eclectic furnishing isn't always easy. The keys here were texture, clean lines, and proportion. Objects on the mantel wall are placed from low to high and back down, keeping the eye moving within the room.
  • Daybeds offer seating and sleeping options for family and guests.
  • A sturdy coffee table includes display space with room to spare.
  • Bold color is confined to easily updated pillows and throws.
  • Warm neutral wall color is a terrific background for artwork.

Slipcovers reflect the easy-living attitude that is crucial to this living room's cottage style. Sewn from affordable canvas, these slipcovers easily slip off and into the wash. Vintage floral fabrics, used to make colorful accent pillows, add amazing design punch. The light-tone hardwood floors add warmth underfoot.
  • Colorful vases look charming with or without flowers.
  • Leave the floors bare in summer and add rugs in winter.
  • Beaded board creates cottage style faster than any other element.
  • Pick cottage colors from nature's subdued palette.

Burnished finishes and muted colors give this brand-new living room a beautifully aged look. Overstuffed sofas and a roomy leather chair provide comfy seating while a stone fireplace adds warmth. Displays of family photos and collectibles are a personal finishing touch.
  • Simple cotton shades keep the windows clear and the view unobstructed.
  • For a custom look, the cabinetry is painted the same color as the wall.
  • Built-in cabinetry offers both hidden storage and open shelving.
  • The floral upholstery and patterned area rug add visual interest.

Chocolate brown walls and white accents set a sophisticated tone in the living room. The wall color was plucked from the ottoman fabric.
  • The simplicity of the palette gives this room impact.
  • A round skirted table in the corner offers a place for a lamp.
  • The large ottoman serves as both a footrest and a chic table.
  • Minimal artwork and accessories complement the style.

Full of shape, texture, and pattern, this living room has a rich, ethnic quality. The warm palette includes taupe and white on the painted walls and architectural trim, with upholstery in shades of brown and khaki. Layers of texture include bamboo blinds, a leather ottoman, and a large area rug.
  • Animal-print and kilim pillows create visual interest while upholstered armchairs offer casual comfort.
  • A textured tile fireplace surround is a warm contrast to the surrounding white woodwork.
  • Adding a fireplace niche and bookshelves made a dramatic change in this living room.
  • Curvaceous furniture softens the linear feeling of the Mission-style room.

In a home with young kids and a pet, easy-to-wash slipcovers in durable fabrics are a smart choice. In this bright and airy living room, slipcovers crafted from vintage and patterned fabrics give the furnishings and pillows a tailored look but allow for easy care.
  • A mirror above the fireplace makes the room appear larger.
  • A large ottoman serves as both footstool and coffee table.
  • Crisp celery-color walls let the white woodwork pop.
  • The mix of patterns works because they all have the same muted tones.

This new cottage gets its country spirit from a muted color palette and a comfortable combination of antiques and new pieces distressed to look used and worn over time. Dressed in yellow gingham, twin armchairs anchor one end of this living room. The sunny color is paired with red and black hues, a toile pattern, and a Turkish rug.
  • Mix and match old-fashioned rugs and fabrics for the look of a lived-in farmhouse.
  • Curvy furniture in rich black finishes perfectly balance feminine and masculine.
  • Add elegance to a room with details, such as the tasseled edge on this Roman shade.
  • For a sophisticated take on cottage decor, add punches of red to the color scheme.

To spice up this bungalow's living area, the walls were painted a robust red, which ties into the fireplace's colorful tile surround. Clever architectural details, such as a beefy wood mantel and built-in bookcases on either side of the fireplace, add interest and serve to honor the Craftsman design of the house.
  • Furnishings are placed at an angle to maximize views of the fireplace.
  • Installed at an angle around the fireplace, colorful tiles attract the eye.
  • A dark area rug warms up the honey-toned hardwood floors.
  • A bay window and window seat create a comfy and attractive sitting area.

Bold decorative treatments dovetail for a high-impact effect in this vibrant living room. A palette of bright yellow and red really pops and makes the traditional-style pieces appear clean and contemporary. Large-scale prints and black-and-white accessories add drama.
  • If you can't find exactly what you want, use paint to make it happen.
  • Every surface is a canvas for creative expression.
  • Mix bold patterns, such as stripes and checks, for maximum impact.
  • Black-and-white accents give a room instant sophistication and personality.

Traditional yet cozy, this living room pays homage to the golden age of Hollywood, when tastes ran to contemporary, boxy shapes. Clad in neutral textures, the furniture performs a supporting role to a collection of patriotic portraits and etchings.
  • Beefy moldings and a substantial mantel add character to the room.
  • Recessed lighting eliminates the need for heavy ceiling fixtures.
  • Simple cotton twills blend well with more luxurious silks.
  • Puddled curtains frame the view out the French doors.

The living room's use of materials including steel, wood, concrete, and slate, adds textural contrast. This is an important design element when creating living spaces that appeal to the senses.
  • Large vases and accessories add interest to the shelves.
  • Bookcase color and lighting add drama to the fireplace wall.
  • Books are displayed both horizontally and vertically.
  • Upholstery textures have both visual and tactile appeal.

Anyone who loves books will sooner or later run out of shelf space. This small reading nook was one homeowner's answer to that problem. Filling one wall with bookshelf cubbies, an elegant daybed was nestled into the spot along with practical swing-arm lamps.
  • The carved coffee table adds gleaming notes of golden swirls.
  • Accessories add interest and style to the bookshelf arrangement.
  • Divided bookshelves prop books up without bookends.
  • A pair of leather chairs helps create an intimate seating group.

The focal point of this room is the spare fireplace and its asymmetrical slate hearth, which provides a surface for displaying art and branches-turned-sculpture. A custom coffee table was a do-it-yourself project made from a slab of walnut found at a specialty lumber store.
  • The fireplace wall was left unadorned by art.
  • Natural materials -- wood, stone, sisal -- suggest a connection to nature.
  • Birch branches lean against the wall, bringing the outside in.

Simple window shades from a mail order catalog look right at home next to a high-end coffee table and a pair of antique carved chairs. What unites them? It's the pared-down color scheme of cream, brown, and black as well as clearly outlined silhouettes.
  • Mantel decor includes objects in rich brown that have textural interest.
  • Notice a balance of repeating shapes (squares and curves).
  • An arching orchid stalk adds a bit of color and greenery to the mix.
  • Restraint helps create a harmonious look as clutter is edited out.

A warm taupe wall color, espresso brown, and robin's-egg blue collaborate to create this cozy gathering spot, but the whole scheme would look washed out without the black accents. The dark color draws attention to the room's clean lines and provides definition for the browns, allowing them to step forward.
  • Linen draperies add structure to the windows without visually weighing them down.
  • Just a bit of black -- on a picture frame or a lamp -- can ground a room.
  • Simple curtain rods hung at ceiling height enhance the clean-lined modern look.
  • Bands of blue bark cloth unite the curtains with the room's furnishings and accents.

This Victorian flat was transformed, giving it the ambience of a modern loft. A pale neutral palette on the walls, tailored window treatments, and dark wood floors surround the owner's mix of modern and mid-century furniture.
  • Artwork leaning on shelves is easily updated as the mood strikes.
  • Clutter is kept to a minimum as some surfaces are left unadorned.
  • Painted details of wood moldings and mantels stand in relief when white.
  • Versatile furnishings can be rearranged at will in this loft-style space.

Muted neutral tones grace all the walls in this home, improving flow between rooms. Color is added through a collection of ethnic and modern art and accessories. Large-scale furniture and artwork fill the roomy space without creating a fussy or cluttered look.
  • Put collectibles to use as vases, planters, or magazine racks.
  • A large coffee table provides extra dining area or workspace when needed.
  • Create a relaxed and cozy space with a neutral, monochromatic color scheme.
  • Curtains that are the same tone as the wall seem to disappear.

Tailored, traditional furnishings and collections lend genteel style to this designer's home. White upholstery combines effortlessly with treasured antiques, artwork, and objects d'art.
  • A neutral sisal area rug contributes texture to the mix.
  • Softness has been added with fringed and tasseled pillows.
  • Themed collections feature dogs in ceramics, pillow, and art.
  • Touches of antique gold are seen throughout the room.

Vibrant orange walls add richness to the dark walnut woodwork of this room. Although taking chances with the color, the upholstery, paintings, and accessories promote harmony in the space. Asymmetrical arrangements of accessories underscore a casual style.
  • Small benches serve as a coffee table, yet can be removed when entertaining.
  • Pattern is limited to pillows and accessories and are easily changed.
  • Oil paintings are displayed together over the fireplace to create a focal point.
  • Apartment-size sofas fit nicely in this modest space.

With an eye-catching, colorful pattern dressing the windows of this classic living room, it was important to use neutral tones in the furnishings. The seating groups are pulled together by a subtly striped rug that exposes the dark floor around the perimeter of the room.
  • The blush-gray walls let the coral paisley draperies pop.
  • Pinch-pleat panels drawn over Roman shades are all drama at the windows.
  • Two separate seating areas break up the large expanse of this room.
  • A clover-shaped ottoman and X-shaped tables are conversation starters.

Mirrored faux transoms raise the height of low, out-of-scale windows and help bring this awkwardly shaped living room into visual proportion. Chippendale-style overlays add an architectural detail; the fretwork motif is dramatically echoed by a console table below. The window treatments are made more substantial by large rings and rods.
  • A light color palette keeps myriad patterns from overwhelming a room.
  • A symmetrical placement of furniture and accents gives the room balance.
  • Light and dark wood tones coexist peacefully thanks to their similar shapes and styles.
  • From tasseled fringe to crystal beading, this elegant room is all about the details.

Powder pink, aqua, and a dash of sassy black give this apartment girly glamour. The modern, uncluttered living room is accented with distinctively quirky furniture and upholstered pieces covered in bold colors. Decorated on a tight budget, the room combines hand-me-downs and flea market finds with found objects.
  • The homeowner found the silk-screen artwork at an abandoned office site.
  • Twelve-foot ceilings demand overscale furnishings and artwork to fill the room.
  • Let your decor capture your personality. This homeowner is clearly spontaneous, playful, and spirited.
  • Use pastels to give a white-walled room a happy, feminine feeling.

A background of subtle, muted colors surrounds a mix of both formal and informal furnishings, creating a style well suited to the homeowner's taste. Plain upholstered chairs are embellished with one carefully chosen pillow, dressing them up with very little fabric.
  • A large Oriental rug anchors the seating area with pattern.
  • White trim is a unifying element in this eclectic space.
  • Brick walls indicate where the 1800s house gives way to an addition.
  • Original wood ceilings were replicated for the new dining area.

A black-and-white color scheme allows a room to be updated as trends evolve. For low-cost, high-impact changes, the mocha walls and acid green accents could be easily swapped for new colors, and the cotton duck slipcovers could be dyed to match the new palette.
  • Wheatgrass in a simple vase adds a pop of green.
  • Add color with pillows and accents that can be replaced inexpensively.
  • Buy affordable lamps and recover the shades for custom lighting for less.
  • Frame black-and-white greeting cards for easy artwork.

With a soothing seaside color palette on the walls and in fabrics, this living room eases into elegance. A limestone fireplace surround, a country French-style chandelier, and inviting silver-blue walls add beauty. New dark wood beams on the vaulted ceiling help overcome the room's awkward dimensions.
  • Painting the ceiling and walls the same color diminishes the room's awkward dimensions.
  • Pretty fringe dresses up the light-handed window treatments.
  • Hanging the simple window dressings from hefty rods gives them added visual weight.
  • The room's tranquil hues continue underfoot with a textured sandy-color rug.

A curved sectional sofa and a round coffee table are neatly angled to face both the mantel and the piano. Neutral walls, upholstery, and draperies keep the look open and give up center stage to the pieces with brighter color.
  • One large pattern on the chair mixes well with smaller motifs on pillows.
  • Gleaming hardwood floors stretch the eye to adjacent rooms.
  • Touches of black relate to the black in the fireplace and piano.
  • Simple, large accessories have room to breathe on open shelves.

An arched doorway into the front hall opens up this living room and creates views to the homeowner's collection of artwork, including a colorful painting in the hallway and a collection of Native American baskets displayed in the antique secretary.
  • Soft sisal flooring makes it clear that this space is all about comfort.
  • Patterned curtains pull together all the colors in the room.
  • Antiques chosen out of love will always look great together.
  • The variety of patterns work together because they all have touches of red.

This island cottage lets the serenity of the outside flow inside. In the large living room, shades of blue set a sense of coastal calm. An overstuffed sofa with a gingham slipcover is the room's focal point, accented with old, weathered finds, such as a piano bench that serves as a unique coffee table.
  • Floors are left bare to make it simple to sweep up sand carried in from outside.
  • Wispy sheer curtain panels soften the windows without blocking out light.
  • A vintage minnow bucket makes a beautiful vase for a bundle of wildflowers.
  • Shells attached with epoxy dress up a plain mirror.

Lively patterns and colors infuse traditional furniture with a sense of fun. To visually raise a standard 8-foot ceiling, drapery panels were mounted just under ceiling height, allowing the fabric to fall in a long line and just graze the floor.
  • Cantaloupe-hued flannel draperies complement the scheme.
  • The Oushak rug set the color palette for this room.
  • A white sofa cools and balances the bold colors surrounding it.
  • An abstract painting was hung in counterpoint to traditional furnishings.

An ordinary fireplace became a stunning focal point once it was refaced with black marble. Neutral furnishings blend with subtle additions of warm woods and henna-hued pillows.
  • Recessed lighting eliminates the need for table lamps.
  • Arch-topped bookcases add curves to the mix of linear elements.
  • One large painting over the mantel ties all the colors together.
  • A symmetrical furniture arrangement lends formality to the room.

Vibrant wall color is the perfect foil for a display of blue-and-white transferware. Blue mohair seating and pillows made from antique French toile give the main seating area a real punch of color and interest. At the window, draperies are topped with swags and rosettes.
  • Accents of red make the room sing with color.
  • Sunny yellow walls show off blue furnishings to full advantage.
  • Collections take the place of artwork in this pretty room.
  • Underfoot sits a blue-and-white-bordered area rug.

Exposed ceiling beams create visual dimension, making this contemporary loft seem bigger. The natural white oak floors add a ton of character. A narrow spiral staircase in one corner conserves valuable floor space and provides access to a loft. A red focal wall and a painted fireplace draw the eye around the room.
  • A large mirror above the fireplace reflects light and visually expands the room.
  • Modern furniture strikes an interesting balance with this room's more traditional features.
  • The wheeled coffee table can be moved out of the way for entertaining large groups.
  • A trip to Italy inspired the room's vibrant color palette.
Playful in both shape and color, funky furnishings set the tone in this family room. The dramatic artwork and high-impact colors are a perfect complement to the home's dynamic architecture. White walls are a sensible backdrop to the room's bold palette.
  • Hefty doses of white, wood, and metal keep the high-energy colors in check.
  • Oversize paintings fill the large expanses of open wall space.
  • Low-rise bookshelves create a ledge for decorative pieces.
  • Cherry cabinetry, which conceals stereo equipment, fills the curved wall.

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