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September 3, 2013
A comfortable living space is about layers, creating conversational seating, and building a sensible room that’s both visually and functionally stimulating. A perfect living room teases and pleases the eye in a manner that feels edgy and fun while simultaneously catering to one’s need to pile up or curl in in the most casual way. Here, ten tips to help you on your way.
living room with glass windows

Tip #1

Focus on the architecture first. If the envelope isn’t right, there’s no way you’ll ever get it furnished properly. Built-ins are a great trick for shoring up rooms into nice squares and rectangles. Follow the natural circulation of a space to understand how expanding or narrowing passages can create a more usable space as well. Study dead corners to figure out how you can utilize those spaces.

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Photo by: Drew Kelly

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Originally appeared in Storage Savvy Renovation in Emeryville
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modern living room connecticut

Tip #2

Personally, I think circular seating arrangements are the most inviting. They ebb and flow so easily and I love centering a room on a central axis. This creates movement, access, great sight lines and, most importantly, conversational seating. A living room is about living, so make sure it acts as a good host!

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Photo by: Mark Mahaney

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Originally appeared in Striking Angular Cottage in Connecticut
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Modern living room with George sectional sofa and Gunta Stölzl rug

Tip #3

Salon style art hanging is an easy trick for adding comfort and ridding yourself of clutter around the house. Choose a big wall and make a statement, then let the rest of the space breathe.

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Photo by: Alexi Hobbs

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Originally appeared in A Renovated Flat in Moshe Safdie's Habitat '67
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Architect Grant explains that the recessed orange wall with built-in storage shelving is a counterpoint to the view of Boston in the opposite direction.

Tip #4

Books create warmth in every space. They also show personality and add intrigue. Stack them, shelve them, sculpt with them—just make sure your living room has them by the dozen!

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Photo by: Kent Dayton

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Originally appeared in Urban Usonian
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Modern monochrome dining room

Tip #5

DMc-style requires that every room must have at least one mirror. Period, no question. It’s about light. It’s about creating a window in the space. It’s about vanity. It’s about reflections. It begs a question. Find a stunning mirror that offers both reflection and visual interest, then pay close attention to how you can use it to expand your space, or even to make it feel more intimate by creating even the smallest “moment.” I love large scale mirrors in living rooms because they simply act as “doors” and “windows” that make the space feel so much larger. Over the fireplace, behind the sofa, wrap a corner—just be sure to pay attention to what’s being reflected and use that to your advantage!

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Photo by: Chris Tubbs

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Originally appeared in A Neoclassical Gallery Home in Belgium
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Modern living room with black walls and light furniture

Tip #6

Layers of light. Layers of light. Balance a central ceiling fixtures with wall washing art lights and a mix of lamplights all around. I love lamps. Big lamps on sofa sides are great. I also love large scale swing-arms on walls. Next to painting a room, adding the right lamp can create an instantly differentmood. Living rooms need different kinds of task lighting as well. Everyone forgets to drop reading lamps here and there. Assess your lamps and add, add, add.

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Photo by: Justin Fantl

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Originally appeared in Baroque Meets Modern in San Francisco
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Tip #7

Spend on rugs. A stunning carpet will transform your space (and your appreciation for fine living). You can go in a million directions on rugs, but be interesting. This is an opportunity to add a real sense of elegance to your living room. Don’t be boring. A bit of shimmer is great.

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Photo by: Floto + Warner

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Originally appeared in The Modern Renovated Home of Glee Star Jayma Mays
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Creative living room with an Eames chair and decorative rug

Tip #8

Dressing the windows should really be Rule #2 in my book. Everyone stops before they properly treat windows. Draperies make every room feel more amazing—especially living rooms. Bedrooms are the next most important room for draperies. While they may be expensive, they’re also worth every penny. There are many affordable ways to treat your windows if the custom route is too daunting. Bottom line—do it. Clean Roman shades are always tasteful as well.

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Photo by: Dustin Aksland

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Originally appeared in New Prospects
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Andy Hong tunes out with his hi-fi system in the living area of his ground floor. The big room contains a kitchen, a washer-dryer, and ample work surfaces. “Since I travel a lot,” he says, “I really look forward to hanging out in the big room, catching up

Tip #9

Containing clutter in boxes, trays, baskets, built-ins or cabinets is as much about self-discipline as it is about good design. Assess your living room and askyourself what’s lying about that needs to go into a tray.

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Photo by: Roger Davies

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Courtesy of 
Justin Reid
Originally appeared in Beantown Dream
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Bornstein’s living room features an intriguing collection of furniture. The sofa is made by Swedish manufacturer Ire. The 1970s wood burner was a secondhand store find, and the wood table, by Bruno Mattson, was found in a bin at a recycling station. He in

Tip #10

What’s your bold statement? Where is your personality shining through in your living room? Sometimes people try so hard to design a perfect space that they lose sight of the charming sense of “home” that comes from the “perfectly imperfect.” Living rooms have an inherent right to be semi-casual, if not all the way. Let yourself shine in this room. Be yourself. Find a bold moment and go for it!

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Photo by: Pia Ulin

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Originally appeared in Knotty by Nature
10 / 10
living room with glass windows

Tip #1

Focus on the architecture first. If the envelope isn’t right, there’s no way you’ll ever get it furnished properly. Built-ins are a great trick for shoring up rooms into nice squares and rectangles. Follow the natural circulation of a space to understand how expanding or narrowing passages can create a more usable space as well. Study dead corners to figure out how you can utilize those spaces.

Click here to view this entire house.

Photo by: Drew Kelly

Photo by Drew Kelly.

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