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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!