"The room doesn't get a lot of light, so I decided to make it cozy and turned it into an English-style portrait room, which is ridiculous, but fun," says celebrity chef Alex Hitz. Taking the cozy route in a living room without a ton of natural light is a great solution. And what's cozier than a floor-to-ceiling bookshelf with seating beckoning you to curl up on it? To display your books more creatively, offset them with artwork. In this room, a Peter Rogers portrait of Alex Hitz's close friend, the late Nan Kempner, hangs over the bookshelves to create some contrast.
There are scads of publications loaded with living room decorating ideas, but unless you have the budget to purchase living room furniture by the set, it would be best to start small. First, we recommend starting with the basics. When picking furniture, take into consideration what purpose it will serve then focus on a few staple items. Find a comfy couch and an inviting coffee table that suits your needs then search for accent furniture that will bring out your vision of home.
Wallpaper is one of those trends that just keeps on giving and giving. If you go with a classic chinoiserie wallpaper, you can do just about anything with it as your style changes over the year. This modern self portrait by Chuck Close is a bold contrast to the chinoiserie wallpaper (Iksel's Eastern Eden) behind it in this Miles Redd-designed home. The contrast doesn't stop there: Redd continued to venture beyond design convention by incorporating contrasting jewel tones and mixing modern furniture styles with antique pieces. Oh—and believe it or not, the lime green chair is from Ikea! Proof even the best designers love a good deal.

Designers Heather Brock and Jennifer Wundrow of Nest Design Co. used a rug larger than the overall seating to make the room feel bigger. "This is often a misconception we find in people’s homes. They are of the mindset that a smaller rug makes a room feel larger, when in fact a smaller rug can make the room feel a bit more fragmented. We love when all the furniture sits on the rug creating an intimate and cohesive space," according to the designers.


Casters are the ultimate quick-change agents. These babies impart height and mobility to almost anything. Attach 'em to a farm table and voilà: It becomes an extra-large kitchen island with serious moves. Pop some wheels on a crate and you've got storage that rolls easily underneath a counter. The possibilities are truly endless. —Paige Schnell, Tracery Interiors
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