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"We do everything here, from watching TV and reading to teaching piano lessons," says Patty Merino, of Tustin, California. "I love the stone fireplace that my husband built and the big bay windows that look out onto our rose garden, but now I want to make the room more inviting." Patty feels at a loss about the best way to arrange the furniture, especially where to put the TV. "I'd like a cozy spot by the fire," says the mom of two. "But there's very little wall space and I can't decide on a focal point. I need help!"
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To create a sense of serenity, Taniya suggests painting the walls a soothing blue-green. "There's no better way to make a dramatic change in a room," she says. Next Taniya recommends swapping the bulky sofa for a sleek new sectional in a neutral tone. "With a console and lamp behind, you don't have to look at the back of the sofa when you walk in the door," she says. "Add a coffee table and the vignette makes an inviting conversation area." The piano stays where it is, out of sight against a wall behind the sofa. Bookcases on each side of the fireplace hold the TV and serve as storage. "If built-ins aren't in the budget, secure inexpensive freestanding units to the walls and install a flat-panel retractable mount so you can see the screen from all angles."
"Patty asked me to create a place where she can curl up and relax," says Taniya. A chaise longue by the windows fills the bill. "This signature piece in a fun print will also liven up the solid colors in the room." If new hardwood flooring isn't possible, place a throw rug over the carpeting to further define the sitting area and add a comfortable chair in the corner. As a personal touch and to tie everything together, Taniya selects a range of accessories for shelves and walls—books, plants, vases, and family photos. Finally she hangs a sparkling sunburst mirror above the mantel. "It showcases the handsome fireplace," says Taniya, "and adds a little bling."
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Take in a view of the garden or face the fireplace with a versatile chaise in a modern floral.
Manchester chaise, starts at $949, ballarddesigns.com
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Display your family mementos on adjustable shelves and use the cabinets for storage.
Besta Boas TV unit, $160, ikea.com
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A handsome glass table placed behind the sofa can be a drop point for keys and mail.
Smart console table, $200, cb2.com
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Mounted over the fireplace, a faux antique gold mirror adds sparkle and gives depth to the room.
Sunburst wall mirror, $269, homedecorators.com
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A Cut Above
Hand-cut glass vessels give a glamorous edge to the mantel.
Cutler vases, from $30, zgallerie.com
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Botanical prints in sophisticated shades lend a graphic touch to seating.
Irmeli pillow, Marimekko, $25, imaginethrowpillows.com
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A contemporary classic gives cozy texture to the room.
Natural shag rug, $229, worldmarket.com
Originally published in the June 2010 issue of Family Circle magazine.