Architect Luís Bernardo Brito e Abreu renovated his São Miguel home to reflect his family's artistic, maritime history. The living room features a vintage chair by Illum Wikkelsø, and the mantel and stone benches are both of local basalt. The sculpture of a head on the bench at right is by Ernesto Canto da Maya, and the wall sculpture above the mantel is a 16th-century naval decoration.
With the multihued curtain fabric as her jumping-off point, designer Ashley Whittaker splashed an amped-up version of pink in three places in the living room—the footstool, the contrasting pillow welt, and the slipper-chair trim. "We wanted the home to feel bright and colorful like Florida but not like a vacation home," says Ashley. She pulled off the cozy yet elegant vibe by grounding the sun-and-surf palette with serious touches, such as the antique demilune tables.
A well-lighted room makes it look more spacious, newer and cleaner. Some living rooms may only have one window, making it look dark. Aside from a lighter shade of paint, you can add more lights to brighten up the room. Choose your lights carefully and make sure you stick to designs that are appropriate to your overall theme. You can ask for assistance in shops. Bring a picture of your living room, and talk about what you want the room to look like. These shop experts can give you advice on how to add enough light fixtures to fit your budget.
If your formal living room is also your family room, you want to make sure it strikes a balance between super comfortable and presentable. A cozy family room that cleans up nicely, if you will. A super soft sectional with plenty of space to spread out on movie night is a must, but choose one that also looks elegant. Then add fun, eye-catching lighting for an extra punch of fun, like the one in this Studio DB-designed room.
A black marble fireplace strikes the perfect balance between edgy and timeless. It anchors this living room designed by Arent & Pyke, which get a contemporary lift from the jute rug, modern and bright artwork, and shapely table lamp. And because the armchairs are a classic silhouette, they'll last forever—you can reupholster them with different colors and prints throughout the years as your taste and style changes.