In the living room of Vivia Horn’s Japanese-style retreat in Hunter, New York, the leather-and-plastic Italian sofas, cocktail table, and wool shag rug were purchased in the 1980s at Bloomingdale’s. The Japanese-style fire pit and tin range hood are custom, the floor lamp is from the '70s, the sisal carpet is by Stark, the ceiling beams are Douglas fir, and a series of color lithographs from Japan are displayed along the pine wainscoting.
"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.
You don’t always have to buy new pieces to decorate. Take a stroll around the house, and see what décor you already have. You may stumble upon pieces that you can use for your living room, and vice versa. Maybe you have some old pieces in the basement or garage that you can still dig up. You can look at recent gifts that you set aside not knowing where to put them. You can look for some small pillows that you can add to your couch.
This Ibiza living room features local-limestone floors covered in custom Spanish esparto rugs from Antonia Molina. Walls covered in a sandy lime plaster, and a wood-beam ceiling set a rustic tone in the living room. Custom sofas by Atelier Tapissier Seigneur and curtains in a quilted Braquenié fabric; the Oeil cocktail table by Pierre Chapo is vintage, the lacquered-coral sculpture is by Maurizio Epifani, and the painting over the mantel is by Alex Katz.

The walls of the living may be covered in wallpaper or paint. Do you think the walls are outdated? Wallpaper may be tricky to first-timers, but there are now easily adjustable wallpapers that you do yourself without the help of professionals. You can easily peel and adjust these wallpapers. If you decide to use paint, make sure to keep the theme in mind.
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.
Look for clearance bargains – This can be a little tough to find the real deals. We’ve have seen those signs saying a furniture store is having a “going out of business sale!” and then realize that sign has been up for years. However, by searching for clearance sales that are different from standard sale prices one can occasionally find great deals.
Take a walk around. Is it easy to go from one furniture to another? Does the space look cramped or more open? It is ok to re-arrange it several times to get it right. You can also remove some of the furniture that you think no longer fits in the room. You can always put these furniture in other places around the house. If the furniture is broken or just not worth saving, consider selling it or donating it.
×