In the living room of Kris Ghesquière and Eva Claessens’s house in southeastern Uruguay, which they built on the remains of an 1810 roadside general store, the chair was constructed by a local carpenter based on a picture in a magazine, the vintage table in front of the sofa was found at an auction in France and the rug is from Iran; the yellow lamb sculptures are by William Sweetlove, and the paintings and feather sculpture are by Claessens.
This floor-to-ceilings fireplace in a living room designed by Leanne Ford is taking style notes from the best of both worlds: A classic mountain chalet and the Malibu coast. Whether there's snow falling or waves crashing right outside that window, we want to be curled up on that linen slip-covered chair. This living room is also a testament to the perks of working with what you have. The fireplace was given a new life with a makeshift mantle comprised of reclaimed wood and a fresh coat of white paint.
Steven Gambrel, one of America's top-tier interior designers, recently had a chance to consider the question. Although he lives and often works in the most urbane precincts of Manhattan, Steven grew up in Virginia and still has ties there. When the owners of a Middleburg horse farm asked him to convert one of their barns into a place for large, casual parties and just hanging out and watching TV, he took it on with relish—his first barn, and on home turf.
Get the furniture layout just right, says interior designer Amanda Teal of Amanda Teal Design. "Always measure your space and start with a plan, so you know the furniture sizes that best suit the space. In this room, we started with the perfect spot for the piano and layered in the sofa and plush lounge chairs around it. Because we had a plan, the scale and proportion of the furniture is harmonious in the space. This configuration also maximizes seating and creates multiple intimate conversation areas."
You'll find affordable area rugs suiting every style at big box stores, discount home shops, and even home improvement centers (shop end-of-summer sales for outdoor rugs that can work inside). Use simple (and more affordable) large rugs to anchor a room's furnishings and smaller rugs to define conversational groupings or activity areas. Experts recommend that all furniture sits atop the rug and that an ample border of flooring is seen around the rug's perimeter.