By Domino Staff

Published on June 22, 2014

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Once considered the formal entertaining zone (also known as: no kids allowed), the living room has emerged as the common area for family and friends to gather. We’d say it’s a pretty important place. Make it over with the attention it deserves. Steal some of these decorating tricks.

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Photography by SARA RUFFIN

BEFORE

This space is big (lucky ducks!), which can also mean even more decisions to make. While we love decorating with white, too much can lead to a space with little or no character. Time to lose the slipcovers and put your stylish ideas to work.

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Photography by JAMES MERRELL

AFTER

setup. Good rule of thumb: Arrange furniture according to how you live. This homeowner had young kids, so a soft ottoman stepped in as the right coffee table.

storage.

Bookcases are great spots for keeping things out of the way and on display.

art.

Stretched fabric is an easy and effortless way to add a creative touch above the mantel.

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Photography by DAVID NICOLAS

BEFORE

Like many small-space dwellers, the challenge is injecting your own personal style into cramped quarters. And it’s no secret that storage is a bonus.

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Photography by DAVID NICOLAS

AFTER

space intervention. By forcing pieces (desk and sofa) to share a space, it also makes you think about the room as one big beautiful picture. Stools and ottomans step in as spare surfaces and extra seating when friends come over.

windows.

A tried-and-true trick for small spaces: never neglect those windows. Hang drapes as close to the ceiling as possible to give the illusion of a larger room.

color.

Despite what you’ve heard, you don’t need to stick to white. Your space needs to reflect who you are. If pale shades of pink speak to your decorating spirit, then break out the magenta paint.

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Photography by LUCY DANZIGER

BEFORE

Clutter, oh my. Have some faith. Sometimes a lack of direction (or no direction at all) can be a great place to start.

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Photography by FRANCESCO LAGNESE

AFTER

seek balance. Big. Breezy. Breathtaking. A coffee table is the perfect piece to step in between two sofas. Talk about a reliable sidekick.

carve out zones.

This room was broken into different areas to cater to a family’s needs: plenty of seating for entertaining; kitchen table in the corner for casual breakfast and a book; a swing in the corner for reading and hanging.

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Photography by LUCY DANZIGER

BEFORE

Dark, dreary, and covered in piles of boxes. Overwhelmed? Likely story.

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Photography by FRANCESCO LAGNESE

AFTER

color. The top priority was brightening up the space. white paint to the rescue, which gives the room a cohesive and airy vibe.

arranging.

The mantel is a great place for putting personal treasures on display. Small decorative accessories work well in clusters. Photos and artwork don’t always need to be hung on the walls. Try leaning them for an easy and effortless vibe.

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Photography by LESLEY A UNRUH

BEFORE

We feel terrible for this space: no warmth, little color, lack of style direction. Pretty lonely.

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Photography by ANNIE SCHLECHTER

AFTER

walls. If you like white on the walls, stick with it (and add a fresh coat of paint!). A mirror adds an element of shine and much-needed dimension to a space.

accents.

Rather than playing it safe with neutral-toned pillows (yawn), a few pops of color were added on the couch and side chair.

simplicity.

If you’re a minimalist, embrace it. Open up the mantel by letting that interesting gray slate stand alone. A mantel can be a living room’s greatest asset.

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Photography by LESLEY A UNRUH

BEFORE

This space is calling for an intervention. Too many colors and way too many disruptions. While it’s hard to share a space with the kids, it isn’t impossible. See for yourself.

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Photography by LUCAS ALLEN

AFTER

create zones. Creating areas, even if they are tiny, will help define a space and keep things well-styled.

focus on accents.

Choose pieces with grand impact, like this light fixture, to command attention. A few big, key pieces can steal the show.

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Photography by MELANIE ACEVEDO

BEFORE

Neutrals work. Sometimes we just want some color. Change. Is. Good. (Repeat after us.)

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Photography by MELANIE ACEVEDO

AFTER

focal point. Change things up and make the window, which brings in so much light, the focal point.

sitting area.

Create a little area that can accommodate a nice group and that lends itself to a fun decorating scheme. The power players–sofa, arm chairs, coffee table, and side tables–are all accounted for in this room.

color.

Punch it up. Keep the sofa a neutral gray, and then work in pops of red and yellow.