Thursday, June 21, 2012

Great rooms present great decorating challenges!

As a residential Interior Designer, many of the phone calls I receive are from homeowners trying to tackle the overwhelming ‘Great Room’. Open floor plans always seem appealing to the homeowner until it comes time to decorate them: then my phone rings. While open floor plans are widely popular and can offer a wonderful lifestyle, they do offer certain challenges when decorating them. I have put together a few simple ways to tackle the great open space while creating warm, intimate and functional environments.
House & Home Great Room more here
First you have to address the various functions of the space. As I always tell my clients “beauty and function must co-exist”. Decipher what you need this room to do so it will function well for the family. Do you need a storage section? A seating area? Reading nook? Entertainment area with seating for six? Dining area? Start to section the room off in zones to fulfill these desired functions.
BH & G room here
The next step is to think about furnishing these various zones. The tricky part of the great room (especially one with high ceilings) is that while you want each individual space to feel intimate and cozy you also have to make sure that the smaller spaces relate to each other to achieve an overall cohesive look. From a design perspective, you want to look at the room with both a “zoom” lens and a “wide angle” lens. When you zoom in to each individual zone of the space they should feel intimate and cozy and when you zoom out, all the separate spaces should still relate to each other.
HGTV Dream Home Great Room here
 Here are some tips to achieve that:
  • Use one continuous flooring throughout the space (such as wood floors) to unite each zone
    Mix in multiple small area rugs to define each individual area and unite the furniture within it

  • Use lighting such as a hanging pendant or floor lamps to make the smaller zones feel intimate while repeating lamps around the space to unify the smaller sections. Using the same shape shades will also unite the spaces.

  • Don’t be afraid to mix patterns and colors in a large space to create some interest but try to use a continuous accent color throughout all the smaller spaces to unify them visually while looking at the space as a whole. This can be achieved with pillows, throws and accessories 

  • If the room still seems too daunting, then call a professional- for a small fee they can usually add in a few finishing touches to pull the space together. (914)420-6506…shameless plug!


  1. Ha ha! Love the shameless plug! Great tips. Someday I will have my open(ish) plan in this house. Just not anytime soon.


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