Add To Your Upholstery: While changing all the furniture in your living room, sofas, settees and chairs can be very costly, you can easily get the upholstery changed for a fraction of the price, and your sofas will once again start looking new. If you cannot find someone to do this for you, then you can shop around for throws, shawls and new cushion covers to give your seating space a new look for less.

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.

Some of the best flea market, antique, or salvaged finds don't always appear to have an immediate use. When you come across something you love yet don't know where to put it, buy it and tuck it away as a rainy-day rustic decorating idea. As your living room design comes together, you'll find new ways to use old finds. In this rustic living room, for example, an 18th-century wall cabinet with its original paint stands in as a charming side table, and a wood crate becomes a coffee table centerpiece.


Paint is affordable, transformative, and easily applied by novice decorators. Use it to color walls, update flea market furnishings, refresh tired floors, and showcase a room's architectural features. Choose wall colors that further a mood (the deeper the tone, the cozier the feel) and that complement your finest furnishings and personal style preferences. 

A hand-me-down buffet's original cherry finish felt a little formal for this Arizona ranch home, but with some matte chalk paint, the item took on a more casual look that set the tone for equally laid-back vintage pieces, from the leather luggage (that stores extra blankets) to a coffee table made from an antique mission door. A midcentury turquoise sofa adds a splash of happy color.
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