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Martha's Living Room at Lily Pond Lane: 5 Daring Details

At Lily Pond Lane, Martha's 19th-century cottage in East Hampton, New York, the gardens flourish in the rich Long Island soil. Each month produces a different assortment of flowers, and each room is enhanced with suprising and unusual combinations of containers, natural materials, and found objects. Here, she shares five decorating inspirations and insights for the living room she refers to as a cabinet of curiosities.

Photography by: NGOC MINH NGO

1. Have Fun with Wall and Ceiling Color Combinations

Believe it or not, this room used to be a study of white on white. But the contrast between that and the lush, green garden and trees outside just didn't look right. So Martha decided to let the nature outside inspire the decor inside. She updated the living room without doing anything too drastic; she kept the same basic furnishings. But she painted the walls a unique shade of warm yellow and the ceiling a specific shade of pink. Both reiterate the pink-and-yellow Venetian glass chandelier, which hangs regally in the center of the room.


Living Room Paint Colors

2. Make a Statement Piece the Focal Point

Martha's giant mounted tarpons are trophies from early-20th-century sports fishermen. She has a collection of them, but only one is seen here; another hangs above a sofa in the same room. Tarpons are native to the Atlantic Ocean and can grow to up to eight feet long!


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3. Combine Textures Creatively

Martha's Lily Pond living room incorporates glazed linen furniture, metal tables, a nubby rug, painted wood, groupings of mercury glass, and of course, lush plantings. In a monochromatic room, mixing textures is a great way to add interest and diversity, both visual and tactile.


Living Room Decorating Ideas

4. Style Your Tabletop Like a Bookshelf

East Hampton literature in both hardcover and paperback, decorative coral, a large arrangement of sedum (also known as 'Autumn Joy'), faded hydrangeas, and snowberries adorn Martha's coffee table in this photo. But it won't look this way for long; Martha loves to experiment with different bouquets, whether they are large or small, exuberant or understated.


Real Page-Turners: Our Favorite Bookshelf Organizing Ideas

5. Leave Your Windows Bare

If privacy isn't an issue, treatmentless windows are the best way to let as much natural light as possible pour into the room -- and show off intricate window frames. 


Not sure if bare windows are your style? Take this quiz to see which type of window treatment suits you.


Windows and Window Treatments