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Living Room Furniture with Victoria

Martha Stewart Living Television

Furniture has a challenging job in the home because it must play both functional and decorative roles. This is especially true of living room furniture, which usually experiences the most frequent use. How well it succeeds, of course, depends on quality, design, and your own personal preferences, but as designer Victoria Hagan says, arranging your living room furniture properly is a significant factor in making it a comfortable centerpiece.

Victoria says that a set of living room furniture should comprise five essential pieces: a sofa, a coffee table, footstools, a wing chair, and a club chair. Victoria recommends positioning the sofa perpendicular to the fireplace, in line with and about one foot away from the hearth. If your living room doesn't have a fireplace, find another feature, such as a window or piece of art, to serve as a focal point. The coffee table usually commandeers the space in front of the sofa, placed close enough so that it's within easy reach. Victoria says tables should be the same height as the seating and suggests larger ones are better for an entire household. Despite their name, footstools are just as good to sit on as chairs, and they can be positioned right in front of the fireplace or on the other side of the coffee table, across from the fireplace. A curvy wing chair is best placed opposite the sofa, to contrast with the more tailored club chair, which can be positioned adjacently.

Once you've created your basic furniture plan -- or the room's "bones," as Victoria calls them -- you can add enliven the space with skillfully chosen accessories. When selecting such embellishments, the most important rule to remember is that less is more. In other words, don't display everything you own at once; instead, focus only on a few favorite items.

As Victoria observes, floral arrangements offer one of the easiest ways to create an appealing atmosphere, even if your composition is "something as simple as snipping a leaf and placing it into a small vase." Coffee tables also make ideal canvases for decorative details such as candles. Alternately, you can fashion your own tabletop landscape using branches, local flowers, fruit, or nuts; or embellish the surface with stacks of art books and magazines, which should leave plenty of room for coffee and snacks.

When decorating a mantel, people usually think horizontally, but Victoria recommends trying a vertical approach when selecting and hanging photos or mirrors for an interesting contrast. Along these lines, she also suggests that you occasionally eschew the classic symmetrical approach in favor of asymmetry, which can give dimension to a decor with an unexpected twist. Last but not least, Victoria adds interest to sofas and chairs with pillows and throws -- inviting elements that not only dress up a room, but also keep its inhabitants warm and cozy.

Special Thanks
Victoria Hagan
Victoria Hagan Home
654 Madison Avenue, Suite 908
New York, NY 10021
Phone: 212-888-3241

In this segment, we used a Sullivan sofa, Stuart coffee table, Capri stools, Wainscott wing chair, Jonathan club chair, and Hudson Cabinet from Victoria Hagan Home.

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