In her book, "Rooms: Creating Luxurious, Livable Spaces," interior designer Mariette Himes Gomez contends that one of the best ways to enliven a room is to decorate it with a few simple pieces of artwork. Mariette says she likes to include items that are not only visually stimulating in terms of their shapes and colors, but also have interesting textures, such as marbles and textured fabrics. One piece Mariette employs is a vividly hued European still-life, which she pairs with a small bowl of marbles -- mimicking the bowl in the painting.

Other examples of her design approach include a 19th-century wooden hoop set atop a newly constructed base, a tabletop mobile inspired by artist Alexander Calder, and a ceramic silver dog from the 1940s, which is paired with a selection of metal toys. Mariette suggests visiting galleries and museums to determine which kinds of art you like, building a collection of one artist's drawings or photographs, or purchasing one large piece that you find especially appealing.

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