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tips for decorating large spaces

Those cathedral ceilings and the open floor plan may be the reasons you selected your home, but large spaces can be tricky to decorate. Areas such as great rooms or even large family rooms can often seem overwhelming in their proportions, not to mention cold and uninviting. The good news is that with some clever decorating tricks, you can warm up any large room.

The key to creating comfort in a large room is to treat the space like many small spaces. You instantly turn an overwhelming room into a smaller, more manageable decorating project. Area rugs are a great way to divide a large space into smaller areas, define the space and create coziness. It may be the rug that makes an otherwise disjointed room become a beautiful room.

When you are furnishing this room, remeber that it can become a magnet for clutter - scattered toys, stacks of magazines, DVDs and books. Instead of using open shelving, which still needs to be tidy to look good, choose cupboards with doors, or even armoires. Fill the shelves with labeled baskets or boxes so everyone will know where to put their belongings when it's time to clean up.

Storage trunks are not only an attractive accent piece, but they also add versatility. A trunk can double as a cocktail table for entertaining, or as a discreet place to stash blankets, magazines, and toys.

Although it's fun to update a family room with the latest design trends, one should always keep in mind the purpose of this space. It is absolutely vital to create a space that is cozy and - above all - practical, so that no one is nervous about a drink being spilled or sticky fingers. Add some entertainment - not just the TV and computer - but good old-fashioned family games, jigsaws and photo albums, so that it's an inviting place to be.

If you have kids, get them involved in planning your room. If the rest of the house is very grown-up, let them add some trendy detailing, such as a shag-pile carpet, an abstract-print wallpaper on one wall, or a beaded curtain strung across the doorway. It will end up being everybody's favorite room.

Try using the following tips for decorating your large space:

  • Use vivid or dark colors such as blue, green and red on walls, windows and even the ceiling to make a cavernous room feel more intimate.
  • Select bold fabric patterns to make upholstered furniture appear larger.
  • Choose medium- to large-scale furnishings. These work best merely because they look appropriate in large spaces. Small pieces can look lost and too many can create a cluttered look.
  • "Float" furniture by moving it away from the walls to fill a large space and create open walkways throughout the room.

There's no need to be overwhelmed by a large room. Just remember that a large space is nothing more than a collection of smaller spaces. The more you break it up, the easier it comes together.

See you in your great, family living room!