HGTV Dream Home 2009: Living Room Pictures

A soothing palette in blues and intriguing artwork prove a winning combination in this elegant yet earthy gathering space.

The first room one enters from the grand foyer, the living room is designed for social gatherings whether it’s a weekly book club, a knitting circle or a wine tasting. But far from formal, the space – thanks to a soothing color palette and whimsical, unexpected touches – invites all those who enter to grab a seat, kick off their shoes and relax.

“The living room all began with the amazing reproduction antique Chinese rug,” interior designer Linda Woodrum says. She loved the piece not only for its inviting palette but the rug’s play off old and new. “With its bold graphic design, it almost felt modern, and that is kind of the whole theme of this Dream Home. We have an historic-styled home with all the modern amenities.”

An understated two-cushion sofa, covered in natural linen and trimmed with a kick-pleated skirt, pops when paired with decorative pillows in solid periwinkle and an eye-catching wood-grain print.

For added energy, Linda topped the forged iron coffee table with a conversation-sparking table display. “What goes on a ‘tablescape’ is always important and takes a good bit of time and thought,” she adds. “Contrasts of shapes and sizes and organic versus inorganic. It really is a fun game or puzzle to create a little tableau.”

Serving the sofa and an adjacent two-chair conversation area, the Swedish-inspired side table is topped with a natural wood reading lamp and aged-metal accents, and it holds woven storage boxes in a shelf underneath. Framed artwork adds a shot of interest in the far corner. “It’s very clean and crisp and yet it pulls you in as you become aware that there is more there then you first realized,” Linda says of the piece, crafted by a local artisan who specializes in painting over antique documents.

Linda layered on the textures when decorating the living room, and she decided upon mercury as her metallic of choice. “I always love to have some shine, and mercury glass is the poor man's silver,” she adds. “It just adds sparkle and dimension and is another layer in a subtle way.”

A cozy reading nook near the living room entrance is the perfect spot to crash and read the paper or a nail-biting mystery novel. Within easy reach, a library bookcase houses curio items, a cleverly camouflaged flat-screen TV and a colorful collection of old books. The formal, rolled-edge side chair is paired with an oversized industrial-chic floor lamp, an accent Linda finds particularly appealing. “I just loved the light and felt it really helped lighten up what could have been a very ‘granny’ room,” she adds. “It is always fun to add the unexpected.”

More flashes of metallic come in the form of silver frames that hold antique postcards. Each piece of ephemera – a portrait of a songbird – is matted in natural linen.

To avoid a matchy-matchy look, Linda paired cotton-finished hardwood furnishings with handsome drum tables, crafted of hand-woven water hyacinth. Books serve two purposes in this room: to entertain guests and to add color and texture. “I love all kinds of books everywhere and think you always need to be able to reach out and grab a book to peruse,” Linda adds. “I do not buy to match but will place a particular book in just the right spot if it presents itself.”

A glam six-arm chandelier in a whitewashed finish completes the scene. “The chandelier is whimsical and unexpected, and so it is just perfect,” Linda adds.

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