Create an Arts-and-Crafts Multi-Dimensional Living Room

Candice takes a room from cluttered and unused to multifunctional and sleek.


I kicked off the redesign by attending to the walls and ceilings. I covered the room in a fresh, neutral-colored paint, put up some new panel molding and then covered the dingy plaster ceiling with exquisite embossed wallpaper to bring the room back to its 1920s roots.

I then got to work on the accent colors and materials that would give the room a warm and inviting feel. I chose a color palette of peaceful, earthy tones like olive green and gold, and complemented them with nature-inspired botanical prints and rich, textured fabrics. These colors and textiles combined to create a lush feel on the windows, furnishings and accent pieces.

Next, I organized the various areas of the room: a library zone, a general living area with a fireplace, and a whalebone showcase space.

I chose the room's one awkward wall and turned it into a beautiful library that incorporates Jennifer and Linda's antique bookcases and features a unique ladder system to access all of their books.

For the general lounging and pet-snuggling area, I decided to stray from the traditional look of the rest of the room and give it some modern, customized comfort. I installed a gray sectional sofa, two kid-friendly distressed leather club chairs and a smattering of other multitasking pieces.

Then it was time to work on this area's focal point: the fireplace. The existing fireplace was nice, but it needed more panache. I gave it a beautiful new mantel and a sumptuous surround on top of it, both in a rich, dark wood to match the rest of the room.

The window and radiator shelf became a showcase area, with the creation of a double-decker case to display the whalebone in all of its gigantic glory.

To lighten and brighten up this space, I put in a ceiling full of adjustable, recessed lighting and then added a period-inspired ceiling fan with a light fixture for a bit of interest.

After a few final flourishes, this room was ready for the whole gang. By using natural finishes and fabrics, rich wood cabinetry and paneling, plus casual furnishings and accessories, I created a space that lives up to its 1920s heritage and will suit all creatures — large or small, living or extinct. Even the little dragon named Einstein thinks it looks smart — and divine.

(Interior decorator Candice Olson is host of Home & Garden Television's Divine Design.)

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