Designing Zones in a Great Room

A combined living/dining area is carved into a modern space for entertaining and relaxing.

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The room is open-concept in nature, so the challenge was to seamlessly connect the living and dining areas to each other and to the adjoining kitchen. I started by painting the whole room in a subtle, neutral shade and then set about creating zones that would differentiate the living and dining areas but have them work together in their shared space.

In the living area I created a stunning feature wall. On half the wall I put up rich cherry-toned wood cabinetry that discreetly incorporates a media center and matches the cabinetry in the kitchen; on the other half, I installed a streamlined gas fireplace with a modern facade of back-painted glass and a surround of river-stone tiles.

I anchored the space with a gorgeous faux-sheepskin area rug and brought in some comfortable furniture: two cotton-striped club chairs, a caramel-colored, L-shaped sectional and a variety of modern and traditional accent pieces with wood and mirror finishes.

I generally use only one feature wall per room, but this large space required more drama, so I added a second in the dining area. Along this wall I created a supersize upholstered banquette and seating bench in a dreamy shade of pool blue. Next to the banquette I placed a dark wood dining-room table with new tan and green upholstered chairs that speak to the furniture in the living room.

To create a seamless flow between the two zones, I put up a whole wall of light gauzy sheers in a soft striped pattern. They're flanked by luxurious, handcrafted cream-colored drapes.

The ceiling was already full of recessed lights, so I simply added small puck lights near the banquette and a chandelier over the dining-room table for some added pizzazz.

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