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Decorating Dilemma

House & Garden
Decorating Dilemma

Our editors answer your decorating questions. This week: Decorating large rooms without spending a fortune

My rooms are too big! I bought a house about a year ago, with rooms mostly 20 feet by 15 or 16 feet. Because I moved from a small apartment, I need to know how to make the rooms feel cozy and finished without going on a spending spree. The ceilings are very tall as well, so we need ideas on using the vertical space. One last thing: we never use the dining room and want to turn it into a sitting room or library. It has tin ceilings, a seven-foot tall window and pocket doors.

Laura in Baltimore, MD


Color and pattern make any room feel cozier. Since you're feeling overwhelmed by the tall ceilings, add a chair rail around the room using stock molding. Then paint the wall above or below the chair rail a color that compliments your furniture. If you're feeling brave, try a fabulous wallpaper. Great wallpaper new patterns are everywhere these days, at great prices, and would immediately break up the vertical feeling.

Making the dining room double as a library is an excellent idea. First, get yourself a new, inexpensive 48-inch round dining table and cover it with a pretty table skirt. (Try Place it in the middle of the room. Your existing chairs will be fine, but you might want to spring for a pair of upholstered wing chairs for either end of the table to use as reading chairs (They will also make the space feel cozier and fill up the room.) Against the walls, add freestanding bookshelves or étageres and fill them with books, which always make a room feel warm and finished.


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