A client of mine recently moved into a home that the family had previously used only for vacations. She needed to incorporate some pieces from both homes and start to think of this house in terms of year-round use.
I thought the living room redesign was a good way to illustrate a few decorating tips. In the before photo above, you can see that the furniture was essentially pushed up against the walls.
In the makeover, I positioned the furniture in the center of the room, creating a cozy sitting area with the fireplace as the focus. There's still plenty of room behind that sofa to make your way to another part of the house.
If your furniture is up against the walls at your house, try moving some pieces into the middle. You may be surprised at how that transforms the room. Just leave yourself obvious paths through the room and into other spaces.
This room was also helped by the addition of lamps. Even if there are lots of overhead lights or sconces, nothing warms up a room like lamps. And, we used small wicker boxes that the home owner's daughter was storing toys in as end tables.
It's always a good idea to have somewhere to place a cup of coffee or a glass of wine while you sit and admire your new room.