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My Favorite Room: Elisabeth Röhm can stand a little sand on the floor of her colorful and casual Venice living room

Elisabeth Röhm, who grew up in Manhattan and Long Island, chose her Venice home five years ago because she wanted to live by the water.

"I ride my bicycle, and I smell the ocean, how the water has rolled in," the former "Law and Order" actress said. "Some places sing to your soul, and being near the ocean has always had the best effect on me."

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Röhm loves the colorful living room in her cozy bungalow, which she shares with her 10-year old daughter; their husky, Blue; and their cat, Amber.

There, she reads in an armchair, helps her daughter with her homework and entertains friends — whom she encourages to "track sand in, relax and feel at home in the barefooted-ness of it all."

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"It's surprising to some people, because of what I do," Röhm, 45, said. "They think we all hide behind gates."

Röhm, currently on crime drama "The Oath" on Sony Crackle, mostly decorated the house herself, with help from online design company SwatchPop. She envisioned a space that was filled with color, meaningful pieces and comfortable furniture designed for all-day lounging.

Why is this your favorite room?

I think of it as a porcelain teacup — more color, less sense, more whimsy. There's something delicate about it. Even if you have a large home, you tend to hang out in the same room all the time.

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What's the reason you opted for an online design service?

It's cool and interactive. You send a picture of a room, layout questions and they suggest products. It's like having a personal decorator help you finish your look and bring your vision to life. They helped me pull the room together, without it being matching-matching.

Did anyone else help you?

I worked a lot with Francesca DeShae, who owns LiveStyle Marketplace & Gallery here in Venice. She has beautiful, colorful bohemian pieces, and the larger pieces came from her.

What was the overall look you were going for?

I wanted everything to flow and look pulled together, but it wasn't like I wanted draperies that fell to the ground. I wanted sunlight in the space. It was about creating a thread, because there's so much color and inconsistency.

And bohemian-chic?

Definitely, with lots of pinks and blues and some elegant touches — like this rug — but without a lot of formality.

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What are some of your favorite pieces in the room?

There are pillows and paintings from Bali and Cambodia, which I found through SwatchPop. And this painting has sentimental meaning for me; it was done by artist Justin Love, and I got it when I was on "Law & Order." The chairs are from West Elm. I have my share of Buddhas and crystals; my mother was a meditation teacher, so those pieces remind me of her.

What do you love doing in here?

I like to sit and arrange flowers; they make the house come alive and look so vibrant. When my daughter goes to sleep, I'll have a glass of wine and read scripts. Half of what an actor does is read material to see what they might do next. And there's no TV in this room; it's a place where we sit and converse.

The casual vibe is really nice.

So many homes feel forced and formal. But how much do we need, really? We don't need a palace.

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