Los Angeles Times

Choosing furniture for your California home

Your home can look like it was put together by the same celebrity interior deisgners that decorate the hills of Hollywood.

Furnishing your living room with everyday comfort yet star-quality style is simple: use furniture that has good lines and bold shapes; add unique pieces and heirlooms for wit and soul.

Furnishing a living room is like filling a wardrobe with things you might wear every day. As with clothing, basics come first. When selecting main furniture pieces – sofas, chairs, armoires, and side and coffee tables – classics are always best. Start with a generously proportioned sofa, which is versatile and timeless like your favorite cashmere sweater. Add a comfortable armchair or leather club chair – the equivalent of a well-made suit. Once you have easy-to-live-with foundation pieces, you can begin to dress up your living room with details that add personality, intrigue and interest.


When choosing living room furniture, keep the proportions of your space in mind. Oversized furniture in a small room can be overpowering and can compromise traffic flow, while pieces that are too small produce an environment where the space, rather than the people in it, dominates. Create a sense of balance by choosing furniture that is the right size, shape, and scale for the room. For example, a love seat and a small club chair are well-suited for a small living room, while a grand living room needs a sectional or two adjacent couches plus an armchair with ottoman. Play with your space and hand-picked pieces to create your perfectly balanced living room.


Dissimilar pieces can be visually linked by grouping them closely together, or by relating them to a common line, such as along a wall or the edge of a rug. You can also arrange living room furniture in relation to a backdrop – a large painting or an archway or other architectural element. Think of groupings of furniture as islands you can occupy for different purposes: socializing, watching TV or writing letters.


You can group pieces in your room symmetrically, asymmetrically, on the diagonal, or radiating out from a specific point, to create different effects. By finding core pieces that work in many orientations, you're free to reinvent the room later without entirely starting over. Shapely basics that adapt easily are the best building blocks

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