I’ve got some quotes for you of what some designers think you should include in every design in every room:
Something living! Nothing injects a sense of life into what can be the least lived-in room in the house like a beautiful tree or plant. My two favorite trees are Kentia palms and fiddle-leaf figs. For something smaller, there’s always room for a maidenhair fern or potted ivy. A vase filled with branches or oversize leaves is a quick fix and will last a while. If the tree and plant thing feels too high-maintenance, you can always just put some tulips in a jar and call it a day.”
“Something very personal — an object, a painting, a collection. Things don’t have to be expensive, but it’s the personality that makes any room feel grounded and ‘real,’ not some anonymous space.”
“Candles, and lots of them. They conjure romance instantly.”
—Roderick N. Shade
“A tray. It makes a disconnected group of objects seem like a collection.”
—T. Keller Donovan
“Trays for coffee tables and ottomans. They keep the tablescapes contained in their own frame, of sorts, and add another dimension and texture to the styling. They also make it easy to lift everything off when you need more room for entertaining.”
“Candlesticks. I really love the bronze ones by Gene Summers, in varying heights. They layer the light in a room — and are beautiful objects in their own right.”
“The one accessory I really fight to put in every living room is a TV. Plasma, of course, and as big as possible. It makes people use their ‘trophy’ living rooms other than for the proverbial high holy days. And if you want to be chic when you have guests, program it to play Matthew Barney or some other video art.”
“Layers of cushions in tactile fabrics. I’m not a big fan of using lots of different colors in a room, but layering lots of pillows of different textures is an incredibly luxurious yet cozy look.”
“A stylish throw. A good quality throw can last a lifetime and adds a dash of color and pattern as well as comfort and a homey quality.”
In every room I personally think you should include…
…books. No matter how you choose to display them – from disorganized stacks piled on chairs to formal glass pained bookcases, books provide appeal that few other props can mimic. High tables, low tables, even the end of the settee can be ideal places to keep books. For character and warmth – no other ornaments come close!
…one black thing. Black creates depth and interest.
…and excellent lighting. Lighting has the superpower to make the people feel comfortable, to change and control their moods, or to give a certain feel to a room.