Can you count the elements in this living room to make it truly a room to live in?

This blog post will show you the essential elements of my former living room that I can honestly say was used and loved by many, many family and friends. Read on to see why.

1. Open space dilemmas

There are a  myriad of challenges that open floor plans present. Top of my design goals are always to design for cozy intimacy spaces. Sadly however, I observe that this often a missed and overlooked opportunity. In order for my open space living area to be one of those restorative experiences, I implemented these 6 principles.

2.Overcoming the Challenge of 9’ ceilings

By avoiding contrasting paints or stains or the implementation of horizontal elements on moldings, bookcases, drapery rods, and etc, the vertical plane is uninterrupted. This accomplishes the perspective of a greater sense of height.  The selection of a soothing off white paint, also contributed to this overall feeling of spaciousness in this 9′ ceiling living area. Unlike most older homes, in today’s open space homes, higher ceilings is more often the norm. 

3.Creating Smaller seating areas versus one large seating area

I believe to experience a sense of connection to others in an open space, creating smaller seating areas that can be used for different purposes is the key. For example, there is the larger seating area with the two sofas. If I had a nickel for every wonderful gathering enjoyed there, I would be a wealthier lady!  If necessary for more people to gather around, other chairs were pulled up to face the fireplace. 

The cozy intimate seating area with two loveseats of the secondary seating area was also frequently used. I enjoyed sitting here by myself to chill out reading or to savor my treasures in the bookcase. I can vividly remember sitting there reliving the lovely memories that many of  these treasures represent for me.

How many other seating areas can you identify?

4.Less is more in furniture and accessories in open spaces

In open spaces, scale and proportion are of the utmost importance. This is where I observe the most frequent design mistakes. Each seating area in this living area is proportioned to the individual spaces without looking too busy or confusing by the size of these furniture pieces.

It’s an old model home trick to use larger scaled pieces to give the perspective of a larger space. In this open living area with the various seating areas, the placement of more smaller furniture pieces would have totally defeated the goal of a pleasing, relaxing space by being too busy. The scale and proportion of these furniture pieces gave a visually enjoyable perspective. The opposite effect is to experiene visual clutter resulting from too much furniture or accessories.

Too much of anything is just too much including furniture.

5.It’s all about the soothing, nurturing essentials

The main coffee table, in addition to the other tables within the various seating areas, were easily accessible for drinks, food, etc. Observe for yourself many of the gorgeous rooms in print or media how far the coffee table is from the seating pieces. 

Adding candles, books, and pillows that don’t overwhelm us in their amount or sizes also provide that nurturing aspect most of us crave.

6.Color, Too much of anything is too much…….

Of course I realize that many designers and many of you reading this post do not agree with me on using color sparingly.  However, since my life stage along with my targeted followers being the 50+, again, less is more in how in aging gracefully we absorb and process color. 

I am planning a future post that will affirm what research and my own experience reveal about color in our spaces as we “age gracefully”…?

Nevertheless, I love color! I enjoy color! But when I am calling it a day or wanting to chill out, I crave and need those spaces that do not overwhelm me with too much color, especially saturated ones. 

7.Turn on and off that lighting!

Oh boy oh boy! Can we ever say enough how lighting affects our moods in our spaces? And yes, this is another area where most designers see the most mistakes. 

Lighting in our spaces is like food. It can be too salty or spicy. It can be too bland. It can also be just perfectly seasoned. 

This is the ultimate goal of completing a truly nurturing open space or any space for that matter….get the lighting right.

In this living room there are a zillion ceiling cans but all on dimmers. There are wall sconces, again they are all on dimmers. There is a chandelier, of course on a dimmer. Finally, there are the beautiful lamps to give what I believe only lamps can provide, add intimacy eto our spaces. 

So there you have it. Can you tell that I put my heart and soul in this living area? 

My wish for you all is that you can receive these tips and implement them into your own spaces whether an open one or not. 

Afterall, isn’t this what aging gracefully is all about in achieving a healthy home? Putting soul into all your spaces certainly does this exact thing. It raises the bar for you to aging gracefully.

Loving and Living Life Together, 


  1. Anonymous

    Beautiful home! We enjoyed two areas in our large living rooms in our two old homes. Lovely!!

  2. Leslie Carothers

    Hi Mitzi:

    There’s so much wisdom in this post. I really love how you created so many opportunities for gathering in smaller groups via your furniture arrangements and the number of smaller chairs that are part of your open floor plan.

    And I 100% agree with you that various types of lighting sources – on dimmers – is the key to making every space seem as inviting and comfortable as possible.

    I know you must miss this home, but your new one is just as lovely, and I look forward to reading more about how you’re making these same principles work for you there.

  3. Janet Lorusso

    All great advice, Mitzi, and a big AMEN to proper lighting! I think lighting is where so many people go wrong and then can’t figure out why the room doesn’t “feel” welcoming – I love your seasoning analogy 🙂

  4. Christie

    I too am a big fan of less is more! Great post!!

  5. Christina+Rodriguez

    I think it true that as people age they crave less colors in a room. Except me. I find that more and more I am craving color. I want to keep adding instead of taking away.

  6. Mary Ann Benoit

    I love that, “putting soul into all your spaces”, and you certainly have shown us how with your great tips.

    • Mitzi

      Hi Mary Ann and thank you for commenting on the soul of our spaces. This truly is what makes a home a home.

  7. Denise

    Perfect coziness and just the right mood of happiness at home. Your ideas resonate with me. Thanks for sharing.

    • Mitzi

      I so appreciate you affirming the coziness aspect of my living room and this post Denise. thank you for commenting!

  8. Sheri Bruneau

    Great post, Mitzi. So many great tips. I especially find that less is more in furniture is a huge one (along with proper scale).

    • Mitzi

      Thanks so much, Sheri! I love it that you are into less furniture also!