a living room with a fireplace and Oriental rug

Photo: Eric O'Connell; Designer: Randall Koll, Randall Koll Design

San Francisco designer Randall Koll created a scenario for decorating a living room in three orderly stages that build upon each other, with a budget of no more than $1,000 per stage. First, Koll painted the room and replaced long gathered curtains with tailored grass blinds. Then he rearranged the existing furniture into a conversation area for the greatest impact. In stage two, the big-ticket item was the rug. It enlivened the space, anchored the furniture, and tied the color palette together like a bow on a present. Stage three included a small painting for the mantel, displayed on a small easel instead of in a frame in order to save money. Other accessories were added, including a set of nesting tables that provides a lot of surface space for the money.

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