Each week, we’re bringing you top tips, favorite products, and Q&A’s with the designers in our Coastal Living and Southern Living Designer Network.


Courtesy of Kelley Proxmire

Bethesda, MD designer Kelley Proxmire of Kelley Interior Design shares her top 5 tips on how to style a comfortable, yet chic living room.


Inspiration for this living room came from the navy with while scroll fabric used for pillows on the sofa. The ceiling is painted a light blue color. The one-of-a-kind piece in this room is the mirror, which was a vintage mirror painted with gold and leaf and an acid drip. Photo by Angie Seckinger



Tip 1, Inspiration: Find your inspiration for the room, whether it's a fabric, piece of art, or a unique accessory, and work from there.

Tip 2, Scale and Pattern: Find complimentary fabrics for your inspiration piece while paying attention to scale and pattern. For example, if you have a large-scale floral inspiration fabric, find a smaller scale geometric or stripes and solid complimentary fabrics that will give dimension to the space.



The multi-color dragon print fabric was the inspiration for this living room. The ceiling is wallpapered with neutral color grass cloth. Additionally, one-of-a-kind accessories were used in the space. Photo by Kip Dawkins



Tip 3, Layers: Layering the room with accessories, pillows and artwork is very important to the design. Components of the layering may include organic items, such as plants and flowers, decorative boxes, books/bookends, small artwork on tables, and more.

Tip 4, Ceiling Detail: The ceiling should not be neglected. Ways to accentuate the ceiling are painting, wallpapering, or perhaps painting a border where the wall and ceiling meet.





This Kelley Proxmire living room features a custom table with seating flanking the fireplace plus a light blue ceiling. Photo by Erik Johnson



Tip 5, One-of-a-kinds: Having one-of-a-kind pieces, whether it's furniture or accessories, is important to set the room apart and add interest to the space. Examples are antique, vintage and custom pieces, such as an unusual lamp, unique wall hangings or custom finished furniture.