Decorative over‐the‐mantel mirror. It's the oldest interiors trick in the book. A striking over‐the‐mantel mirror gives even a supersnug living room a sense of space and light. However, don't settle for just any old mirror. For old‐school elegance, go for a Shabby Chic–style French‐looking piece with an ornate white plaster or gilt wooden frame. If you can afford to, get an original vintage mirror, complete with authentically aged silvering. If not, consider reproductions – they work a similar magic for less cash.
Choose bilevel furniture. Clear surfaces look great – but let's face it, they are hard to keep clear. One way to solve that problem is by picking out coffee and side tables with a lower shelf. You can spread out your stuff when you're home alone, and then stack it up and stash it on the bottom shelf when company comes.
Solid neutrals. You can't miss with a pair of armchairs upholstered in natural linen and a light rug. Mixing patterns with the throw pillows brings a bit of interest to the room, but keeping them in the neutral range means they will all go effortlessly together.