No place for a TV here

The popularity of media rooms or family rooms that incorporate the newest in big screens, flat screens, computer games and more is modern reality.

This colour scheme of neutral browns promotes a relaxing atmosphere in this quiet sitting room.

The popularity of media rooms or family rooms that incorporate the newest in big screens, flat screens, computer games and more is modern reality. But as entertaining and fun as these rooms are, and as central to home life as they have become, I crave the opposite, an antidote to all that busyness.

If you are lucky enough to have a space that can be utilized as a separate sitting area, this is a luxury to me.

When starting a decorating project for any room, think first about its purpose.

Who is going to be using the room? How will you spend time there? Is it a day or night room? With its purpose in mind, decide next what mood you want to create that will complement the purpose. In the sitting room shown here, I wanted a place to visit with a few friends in a setting that was conducive to conversation.

Also, I envisioned it as a retreat where I could read or even work quietly. Definitely no TV.

For both these purposes, the mood I anticipated was to be calm and uplifting. Taupes, browns and all tones of white are favorite choices for a peaceful setting.

These natural shades evoke a feeling of serenity.

Blue is another natural that lifts the neutral browns. So I had my color palette.

In a small area, a mostly monotone scheme will give the illusion of space. The peachy-brown painted walls and curtain panels, the dark hardwood floor, soft-brown carpet and dark-chocolate cushions relate discretely to each other without being a prefect match. Seating was next on the list.

Four chairs appealed to me rather than the more traditional sofas. I find this setup more comfortable for chatting, and there is a growing selection of seating today that is designed for small spaces. Bare metal legs and white upholstery look streamlined and modern, yet dressy enough for an inviting sitting room.

There’s lots of white visible at the window and on the chairs to lift the spirits and show off the rich brown tones and textures. And the blue cushions are that magical third colour accent that balances the whole space.

Glass or mirrored tabletops are a key element when creating the illusion of space, and the combination of the metal legs and glass tops produces a light, floaty feeling that is guaranteed to revive the spirit. This is now a welcome place to spend time, rather minimalistic to maximize on a small area without making it feel crowded.

Debbie Travis’s House to Home column is produced by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle. Please e-mail your questions to

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