After: Leather club chairs and ottomans by the fireplace and two sofas rearranged in an L shape invite lounging and conversation. Decorative elements—metal sconces, architectural prints, candlesticks, painted boxes and needlepoint pillows—give the space personality. 

The solution: Decorators George Snead and Margi Vorder Bruegge propped (to use the stylists' term for adding objects to make a picture) Desiree's room in her own taste. They rejiggered the furniture to make new seating arrangements and pulled things from the edges of the walls into the middle of the room. This edge thing is a pet peeve of theirs: "We call it wagons circling the fire," says George. "Everything against the walls can make the space, especially a long, narrow room like this one, really grim."

Desiree says, "It took a couple of hours, and when I came home I was thrilled. They took it to a whole new level. My husband keeps saying, 'C'mon, let's go sit in there.'"