A long, narrow living room

Before: A long, narrow living room with a tasteful start needs to be warmed up and finished.

The problem: "I have very traditional taste: I like 18th-century pieces and neoclassic pieces, and I don't like anything modern," says Desiree Rocco, a Connecticut restaurateur who has just decorated a large French Normandy brick house for her young family. "My husband and I had a deal—he'd do the outside and I'd do the inside, which I did. I just needed to fine-tune and finish it."

Desiree had started to fill the long, narrow living room with English furniture. She had the rug, two couches, a couple of tables and beautiful window treatments. And there she stopped. "I didn't know how to make it warm and inviting," she says.
A new pair of neoclassic chairs

After: Fill the space by creating three seating areas instead of just one. Above a new pair of neoclassic chairs and a game table hang gold star-shaped sconces and an arrangement of vintage prints.
Leather club chairs and ottomans

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.'"