A designer keeps the cedar-paneled walls and concrete floors but updates the kitchen and decor in a 1970s Texas home

Midcentury Living Room and Kitchen Get a Stylish, Comfy Update.

Living Room and Kitchen at a Glance
Who lives here: Three women (a couple and a sister)
Location: Keller, Texas (in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex)
Size: 2,100 square feet (195 square meters) for the whole house
Designer: Ann Bridgman of Just the Thing Decorating, Staging, and Windows
Year built: 1974

This midcentury home in Texas had belonged to a family for 20 years. It had never really served as a primary residence and, as a result, hadn’t received the regular care and upkeep a full-time home might have. “The house had not been updated in many years, and the kitchen needed to be completely remodeled,” interior designer Ann Bridgman says.

After deciding to move in permanently, the homeowners hired Bridgman to refresh and renovate their home. They focused on the communal living areas, gutting the kitchen and redecorating the living and dining areas to better accommodate a household of three. “The taste of the homeowners leaned toward clean lines and midcentury styles, so we focused on finding furniture to reflect that aesthetic,” Bridgman says.

The Tiny Canal Cottage’s Whitney Leigh Morris shares her creative approaches to guests, gifts, decor and more

How to Handle the Holidays in a Small Space.

If you live in a 362-square-foot cottage with your husband, toddler and two beagles, do you have to gather with the clan around someone else’s table every Thanksgiving and instantly regift everything you get for Christmas? As a mother of three grown children who is thinking about drastically downsizing with the hubby from a suburban house 10 times that size (and crammed with 20 years of memories) to a small city condo, I wanted to know.

So I asked small-space lifestyle blogger and consultant Whitney Leigh Morris — who lives and works in the aforementioned cottage, aka The Tiny Canal Cottage in the Venice area of Los Angeles — how she navigates the holidays with husband Adam Winkleman and their son, West. Her first book, Small Space Style.

Matching design services to your goals and needs can get you on the road to a living room that better reflects you

Great Home Project: Refresh Your Living Room.

Does your living room have a case of the blahs? Whether you’re looking for quick furniture-arranging help or a complete overhaul, read on for the need-to-know info on making your living room live up to its full potential. We caught up with interior designer Mollie Openshaw to get the scoop on costs, time frames and picking the right pro for the job.

Learn what you might spend on DIY decorating, plus where it’s good to splurge or scrimp

Decorating 101: How Much Is This Going to Cost Me?

You’ve just moved into a new home, and you’re ready to decorate. Or you’ve been in your home for a while and want to give the place a whole new look. And you want to do it yourself. The big question is: What’s it going to cost you?

There’s no magic formula for figuring out how much you can expect to spend on decorating. (Trust me — I asked.) But there are steps you can take to figure out what the project might cost and where the money should be spent.

Learn the advantages and disadvantages of decorating alone and bringing in skilled help

Decorating 101: Do It Yourself or Hire a Pro?

Once you’ve figured out what you want your home to look like, the big question is: Should you decorate it yourself or hire a professional? Or both?

Interior decorators and designers as we know them today barely existed before the 20th century. Before that it was taken for granted that you decorated your home yourself, unless you were Marie Antoinette or somebody with a similar pedigree.

Old habits die hard. Some people still think you need to live in a palace to hire a decorator, or are fearful of the cost (whether real or perceived). For others it’s not so much a question of money, but of ceding control and having the concern that the results might not reflect their tastes. Some dive into the collaborative process without hesitation, while others have confidence in their tastes and skill and prefer to decorate their homes themselves.

Learn where to look for palette inspiration — and one commonly advised place maybe you shouldn’t

Decorating 101: How to Choose Your Colors.

Once you have figured out what style of interior you want and how much you want to spend, your next decision is: What colors should you use?

At the beginning of our Decorating 101 series, I recommended collecting photos of rooms that you like. And don’t just limit yourself to room shots. “I tear a lot of photos out of Vogue that are very inspirational to me for color palettes,” says San Francisco designer Allison Caccoma.

Take out those images or call up your Houzz ideabook now and have a good look. Are there certain color palettes that appear over and over? Is there one color that you find yourself liking the most? That should help you choose an overall palette for your decorating project.

Didn’t get your decor right the first time around? No problem — you can turn your styling errors into successes

Decorating Master Class: 10 Common Mistakes and How to Fix Them.

If you’re scratching your head over why the decor in some of the spaces in your home leaves you feeling slightly underwhelmed, a remedy — or at least an improvement — may be just a few moves away. Whether it’s a bland room, a paint color you’re not quite sure about or throw pillows that refuse to sit right no matter how many times you arrange them, here are the tweaks that can help turn your questionable decorating decisions into resounding wins.

Get the scoop on certifications, project scope, working from afar and more

8 Things Interior Designers Want You to Know.

Have you been dreaming of hiring an interior designer? Wondering if hiring a designer is right for you, or just want to know more about what the process is really like? We asked interior designers, Kate O’Hara of Martha O’Hara Interiors and Andrea Schumacher of Andrea Schumacher Interiors, to share their insights.

What do interior designers do? The popular image of an interior designer toting around fabric swatches and paint samples covers only a small part of what these pros do. Like decorators, interior designers can help you choose fabrics, furnishings and paint colors. And in many U.S. states, interior designers have design degrees and are also certified to offer additional expertise in building codes, construction standards, project coordination and more.

Before you grab that first paint chip, figure out your needs, your decorating style and what to get rid of

Decorating 101: How to Start a Decorating Project.

Congratulations. You’ve decided to decorate your home. Now what?

Whether you’re furnishing your first place or redoing the house you’ve owned for decades, decorating can be a challenging task, filled with costly decisions whose outcomes could haunt you for years. How do you figure out what style is right for you? Should you tackle the job yourself or hire a pro? How much should you spend? And what steps can you take to ensure you’ll be happy with the results?

In this series I’ll take you through the entire decorating process, from initial inspirations to final floor plans. We’ll talk about choosing colors, shopping for furniture, arranging furniture, where you should scrimp and where you should spend.

Try a few of these living room design tips, and you’ll be on your way to creating a comfy space that reflects your style

How to Decorate a Living Room: 11 Designer Tips.

Whether your style is traditional or modern, relaxed or formal, bold or subdued, your living room should be a place where you can feel comfortable, let down your guard and spend quality time with friends, family or just yourself. There’s an art to decorating a room that looks great and works well for you. So before you dive into a living room redesign with your pro, arm yourself with a few designer tips and tricks. Here are some of my favorites.