Tips for comfortable living

North Carolina designer shares his interior decorating and living know-how

We believe a home should be a sanctuary from the hectic outside world, a place to unwind and recharge. Comfort is key, and to us it has always meant more than the sit of a sofa. It’s the way a home looks, how easy it is to entertain in and how simple to care for. It also means being comfortable in your own skin and being able to be yourself — that’s the greatest comfort of all…and why we won’t quit working for equality until everyone has it.

Here are some of our favorite tips to help you truly love your home and appreciate that when it’s set up so it truly suits the way you live, it has value much greater than what the current real estate market might indicate. You can find more ideas in our new decorating book, “The Comfortable Home: How to Invest in Your Nest and Live Well for Less.”

Use only a few colors to create soothing yet stylish settings: Choose 2 or 3 soft, solid hues for main elements. Then brighten with 1 or 2 accent colors on accessories, pillows, art, rugs, and throws.

Add interest with texture: Create a mix — leather, fabric, metal, wood, ceramic, glass, mirror — to make a room calming yet appealing to the eye.

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Good storage means more tranquility. Even little things have big impact: A coffee table with drawers and a shelf can keep the top clear for “TV dinners.” A storage ottoman with lift-off lid lets you stash clutter.

Choose flexible furnishings for easier entertaining. An upholstered ottoman used as a coffee table can be extra seats or a place to serve. A set of nesting tables used as a side table keeps them readily at hand.

When in doubt, opt for slipcovers. They’re easy-care; so kids can put their feet up; guests will worry less about spilling; and pets can nap in peace. Also, you can change them for a quick and easy way to update a room.

Go with upholstered dining chairs. For comfort, they can’t be beat; guests will linger at the table for hours. They can also add color to a room with a lot of wood.

Carry the theme into the bedroom: While you’re at it, choose a well-padded upholstered headboard for your bedroom — it’s so luxurious to lean against and it gives a room a warm, finished look.

Include pieces that encourage lounging. Consider chaises, chair-and-a-halves or club chairs with ottomans. A big “pit” sectional is the ultimate for lounging together…it can be a mini-daycare center, sleepover central, or family-movie-night favorite.

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Love your imperfections: We’d rather things be relaxed than perfect. That’s why we like wood furniture with a little distressing — no worries about making the first mark.

Let lighting enhance the look and the mood: Use lamps as decorative touches in a room. And put lights on dimmers so you can adjust them to suit what’s happening — bright for tasks, low for parties.

Have fun with flowers: Arrangements don’t need to be elaborate or expensive. Simple and low works better; flowers shouldn’t block your view of the person you’re conversing with. When you’re not sure what to use, go with white flowers. They complement everything.

Surround yourself with things you love. That will go a long way to helping you love where you live. Weed out clutter so your rooms feel more spacious and you have less to maintain. : :

Bob Williams is the president of design at Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Home Furnishings. Based in Taylorsville, N.C., Williams’ company is on the forefront of American furniture and home decor. Williams and business parter Mitchell Gold support numerous LGBT organizations, locally and nationally.

This article was published in the March 6—March 19 print edition.

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