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20th Century Design

How to Decorate a Room with a View

Sweeping views are impressive, but rooms with abundant windows can present design challenges. Will that dramatic chandelier obscure a sight line to the mountains? You love all of that natural light, but what about the glare it creates on your flat-screen TV? Success lies in choosing well-proportioned furniture and paying close attention to the intended use of a space. Below are five rooms that get it right, plus key pieces available on Sotheby's Home, the online marketplace for great design.  

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In this design by Barclay Butera, we see a living room with sliding glass doors that is also used as a gathering space to watch television or movies. For privacy at night, two bamboo shades were installed at the top of the doors. (The material also echoes the woven rattan coffee table.) Since the room is mainly used for entertainment, the furniture is placed so that the screen is the focal point. However, the orange side chair can be easily moved to the side to open up the view.

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The Hasley Slipper Chair from Ralph Lauren Home is covered in a bright orange linen fabric that makes a statement in any space.


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A wall of windows can also serve as a focal point in a living room dedicated to quiet conversation, reading, or entertaining. Treat it as you would a fireplace, and position furniture in a grouping around the window, like in this design by Foley & Cox.

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With its tailored look and versatile beige upholstery, the York Sofa from Duralee is a sophisticated option that’s also low-key enough to keep the focus on the view.


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In a dining room that looks out onto the ocean, the main concern is less about privacy (or deciding on a focal point) and more about keeping the view unobstructed. This is especially true in an open floor plan that combines a living and dining area, like in this space by Barclay Butera. One frequently-overlooked feature than can obstruct sight lines is overhead lighting. Here, a glass chandelier with an even, horizontal row of bulbs offers illumination without obstruction.

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Though the lighting element is enclosed in a single horizontal “shade” rather than multiple glass bubble shades, the Artemide Float L Suspension Light can be positioned so it won’t obstruct the view.


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Color schemes can also play an important role in the design of a room with a view. In the above oceanfront space by Barclay Butera, the color palette largely sticks to neutrals that won’t distract from the scenery. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re limited to beiges and browns in a similar space. Instead, pull one accent color from the surrounding environment — like the nautical shades of blue used throughout the space.

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Upholstered in a rich fabric that’s the color of the sea at night, the Slate Barell Chair by J Bertrum can suit both traditional and modern decor.


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Art collectors, take note: Walls of windows won’t necessarily limit your opportunities to display your collection. In fact, the boundaries within the structure of the window can actually serve to “frame” a standing sculpture, like in this contemporary living space by Eric Roseff.

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Elevate your favorite piece with the Paradiso Pedestal Stand by Giorgio USA.

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