-Aimee Beatty, Sylist
Don't mount your TV too high. Here's an easy guide: The bottom should be at eye level when you're sitting, the top at eye level when you're standing.
-Danny Lipford, home expert
Get the feel of an expensive pillow from any bargain pillow cover when you swap the foam insert for a down one. (You can find them for as little as $6 for a 12-inch square.)
-Michael Walters, stylist
One of my favorite tricks is to prime one wall with multiple coats of Rust-Oleum's magnetic primer ($22 per quart), then paint over it with whatever color you like. It turns the wall into a message center or gallery for kid's artwork without the visual clutter or multiple nail holes.
- Patrice Bevans, designer
To discourage clutter, adopt this rule: If you carry it in, you carry it out. Items left out at the end of the night go into the "penalty box." To retrieve them, you have to pay the penalty, such as doing a dreaded household chore.
-Donna Smith, author of A to Z Storage Solutions
Arrange furniture for conversation. Put pieces at cozy right angles close enough so people can talk, not just blow kisses across the room.
-Elaine Griffin, designer
Look at lamps as a way to add color and sculpture to the room without the clutter of knick-knacks. Three-way bulbs are a must. The low setting emits a soft glow; turn up the juice when you're ready to read.
The size of TV your room can accommodate depends on how far you sit from it. The distance between you and the screen should be equal to two or three times the diagonal screen size. If you're between two screen sizes, go with the larger one.
My secret weapon is a round coffee table with a shelf below. The rounded edges are safer for little noggins.
- Liz Levin, designer
Stash remotes (plus coasters, napkins, lip balm, and other necessities) in an attractive box. Bonus: You'll always know where to find the remote.
Choosing furniture upholstered in outdoor fabrics, Ultrasuede, synthetic blends, or fabrics treated with high-tech stain-resistance, such as Nanotex, adds longevity to your furniture, whether your life includes kids, pets, or clumsy guests.
-Liz Levin, designer
Want a collected-over-time look right now? You can't go wrong if you mix a slipcovered sofa, a dark wood coffee table, and a leather chair. Pick distressed wood and leather so you won't have to worry about putting the first scratch on them.
-Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams, furniture experts