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Best Decor Advice: The Living Room

Gabrielle Stanley Blair, the founder of one of our favorite sites that combines a chic and approachable aesthetic with motherhood, Design Mom, has a new book "Design Mom: How to Live With Kids: A Room-By-Room Guide." Here she dishes on how to keep the living room looking it's best all while being friendly to the little ones.

"Despite its friendly name, the living room has historically been off-limits to the under-five set. Many families reserve the space for special occasions, special guests, or simply those who know how to live without making a mess, patting down little ones before allowing entrance: no markers, no scissors, no brownies, and don't even think about muddy shoes!

I don't believe in unused rooms or unused things in any family home, no matter its size. To me, reserving a space for people who may pop in a few times a year is a missed opportunity for memory-making.

Make it easy for your family to truly live in your living room. Whatever your preferred activities, there are a million ways to ensure that the room is used the way you've designed it. If you want the living room to function as a reading nook, make sure there's enough lighting to brighten your pages. If it's your family's cozy space, make sure there are plenty of throws and a music docking system within reach. Form follows function: Once you've determined how the room will be used, you can make it gorgeous, choosing materials, furniture, and accents that work best for the plan you've made," write Blair.

Excerpted from Design Mom: How to Live with Kids: A Room-by-Room Guide by Gabrielle Stanley Blair (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2015. Photograph by Tina Russell.

Available at Amazon.

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