1. Colour the walls with a suede-effect paint in a warm, chocolate shade, which will make the large space appear snug.

2. Rearrange the furniture to divide an open-plan area into two zones. Create seating clusters with 'corridors' for walking around and through each zone. Put the TV on a swivel disc so nobody misses their favourite program.

3. Swap fixtures and fittings to create an immediate and powerful impact. Replace dated curtains with economical modern alternatives, such as textured curtain panels and rails, that can be bought ready-made and fixed to walls or the ceiling. These provide a sleek look that belies their cost, and they give privacy without blocking light. Have an electrician install an adjustable pendant light fitting, so you can change the shade easily to suit your room's style.

4. Add splashes of an accent colour or two to add life to a strong but neutral scheme. Cushions, lamps, rugs and ceramic accessories fulfil this role.

5. Hang pictures that reflect the room's accent colour, to provide cohesion and balance the colour throughout the room.

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