Gorgeous Great Room

Some great rooms will incorporate a window seat to take advantage of the natural light provided by large windows. If your great room doesn't have a built-in window seat you can place a bench or loveseat beside the window.

The key to a great room is to have a wall of glass looking out on a great view. Most architects and designers use large, custom fixed-glass windows with French doors opening onto a deck or balcony.

With so many different activities going on in the great room, lighting is an important element. Track lighting in the ceiling can help provide overall ambient lighting, while pendant lamps or chandeliers can add beautiful accent lighting. Floor and table lamps can be used to provide task lighting in appropriate areas of the room.

If you want the room to seem open but you want a feeling of intimacy while dining, you can fulfill both wishes by dropping the ceiling in the dining area or adding columns to define the space. You can change the flooring from wood to stone or tile in different areas as well as changing the level of the floor by making the living area a step or two lower than the kitchen and dining area.

Most homes are designed with two-story great rooms that are often overlooked by a second-floor walkway or balcony. Those two-story spaces may look great, but if you live in a very cold climate, rooms with high ceilings and a lot of windows can often feel drafty and cost considerably more to heat.