With any space that lacks architectural focus, such as a fine chimney or tall windows, it makes real sense to add one.

There are many ways to do this. One of course, is with color. An accent wall concentrates the mind powerfully, particularly if it faces you as you enter the space, and if it is unbroken by doors or windows and is properly illuminated.

An important piece of furniture can take the place of a fireplace or another tall or important architectural element. A handsome armoire or a beautiful screen can make a splendid focal point for a conversation group, in much the same way as a chimney can.

In a living room I designed, I was faced - quite literally, upon entering the room - with a long wall broken by a pair of small and undistinguished windows.

Rather than try to disguise the low and wide look of this square room, I decided to emphasize it, but at the same time design the furniture to incorporate the low windows into the scheme.

To do this, I built in a long seating unit, clear across the width of the room, in front of the windows. Behind is a continuous shelf of charcoal-gray plastic laminate. The shelf also runs from wall to wall, but it is perforated with two rectangular grills to allow heat or cool air to circulate from the convectors under the two windows.

The walls are covered in a charcoal-gray menswear flannel, matching the dark gray industrial carpet that covers the floor, wall to wall.

A large bronze-tinted mirrored cube becomes a coffee table, reflecting the owner's collection of wooden decoys, here assembled in a flock to add their blacks, whites and grays to the sophisticated color scheme.

The windows themselves are covered in an off-white reinforced fiberglass material in a simple window shade. The fabric allows light to enter the room and is easily rolled up for a better view, but acts as a heat deflector at the same time it repeats the off-white color of the linen seating.

If you want to avoid the expense of a built-in seating system, you can achieve the same look with modular seating units, ready-made at your interest department or furniture store.

A matching mobile ottoman and an ornate bentwood rocker with its natural cane seat combine with recessed lighting and luxurious plants to make this low space a wide and handsome for entertaining and living.