Homes once were designed with an upstairs sitting room to go with the master bedroom. This delightful amenity made it possible for mother and father to have a place of refuge away from the madding crowd of family and friends below.

Such a room does not have to be a full-scale parlor, just a place for reading, talking, listening to music or having a second cup of coffee. I've designed comfy sitting in tiny quarters with nothing more than a pair of small wicker chairs, a 24-inch diameter wicker table and a floor lamp for reading.

In another bedroom where there was only room for one chair, I used a high-backed wing chair beside a half-round drop leaf table. A bench at the foot of the bed added a second perch.

If there is no room for chairs, a window seat can often be arranged. In rooms without a bay or gabled window, improvise by building out the walls on either side of the windows, using the new space on the side for storage and the space between as a luxurious rock.

In one bedroom I was fortunate to have ample floor space for a really proper sitting area. The bed faced a floor-to-ceiling picture window with a handsome view, but between the bed and window there was enough room for a pair of facing chairs. What is enough? At least 18 to 24 inches between the foot of the bed and the edge of the chair. In this long room, I had a generous 30-inches of clearance.

The chairs I chose were part of a modular system and I covered them in super-luxurious velours. The matching ottoman, also 30 inches wide, is a perfect place to rest your feet or perch a breakfast tray.

I flanked these seats with two lacquered cylindrical occasional tables and his-and-hers reading lamps. A big tree near the window completed this inviting group.

I painted the walls a warm gray and matched it to an elegant, plush wall-to-wall carpet. The channle-quilted bedcover was pale rose cotton; the same unquilted fabric covers the box-spring. The velours on the chairs were a slightly deeper version of this mauve-rose color.