Whatever its origins, the living-room look in bank decor remains a popular theme. Recently Dominion Federal Savings and Loan Association has taken the at-home look seriously. In an arrangement with the D.C. Slide Registry, four of the bank branches will sponsor a series of individual exhibits by local artists.

The slide registry keeps close to 300 area artists on file and helps them get their work into shows and ultimately sell pieces. Managers at the busiest branches of the bank were asked to look through slides provided by the registry and choose a favorite artist.

As the first of a series of shows comes to an end on Nov. 15, the enthusiasm for the idea has caught on. According to branch managers, employe and customer response was unanimously positive. At one branch employes have begun looking for works to buy for their own homes.

Lynn Skaer, branch manager in McLean, says that having the paintings on the walls has really changed the pace in her bank. Customers recognize artist James O'Brien's location paintings and ask for more information on him. "Having this art here is also showing us, the employes, more of art than we had known before. I can't wait until the next artist's work comes here."

Perhaps the change at the Crystal City branch sums up the new atmosphere that the artists' works have brought to the banks. The landscape paintings of Christopher Stephens have replaced the prints of paper clips and typewriters that had once decorated that wall.

Information about coming shows is available by calling the main branch of Dominion Federal Savings and Loan at 448-3000 or the D.C. Slide Registry at 789-2985. Other Events:

The Arlington Players present "Pirates of Penzance" starting Nov. 9 and continuing for three weekends. For details call 558-2161.

On view at the Athenaeum: "Portrait of a Collector: Self-Portraits from the Collection of James Elder" through Dec. 9. For details call 548-0035.