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Pastel or softer colors look better in flat paint. Chocolate brown or very dark colors, I think look better with a little shine to them. The satin or semi finish will keep them from looking dreary by reflecting light around the room. Painting is the most cost effective way to give your room lots of impact. You may want to select a striking wallpaper pattern in keeping with the color scheme of the rest of the home. Stripes are great for adding volume and height.
Hang a tapestry on an iron rod and place a garden bench beneath. The tapestry will add softness and texture. The bench will not only be esthetically pleasing but functional as well, serving as a place for removing shoes or simply a resting place. If you have the ample room in your foyer, using a chest or commode is an excellent choice. The top of the chest gives you plenty of area to display your favorite lamp or a pair of candlestick lamps. You may also want to accessorize with a small collection of boxes or any other collection. I love the idea of all the extra storage space you gain when using a chest.