Years ago I did a couple projects where I went in, put together a design with a variety of ideas that would work in the space and then let the homeowners at it. They saved money by doing all the work and I provided them with space plans and a design guide to help them create a visually pleasing, functional room. It worked out great. This is one of my favorite projects from that time.
I had to "splice" a few pictures together to come up with a completed picture, like I said, this was years ago and I wasn't thinking about good pictures (I have a hard time thinking of that now). Anyhow, this room is your typical "formal living room" with a few common mistakes.
First, pictures should be 6-8" above the couch. Too high and they are floating with no relationship to the furniture piece below them. Also, how much of your wall should be covered? The artwork should be in proportion to the size of the furniture its supporting. A good guide is about 2/3. When I'm hanging something above a couch I want it to cover close to 2/3 of the width and cover the wall enough that eye-level is in the middle of the grouping. A couch needs a substantial piece of art behind it. Pictures are fine, just layer them. One little row, such as this, is not enough! For this grouping I'd say the row already there is fine if there was another row below it. It's too skimpy and too high.
Second, the furniture placement is boring and expected. Why is it we always stuff all furniture into corners or against walls?
Same thing here, artwork is too small and I suggested a new storage place for the clutter.
I suggested a paint scheme to add some architectural interest and draw the eye up, expanding the space. The color selections were pulled directly out of the furniture. They did a wonderful job. Their beautiful wood secretary was hidden away in the opposite corner, now its a show stopper. Its seen immediately upon entering the house. Your eye is immediately drawn into the room by the photo collage and the furniture arrangement, it draws you in and beckons you to stay a while.
Float your furniture! As long as you have at least 3' for a walkway, go for it. It looks so much better and makes for a much more personal seating arrangement. Makes me want to sit down for a cup of coffee.
Paint and trim work were the only expenses, everything else was simply re-used within the space or pulled from another room. Amazing what a little rearranging can do!