How Can I Update Living Room Without Losing Charm?

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Q: Last year, we moved into a charming 150-year-old apartment in the East Village. I still can't decide what to do with the living room I fell in love with. The ceilings are low and beamed, the fireplace is surrounded by gorgeous bookshelves, and one wall is a large mirror. The cozy room doesn't get much natural light:

I tried two online interior design services for help, Copy Cat Chic and Home Polish (photos attached). I'd love to ask readers for their thoughts on how to modernize the space while keeping it cozy and charming!

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(Image credits: Halle)

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Regina is an architect who lives with her husband and children in Lawrence, KS. As a LEED Accredited Professional and longtime contributor to Apartment Therapy and The Kitchn, her focus is on healthy, sustainable living through design.

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