Cal Peterson, creative director of home furnishings for Robinson's, was asked what kind of decorating scheme he would build around a simple, off-white sofa (such as the one shown above from Mel Brown, Los Angeles). He chose neoclassic with a touch of romantic. Among the elements Peterson would use in so decorating a living room, left, were a neoclassic drop-lid desk (made of Carpathian elm burl veneers) and side chair from Baker's new Palladian Collection. Added seating is provided by a romantic-looking chair and ottoman with blue cotton upholstery accented by tufting and softly pleated skirts. "Accessories should be kept to a minimum," Peterson says, "so that the eye is not drawn away from the architecturally important designs." The furniture and all accessories are from Robinson's. " People make their first furniture purchases with a future plan in mind," says Jerry Balest, divisional merchandise manager of furniture for Bullock's. "And, if the first purchase is a simple off-white sofa, one can go in almost any direction after that. The success of any interior depends upon the interplay of textures. Here, I chose classic elements such as a pastel-striped silk 'slipper' chair, a lacquered table, a grass-cloth lacquered chest (all from Marge Carson), a hand-woven dhurrie rug and an oxidized-copper lamp base and accented them with slick, rather contemporary accessories." Balest says that all of these elements can work together quite beautifully, in a rather eclectic fashion, without being matched intentionally. "They could be collected over a period of years, allowing a decorating scheme to evolve according to individual taste." All of the furnishings are from Bullock's. " The Southwestern influence is becoming a major focus in the home furnishings industry," says Gerard Benatar, vice president of general merchandising for Barker Bros., "but nowhere is it more appropriate than in our own region. It is a very easy-to-live-with style--casual and very Californian." Benatar says this would also be an appropriate style for people who are collectors, since it would be easy to add to over a period of years. Barker's designer Arthur Sauter chose a mixture of elements around which to build a Southwestern motif. Major accents are a painted-finish dining table and matching chair, china cabinet (crowned with a Spanish Colonial arch) and wood-framed easy chair from Thomasville's new Santa Fe collection. Perfect accents are terra-cotta pots, Indian rugs and other artifacts and sculptural cactus plants. All furniture and accessories are from Barker Bros.