big pet peeve = clutter. well, when you live in 850 square feet with a hankering for "stuff", its hard to keep your space organized and presentable. i think in a past life i was a monk, as i long for a spare, no fuss, no clutter environment, but i have made an effort for this lifetime to be as clutter free as possible. so, what you do is keep a theme, in any space that displays your treasures. if you have a vast array of treasures with many colors, then rotate them by color (during st. Pat's....fill that space with all the green and gold you can rally...:O).
in this built-in i pretty much only put glass or whites--making it seem organized and clean. you can always throw in black and white photo's and baskets as they are essentials for adding your texture and keeping it interesting.
and of course, don't forget your live plant or flower...it brings that special "wink" to the room and helps it feel alive.