108 Living Room Decorating Ideas
Coastal Lowcountry Living Room
Materials that connect to the location are key to character building. Sisal hints at the marsh grasses in an elegant way and is also durable, easy to clean, and ideal for layering. The alligator skull speaks to the local wildlife, while palms in antique glass and fern-patterned pillows are additional nods to the room's Lowcountry vibe and provide a carefree polish.
Layering a vintage kilim over a natural sisal rug acts as an attractive barrier against water, sand, and other elements.
An elk antler trophy is the focal point in this living room, and the palm tree triptych and a blue, green, and mulberry palette create a comfortable environment.
Unite Your Living Space
Designer Sam Blount used the biggest rug possible to tie this blue and white space together. "I’m a big fan of large rugs in small spaces—too many bitsy ones visually chop up the floor." says Blount.
Forgo the Chairs
These oversize sectionals allow everyone to sit, without touching each other. The bench-style seat cushions look cleaner and don't shift around like multiple seat cushions do.
Use a Barn Door
A barn door allows the living space to be separated from the kitchen if nessessary, while taking up less space than traditional hinged doors.
Modernize Heirloom Pieces
The settee in this room was given a modern update with wild fabric, while neutrals were used for the curved vintage sofa and rounded swivel chairs.
Lighten Up with White
Mix Mod and Traditional
The 11-foot-long vintage sofa in this living room is a mod counterpoint to a pair of traditional antique chairs.
Mix Instead of Match Fabrics
The designer started with fabric selections to set the room's happy mood and a bright color palette of pink, turquoise, and chartreuse. Fabrics don't have to be matchy-matchy to communicate with each other. If they share a similar vibrancy and color temperature, they'll look good together.
Invest in Antiques
As your budget allows, invest in one fine antique per room. Here, the a round French marble-topped gueridon table becomes a focal point of the space.
Mix Up the Seating
Seating shouldn't be limited to club chairs and sofas. Utilize benches, ottomans, and odd side chairs to accommodate more people.
Visually Divide a Great Room
Use architectural details, like the cedar ceiling beams in this room, to help visually divide and define the rooms in the open space of a great room.
Mix Your Styles
You can mix old and new, formal and casual, neutral and bold to make an inviting and comfortable space. A neutral-toned sofa and armchair introduce contemporary lines while custom draperies add a touch of tradition.
Layer Neutrals for a Relaxed Look
"To give Country French my minimalist spin, I avoid the expected ruffles and plaids and keep it about the painted antiques and white linens," says homeowner and designer Regina Lynch. "In this house, curtains would have been too much, so instead I painted the trim a dark gray for a similar, but cleaner, look."
Get the Gallery Look
Give a random collection of art pieces museum-worthy treatment by hanging them together on a single wall.
Accessorize with Historic Elements
Use a flat-top trunk as a coffeee table to bring a sense of history to a room. This chocolate-brown piece coordinates with the neutral color scheme of the room, and the nail-head trim is mirrored in the decorative sofa hardware.
Create Open Space
To keep the traffic flow open, pull the furniture away from the walls and into the center of the room―a type of arranging commonly referred to as a “floating furniture plan.” An octagonal ottoman in a bold fabric set on a cowhide rug anchors the arrangement in this room.
Blend Elegance and Comfort
Comfortable and formal can go together. Use antiques to anchor your room and then mix in modern touches with bold fabrics, mid-century lighting, and sculptural accessories. Pair silk curtains and mirrored tables with clean-lined upholstery and lots of colorful pillows.
Use Unexpected Materials
A stone chimney is beautiful, but it’s also expected. The natural horizontal wood paneling around this fireplace ties it together with the built-ins flanking the hearth.
Mix and Match Patterns
This living room shows that you don’t need to shy away from bold patterns in a small space. A floral rug and coordinating pillows add color to the space, while an animal-print chair heightens the drama. The herringbone fireplace tile is a nice geometric touch.
Use Modern Classics
If you want a contemporary edge, you can’t go wrong with the modern classics like these white-leather Barcelona chairs and Lucite coffee table.
Create a Faux Fireplace
Give your living room a focal point by creating a faux fireplace with an antique mantel. This fireplace was set on a rectangular piece of slate as the hearth. .
See this Georgia Row House
Let the Light In
Short on windows to capture natural light? Replace solid exterior doors with glass ones for an airy feel and pretty views of your yard.
Pick a Favorite Time Period
This living room was designed to resemble an early-1900s library; the living room contains a wall of floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. Two large double-hung windows punctuate these built-ins, along with cozy window seats below.
Let In Lots of Natural Light
This living area has floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors that fill the room with light. Horizontal mullions in the glass doors are reminiscent of Japanese shoji screens. They complement the space and guide your eye around the room.
Don’t be afraid to personalize the items you buy. Almost every chair in this room was refinished: Two armchairs were whitewashed, and the blue velvet chair was gilded.
Know When To Save or Splurge
This sofa with its supreme comfort, rich color and fabric, and clean lines is definitely a forever piece, so it was worth spending a little more money on. The honeycomb mirror over the fireplace was an inexpensive piece bought at a chain store.
Embrace Bold Prints
Don’t be afraid to fall in love with a bold print. The designer of this living room was inspired by the floral side chair fabric and let it dictate the colors found elsewhere in the room.
Look for Inspiration in Unexpected Places
This homeowner found inspiration for her walls in a bag of gourmet marshmallows: She used the soft, sophisticated colors to dictate her palette. The plate rack that once showcased antique plates in her parents’ home holds cherished photos.
Look for Unused Spaces
This living room is a genius use of often-overlooked space; the upstairs landing was transformed into a small den that makes an inviting, casual family hangout. An upholstered wall softens the space above the built-in bench, while bamboo Chippendale-style chairs and vibrant turquoise Moroccan poufs add plenty of extra seating.
Add Interest with Decorative Trim
The designer of this room added trim to the bottom of a basic sofa to dress it up and used a mix of custom pillows to pull colors from around the room.
Hold onto Inspiring Samples
Keep a file of your favorite samples and inspirational images even if you can’t afford a makeover yet, or haven’t found the home of your dreams. This homeowner/designer kept all the fabric samples that she loved in a bag until she found the right home to settle in. She'd also been acquiring updated yet traditional pieces for just the kind of collected look she liked.
Decorate with Memories
Make your living room unique and nostalgic by using heirloom pieces. This homeowner’s great-grandfather owned a bungalow, and he fondly remembers childhood visits to the family home. He filled his own bungalow home with family furniture and one-of-a-kind attic finds.
Accent with Red
Use bright colors and strong patterns to punctuate an otherwise neutral space. The red accessories in this living room add an energetic punch without overwhelming the area.
Design for Real-Life Use
You don’t have to give up style even in your high-traffic living room. Guests and kids need not reach for coasters before putting drinks down on the distressed coffee table. Scrapes and dings only add to the character of the piece. A patterned area rug is forgiving of spills and dusty feet.
You can pull off a patriotic color scheme without being kitsch. Try hints of red with a pretty blue backdrop. Use natural linen instead of bright white.
Bonus Tip! Hide the flat screen. The painting above the fireplace can be rolled along the galvanized metal track, revealing a television.
Fake a Tall Ceiling
Ceilings look taller when the baseboard and crown molding are the same color as the wall.
Get Inspired by a Favorite Textile
Use a fabric pattern to inspire the color scheme and style of your room. The fabric on these armchairs pulls together the tones of this living room.
Create a Keeping Room
Since guests typically gather in the kitchen, a keeping room is ideal for overflow and comfort. Keep your furniture comfortable and durable-it is sure to be the most used in your home.
Display Your Collection to Advantage
If you have a lot of collections, always keep the base neutral so your displays won’t overwhelm the space. Here, a collection of turquoise lighting elements stands out against the cream walls and plays off of the colors in the large painting.
Create a Conversation Corner
If you have space, create a separate, more intimate seating area in your living room for quiet conversations.
Slipcover in Style
Ready for a change? Washable slipcovers in lighthearted new fabrics perk up old upholstery.
Choose a Sunny Palette
Crisp whites combined with punches of bright colors immediately transport you to the coast. In this living room, aqua accents in the pillows, throw, and rug mimic the ocean’s dazzling blues, and the pops of bright orange are inspired by the magnificent hues of the setting sun. Whitewashed horizontal shiplap planking evokes the feel of old Gulf-front beach houses.
Buy the Whole Bolt
Inspiration for this design struck in the form of a 30-yard bolt of black-and-white- hound’s-tooth fabric that was on sale for an amazing $30. Even after the window treatments, upholstery, and pillows there was plenty of leftover fabric to be used down the road as seat cushions on new finds, lampshades, and even place mats or a tablecloth.
Asymmetrical arrangements can be intimidating, but formal symmetry is easy to pull off and adds a calm balance to a room. The simple arrangement above this fireplace is clean and elegant.
Layer a variety of patterned rugs over a neutral sisal rug covering for an exciting floor treatment.
Add Architectural Interest
Add architectural interest to your living room with a ceiling treatment. The coffered ceiling in the room creates a striking structural feature to the space.
Create a Cozy Spot for Reading
This armchair is re-covered in a botanical print fabric. The legs are painted white to lighten the visual weight of the piece. Tucked into a corner of the living room and paired with a set of nesting tables, the chair is a perfect spot for reading.
Mix Lights and Darks
Decorating is not like doing the laundry. Lights and darks go together just fine. In fact, they’re made for each other in this living room connected by a large cased opening.
Open Up Your Living Space
Although less than 2,500 square feet, this cottage feels larger because of the homeowners’ clever decision to open up and connect the main living spaces. The family room is also vaulted to reveal the loft space above―yet another way of providing extra volume to a relatively modest space.
Mix, Don't Match
This homeowner bucked the “matchy, matchy” rule by placing different end tables and lamps on either side of the sofa in her living room. The mismatch works because, even though one table is a white Asian-inspired look and the other is a black step-like design, both tables are the same height. A sleek brass reading lamp pairs nicely with the simple white table, while a large silver-leaf table lamp fits with the more substantial black table.
White Wash the Walls
These homeowners wanted to let their guests be the color to their space, so they painted all of the background surfaces, including the brick fireplace, a clean shade of white. A vintage advertisement and an Arkansas license plate hang on the wall. The casual furniture is covered in washable slipcovers for easy cleanup when inevitable spills happen.
Play Up Your Favorite Color, but Keep the Base Neutral
If you’re a frequent redecorator, keep the base neutral in order to let accessories really shine. White or off-white walls and slipcovers stay the same even as this homeowner flirts with new obsessions. She tires quickly of things, and has gone through phases with several different colors, so she tries to change things up with pillows and throws.
Spruce Up Your Space With Curtains
Draperies do more than block out the sun. Window treatments can transform a room, adding personality and character. These ceiling-to-floor draperies make the space seem taller and more grand.
Upgrade Your Doors and Windows
To enhance the home’s 9-foot ceilings, these homeowners upgraded to 8-foot-tall doors and 6-foot-tall windows to let in maximum light. They also aligned the doors and windows at the same height to draw the eye up and create the illusion of more space.