Are you wondering how to decorate a living room? The following suggestions will give you some living room decor ideas and get you started on designing a space that truly suits how you live and want to live.
Define Your Goals for Your Living Room
Do you want to use it daily, and do you want all family members to feel comfortable using the room? Or is your living room more for entertaining guests and to showcase elegant pieces and art? If it’s going to get regular use, keep an eye on durability in furnishings like the floor covering and keep to textures that are cleanable. For example, distressed leather sofas can hold up well with pets and young kids.
Cultivate and Curate
Do an audit of what you already have, focusing on your favorite existing pieces. If you’ve already decorated your current living room (or just unconsciously filled it through ad hoc acquisition), you may want to focus on pairing down. Like a well-dressed woman who’s learned to get dressed and then remove one accessory, less is more. A stellar living room look is often about learning what not to do, as well as what to do. Sometimes knowing about rookie design mistakes can guide you to a path of better design sense.
Take your cues from an absolute favorite piece or couple of pieces and build a look around that. An excellent place to start is with the most significant investment: the seating.
You may wish to get some graph paper to help you map out the arrangement of pieces to scale as you consider different living room designs. Or try a digital planning tool. Seating should be arranged so that it creates natural communication clusters.
Gathering Living Room Design Ideas
Browse some home design magazines. You can flip through several online or at a bookstore to get some ideas of what colors or overall design schemes resonate with you. Here are a few periodicals you can look at for inspiration:
- Architectural Digest
- Interior Design
- Good Housekeeping
- House Beautiful
- Elle Decor
If you can identify some terms that define what you want the mood to be, this will immensely benefit your search. Here are some examples (pick any of the words you’re curious about and plunk it into a search bar):
- Modern / Contemporary / Scandinavian / Industrial
- Cozy / Chic / Casual / Cottage / Rustic / Farmhouse
- Bohemian / Eclectic / Retro / Mid-Century / Elegant /
Start collecting a digital or actual idea board. Pinterest can deliver up scads of images related to ones you start pinning and curating.
More Tips for Successful Living Room Spaces
Consider a few living room decorating ideas that will help you have a pulled-together look that can pass for a designer-staged interior yet stay “livable-in”:
- Figure out how to hide media centers like large screen TVs.
- Decide whether you need furniture updates. Recovering furniture with good lines may be worthwhile and let you experiment with patterns.
- Hang your living room drapes high (read a few posts like this one by home improvement celebrity Bob Vila).
- Go for versatile lighting options. Install dimmer switches, invest in track lighting to let you spotlight art, and have some quality task lighting for reading or other activities. Use higher quality bulbs—look for “Soft White” incandescent bulbs and choose 3-way (50 / 100 / 150 watt) bulbs in lamps that will operate with them.
- Learn about the psychology of color. Warm hues make for cozier spaces, while cooler tones calm. If you’re unsure about going bold with intense color, rather than investing in furniture, try a large throw in that color, or just paint one wall. Paint is relatively inexpensive and easy to redo.
Imagining Your Living Room Wall Decor
A good way to get initial living room ideas for treating your walls might start with a Google image search.
Your initial search results will tell you if intuitively you want a collection of images or one big, bold image, such as a wall mural. It’s easy to create a fascinating collection of related photos or images (all black and white photographs, perhaps?).
When you search by image, Google will offer up options to further refine your search, such as “modern,” “contemporary,” “wall art,” “simple,” etc. Click on any of the options to get a sense of which style resonates with you, or just type in “modern living room,” for example, if you know the name of a style you’re after.
Invite Mother Nature In
Consider dividing the space with plants as room dividers for privacy or area rugs to define activity areas.
Plants can be statement pieces themselves, as the popularity of certain palms and the fiddle leaf fig. Look for plants that easily adapt to interior conditions, as this pick of indoor trees and tropical plants can lend a natural touch to your living room decor.
A well-cared-for plant can be a way to evoke a perennial season or geographic location that you’d like to travel to. For example, a verdant fern in the living room brings a touch of summer during a barren winter, assorted cacti can evoke a Southwest charm, and a potted palm can invite a tropical or exotic vibe.
Modern Living Room Design
If you’re after something that looks fresh, seeking out modern living room ideas will ensure your living space looks au courant for at least a decade, and perhaps two or three, if you don’t go overboard on a single material (like metals) or a trend-of-the-moment pattern or color scheme.
A good source of contemporary living room ideas is Houzz.com’s living room gallery, where you can see full rooms conceptualized by various designers, remodelers, architects, and more. You can also look at their site for individual statement pieces or by a feature you’d like to incorporate like bookcases, a home bar, or a music area, for example.
Allow yourself the joy of anticipation while you do your living room research. Part of the fun is tracking down the right pieces. Let it be an ongoing process, and your living space will become your passion and pride.