The living room is one of the most used spaces in the house, which means it not only needs to look great but also needs to be functional and comfortable. Accomplishing this trifecta can be a design challenge, no doubt, so we rounded up the best living room examples to inspire your own decorating projects and make the process a whole easier. From modern and formal spaces to approachable and rustic environments, there’s a living room idea you’ll want to take home below. Keep reading for 65 stylish designer living room tips, ideas, and shopping suggestions for spaces of any size, and find the solutions to your burning questions like, “what color will make my living room bigger?” and “how can I spice up a boring living room?!”
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Working with landscape architect Lila Fendrick, designer Nestor Santa Cruz chose a wall of steel and glass windows and doors for this formal pool house living room that leads to the backyard. Though the glass decor, from the pendant light to the coffee table and doors, leaves a decidedly sleek impression, the plush rug and ethereal curtains make it extra cozy, too.
Work Around Restrictions
When designer Celerie Kemble moved into this New York City apartment, there was only one thing that prevented it from being the perfect fit: The building had a no wallpaper rule. To work around that obstacle, she applied a light shade of pink paint in a plaster-like finish that channels the texture of wallpaper.
Mix Clean Lines With Casual Materials
In the living room of designer Devin Kirk, a light shade of blue-gray along with clean-lined furniture makes for a polished backdrop while the woven chairs, light wood side table, and tree stump coffee table ensure a laidback atmosphere. It’s the perfect balance of approachable and formal.
Incorporate Fun Trees and Plants
Invite some nods to nature into your living room with quirky indoor plants and trees. Designer Elizabeth Cooper placed a lush citrus tree in the corner for an extra pop of life and color and then staggered topiaries on the windowsill.
Create Zones With Area Rugs
This sitting room is right off the open kitchen, so designer Regan Baker decided to visually separate it with a custom sectional and area rug. A cleek armchair is positioned at a diagonal, establishing a nice balanced whole.
Add Personality With Texture-Rich Neutrals
A quirky indoor tree is s fun surprise in this polished and cosmopolitan living room designed by Shawn Henderson. And, instead of a classic white or warm off-white paint color, he opted for a cooler gray neutral that complements the other subtle tones throughout the room. This also allows the texture-rich accents to shine.
This vacation home in Maui, Hawaii blends indoor and outdoor living beautifully. Designed by Breeze Giannasio Interiors, the two living spaces are connected by a sliding door that simply disappears when open for total connection between the open-air terrace and the indoor living room. The materials, colors, and fabrics are all coordinated for visual flow, too.
Transform a Generic Space With Texture
If you live in a generic rental or simply have a small space, get inspired by this living room designed by David Frazier. Not only does it prove that size isn’t everything, but it’s also full of tricks that bring more dimension to otherwise simple architecture. Pops of marigold speak to the warm antique wood pieces and break up the monochromatic color scheme and the large rice paper pendant keeps things casual so it can function as a more relaxed family room. A gallery wall, large indoor plant, and ceiling-high curtain rod add depth.
Check out Society6 for affordable and stylish prints and artwork to jazz up your walls.
Get Weird On the Coffee Table
Instead of decorating your coffee table with the classic assortment of stacked coffee table books, opt for something subtly quirky and unique. Here, Romanek Design Studio covered the surface with a collection of classic pots and planters, which both enhance and juxtapose the formal, traditional elements throughout the space as well as the more modern ones, making for a fun and eclectic yet timeless sprawl.
Check out Terrain for all your indoor and outdoor gardening needs.
Swap High Back Seating for Daybeds and Benches
Bring in extra seating with daybeds, settees, and window seats in smaller spaces. They have lower back profiles, which prevents interrupting the visual flow and also keeps the space feeling open. We’re loving the pop of yellow in this bold living room by Courtney McLeod.
Check out Albany Park for great living room seating options.
If you don’t love playing with tons of patterns and bold hues but appreciate experimental pieces and tasteful pops of color, take notes on this living room. Rather than opting for all black and whites, the anchor pieces—like sofa and tables—remain neutral, while the throws, artwork and lamp offer just a splash of color (nothing too crazy: just marigold, red, navy, and green).
Check out Design Within Reach for iconic design pieces.
In this living room designed by Carmel Greer, the paint color (Peach Blossom by Benjamin Moore) and casual jute rug set a sweet foundation while the modern, angular artwork, right fixture, seating, and throw blanket bring an edge. One built-in niche is optimized to function as a full-on home bar station while the other stores and displays firewood. The mirrored wall within the left niche also helps bounce light and gives it a swanky nightclub vibe.
Check out Huckberry for great home barware.
Add Something Unexpected
While the classic blue grasscloth wallpaper, floor lamp, and curtains set the stage for a traditional living room, designer Heather Hilliard added some unexpectedly edgy elements. The floral sofa and the green lucite coffee table are a welcome surprise that break up the classic elements without overshadowing them.
Check out Kartell for cool lucite furniture.
This neutral-toned living room by Kristin Fine is refined and grown-up, but also family-friendly. The soft and textural upholstery mixed with cream paint, rustic wood pieces, and plenty of antique accents are partially to thank, but there’s also a large television mounted to the wall for family movie marathons. Fine gave it prime over-the-mantel placement but discretely tucked behind panels that double as modern art.
Check out Samsung for clever tech television designs.
Restore Existing Moldings
To complement the restored wood accents in this Boston Colonial Revival, designer Cecilia Casagrande on a deep, rich shade of blue-green paint: Farrow & Ball’s Hague Blue. She then mixed contemporary elements with more traditional ones to further play with that juxtaposition between old and new design trends.
Check out Farrow & Ball for both timeless and cutting-edge paint colors.
Incorporate Indoor Trees and Plants
Spruce up your empty corners with large indoor plants and trees. Atelier ND and Carice Van Houten used a variety of species to create visual intrigue with different heights and shapes. It really freshens up the rich jewel and earth tones.
Check out The Sill for beautiful indoor plants and garden essentials.
Designer Meredith McBrearty painted the ceiling light blue (she used the same shade in various rooms throughout the house, creating a continuous design thread), which adds an unexpected personality. The warm tones featured in the furniture contrast nicely.
Check out Benjamin Moore for endless colors of high-quality paint.
Though classic and timeless, this living room by interior designer Kevin Dumais is also having tons of fun. From the red-painted ceiling to the velvet floor cushions for extra seating and the bold artwork, no detail is overlooked. To make the room feel even more soft and intimate, Dumais upholstered the walls in a leather fabric.
Check out Crate & Barrel for family-friendly staples.
Go Wild With Fun Fabrics
This eclectic living room designed by Montreal-based Les Ensembliers is making a case for a unique layout and wild fabric use. The sofas are all configured at an angle to break up the monotony of a classic, symmetrical living room, and all the fun, luxe fabrics warm up the open and airy space. Aesthetically, it’s refreshing and unique, which in turn, gives the formal sitting room unpretentious, fun energy that inspires creativity and puts guests at ease.
Check out Kravet for tons of fabulous designer fabrics perfect for your upholstery projects.
Keep It Classic and Crisp
A crisp, matte white living room is pristine, elegant, and timeless. Adding glass and metallic features sharpens up the white pieces. Sherwin-Williams Pure White is there for you when you don’t just want to experiment with trends anymore.
Check out Wayfair for all your home decor needs, from staples to accents.
From the playful pillows and ottoman to the elegant gilt mirror and bright blue walls, this space by Anna Spiro Design is perfect for low-key nights in, or more formal gatherings. And the pleated yellow lamp is what really makes the living room feel cheerful and cozy.
Check out 45 Three Modern Vintage Home for fun, one-of-a-kind vintage lighting options.
In this eclectic living room designed by Heidi Caillier, the jute rug, wood finishes, and brass accents bring plenty of warmth to ensure a cozy, inviting space. The colorful contrasting prints throughout contribute to the playful yet formal spirit of the room, too. And though it doesn’t necessarily stand out, the cream paint color makes a transformative difference. White would be much starker.
Check out Serena & Lily for fun yet classic throw pillows.
Before you even start decorating your living room, remember where you are. (If you live in a casual beach house, your design scheme is going to look very different from that of an urban industrial loft space, for instance.) In this beach house by Arent & Pyke, the design team focused on channeling the tropical vibe of a coastal home through fun motifs and casual materials. Yet, they still maintained a look of sophistication through fresh upholstery, beautiful artwork, and a thoughtful layout. That being said, if you’re a sucker for kitsch and wish you were always on island time, add a hint of it with one statement piece, like a vintage Hawaiian-print rattan chair.
Check out Serena & Lily for coastal-inspired pieces.
Nothing ramps up the fun like a playful touch in the family room. This hanging chair in a living room designed by Romanek Design Studio proves our point—but the handsome leather upholstery also ensures a more sophisticated look. It’s the perfect blend of cozy and cool.
Check out Modshop for groovy retro-inspired pieces.
Have Fun With Throw Pillows
Here’s a lesson in monochromatic decorating with soul. Designed by Studio Razavi, this Parisian apartment is a beautiful blend of modern and Neoclassical style. While the bones of the room evoke a grand sort of opulence, the plush Moroccan rug and spacious white sofa make the space feel more approachable.
Check out Wayfair for endless options of decorative pillows.
Choose A Bold Wallpaper
Wallpaper is one of those trends that just keeps on giving and giving. If you go with a classic chinoiserie wallpaper, you can do just about anything with it as your style changes over the year. This modern self portrait by Chuck Close is a bold contrast to the chinoiserie wallpaper (Iksel’s Eastern Eden) behind it in this Miles Redd–designed home. The contrast doesn’t stop there: Redd continued to venture beyond design convention by incorporating contrasting jewel tones and mixing modern furniture styles with antique pieces. Oh—and believe it or not, the lime green chair is from Ikea! Proof even the best designers love a good deal.
Check out Anthropologie for bold wallpaper prints.
Bring the Fun to the Floor
When you have crisp white walls and neutral staples, like a sofa and coffee table, choose one statement item that brings in a surge of colorful energy. It can be anything from a vibrant piece of art on the walls to a bright carpet like this one in a living room designed by Leanne Ford Interiors.
Check out Homestead Seattle for colorful, one-of-a-kind rugs.
Bring Some Texture to the Walls
If you love the soft look and feel of upholstered walls but don’t want to embark on that major of a project (you’ll need to install padding, etc.), then try a fabric-effect wallpaper or a grasscloth. In this living room by Gail Davis Design, it suits the warm leather and brass pieces wonderfully, while the blue painted accents cool things off.
Check out Gooddee for tons of modern and unique living room items.
Branch Away From Neutrals
Designed by Redmond Aldrich Design, this living room manages to be unique and versatile, colorful and understated, approachable and impressive, all at once. That’s thanks to the quirky, eclectic mix of frames, a light wood-paneled wall, a classic carpet, and an unexpectedly colorful sofa. If you typically like to stick to more neutral tones at home but find yourself generally drawn to color, consider venturing out with a dusty rose, forest green, or navy piece—they’re the new neutrals.
Check out Article for sofas that feature classic silhouettes and moderately experimental colors.
Install Statement Lighting Overhead
Want to go a little glam without looking too showy? Add in minimal brass accents, like a metal-frame coffee table and eye-catching metallic lighting. This living room is also a good blueprint for small space decorating. While the only three furniture items are two seats and a small coffee table, the ceiling light is all it takes to make the entire room feel special.
Check out CB2 for on-trend and affordable lighting options.
Wall art is a great way to add a big statement in a minimalist living room. It doesn’t take up any surface space, but it can really transform the aesthetic. Use an abstract photograph like this one to dictate the colors of your throw pillows for cohesion.
Check out Tappan Collective for cutting-edge art.
Consider Your Surroundings
In this modern mountain home designed by architecture firm Studio Razavi, the classic cabin aesthetic gets an upgrade. The plush carpeting and sheepskin throw warm things up while the modern light fixture, streamlined furniture, and neutral colors ensure a calming, laidback, and stylish environment.
Check out IKEA for plush and affordable accessories.
Spruce Up Your Fireplace
Who says backsplashes are just for your kitchen? Try tiling your fireplace. It adds an artful, customized touch to the living room without being overpowering. This is especially true if you opt for neutral or black and white geometric tiles, as in this Leanne Ford–designed space.
Check out Lowes for tons of mosaic tiles.
Mix and Match Patterns
The sofa in Apartment Therapy founder Maxwell Ryan’s living room is a prime example of perfectly mismatched patterns. The couch maintains a tonal blue scheme, and the blue rug beneath it ties the whole look together. It’s a great way to practice your pattern mixing if you’re not ready to work with the entire rainbow yet.
Check out ABC Carpet & Home for beautiful textiles and throws.
Take Advantage of All Useable Space
A formal living room can be full of fun and personality, too. Interior designer Corey Damen Jenkins sets the bar with a glam pendant light, marble fireplace, and plenty of luxe touches, like the emerald green velvet sofa. And it optimizes all useable space, thanks to a built-in bench between the fireplace and window niche.
Check out Etsy for handmade cushions, custom throw pillows, and art supplies to rework at home.
Designed by Studio Razavi, this eclectic Parisian apartment is a breath of fresh air. Not only does it prove that you can use a wallpaper mural in a minimalist environment (the grayscale color palette helps), but it’s also the perfect example of how to design a living room that’s both fun and relaxed, sophisticated and formal. The key? Seating needs to be comfortable, and materials need to be casual but clean.
Check out RH for high-quality, comfortable, and timeless seating.
Display Books in Style
“The room doesn’t get a lot of light, so I decided to make it cozy and turned it into an English-style portrait room, which is ridiculous, but fun,” says celebrity chef Alex Hitz. Taking the cozy route in a living room without a ton of natural light is a great solution. And what’s cozier than a floor-to-ceiling bookshelf with seating beckoning you to curl up on it? To display your books more creatively, offset them with artwork. In this room, a Peter Rogers portrait of Alex Hitz’s close friend, the late Nan Kempner, hangs over the bookshelves to create some contrast.
Check out Design Within Reach for stylish and modern wall storage options.
If you frequently entertain guests at your home, choose a strategic living room layout that promotes conversation and comfort. For example, this living room designed by Leanne Ford Interiors incorporates semi-circle seating that’s both spacious and inviting. Sectionals are also a good option when a circular sofa isn’t. And if you love the all-white aesthetic, take note: Ford brush-painted the natural Ikea rug and custom-made rope light.
Check out Crate & Barrel for spacious, family-friendly sectionals.
Go All Out With a Gallery Wall
Aside from the adorable dogs (Jacob and Wylo) cuddled up on the armchair-meets-dog-bed, that gallery wall is the clear statement-maker in this living room designed by Philip Mitchell. Mix and match frames for a subtle nod of personality. And speaking of personal touches, consider hanging art that means something to you—whether it’s your children’s artwork, your own, or a portrait of your pets.
Check out Framebridge for custom framing with tons of stylish options.
Double your living room’s function by investing in practical, multi-purpose furniture. Here, in a space by Justina Blakeney, the console table also functions as a fold-out desk. But it’s not all work—there’s definitely room for play, from the lush plants to the fun details, and colorful patterns throughout.
Check out Jungalow for beautiful bohemian accents and essentials.
Choose Timeless Anchors
A black marble fireplace strikes the perfect balance between edgy and timeless. It anchors this living room designed by Arent & Pyke, which get a contemporary lift from the jute rug, modern and bright artwork, and shapely table lamp. And because the armchairs are a classic silhouette, they’ll last forever—you can reupholster them with different colors and prints throughout the years as your taste and style change.
Check out Chairish for vintage and timeless investment chairs.
This hot-pink fireplace was inspired by the homeowners’ grandmother’s favorite shade of lipstick, interior designer Kristen McCory tells us. Have fun with little details like that and look for inspiration everywhere! If painting your entire living room a bold color sounds intimidating, opt for a statement wall or mantle.
Check out Home Depot for a range of fresh color options.
Make Things Easy On Yourself
Make it easy on yourself by sticking to a very consistent, very simple color scheme. In this space by Leanne Ford Interiors, the designer worked within a strictly all-white color story. Even the firewood is painted white! We’ll let that be a lesson in attention to detail. Then choose one item to really pop in a bright color. In this case, Ford went with a bright-red Pierre Paulin Ribbon chair.
Check out Farrow & Ball for beautiful high-quality interior paints.
Use Your Favorite Color
Color stretches all the way up to the high rafters in this living room designed by Thomas Jayne and William Cullum. As you can see in the mirror, the hue of the wall changes depending on the way the light hits it, shifting between sharp mint green and soft sea-foam green. The red and blue work nicely, too, as the red is featured in the carpet, coffee table, and sofas, blending everything together beautifully. All together, the room feels traditional and formal, country chic and casual. To elongate your already tall ceilings, hang a pendant light high above the sitting area.
Check out Target for tons of contemporary light fixtures.
Make It Gallery-Worthy
Everything in this living room is playing with shape. While the marble mantle and glossy floating shelves are angular and sharp, the coffee table and ottoman are soft and rounded. The use of natural materials makes the room feel rich even though there’s not much in it.
Check out Amara for tons of modern and unique living room items.
Take Advantage of High Ceilings
In this stylish, comfortable, and elevated living room by Romanek Design Studio, the off-white feels bright and airy while also warming things up and bringing it to a human scale (a cool white might be too stark, especially in a large, open room with high ceilings). Accent with soft textures and a few pops of color plus a tall plant or tree for an energizing contrast.
Check out Gooddee for tons of modern and unique living room items.
Set Up a Library Ladder
The bookshelves in photographer Victoria Pearson’s own Ojai living room allow all kinds of opportunities for displaying different items, and also for storage. Adding a ladder for high shelves adds another decorative touch.
Check out AllModern for leaning bookshelves and ladders.
Play With Shape and Color
The more distinct, the bigger the statement when it comes to wall decor and art. A good way to switch things up is by choosing artwork that doesn’t live within the confines of a rectangular or square frame. We’re also loving the colorful nesting coffee tables and ombre carpet, which add a little fun to this living room designed by Studio DB.
Check out Minted for accessible and fun artwork.
Work With What You Have
This floor-to-ceiling fireplace in a living room designed by Leanne Ford takes style notes from the best of both worlds: a classic mountain chalet and the Malibu coast. Whether there’s snow falling or waves crashing right outside that window, we want to be curled up on that linen slip-covered chair. This living room is also a testament to the perks of working with what you have. The fireplace was given a new life with a makeshift mantle comprised of reclaimed wood and a fresh coat of white paint.
Check out Etsy for found objects and art supplies to rework at home.
Paint Your Walls a New Color
“Soft pink was used here as a neutral base, which connects all the other elements throughout the space,” say the design duo behind 2LG Studio. “We designed bespoke plywood joinery throughout to unite the spaces and create much needed storage,” they add. If you’re bored of looking at stark white walls, try a soft color that can function as a neutral but exciting backdrop.
Check out Portola Paints for one-of-a-kind paint colors.
If your formal living room is also your family room, you want to make sure it strikes a balance between super comfortable and presentable—a cozy family room that cleans up nicely, if you will. A super soft sectional with plenty of space to spread out on movie night is a must, but choose one that also looks elegant. Then add fun, eye-catching lighting for an extra punch of fun, like the one in this Studio DB-designed room.
Check out HD Buttercup for unique and practical living room furniture.
Pair Unexpected Colors
Who says everything has to be matchy-matchy? Contrast your couch and chairs to make things a bit more interesting. In this refreshingly quirky living room designed by Andrew Flesher, there’s a little bit of everything—from jewel tones and tropical prints to classic prep school patterns, rustic accents, and traditional touches.
Check out Burke Decor for fun, on-trend patterns.
Live in a super tiny space? Opt for a settee instead of a sofa or sectional and stack nesting tables instead of getting a bulky coffee table. You’ll be surprised at much space this can save. And instead of spending a fortune on framing, simply pin up your favorite artwork as is. The easy elegance can be just as beautiful.
Check out West Elm for great apartment-friendly furniture.
The clean lines throughout this living room designed by Robson Rak are making a small but mighty difference. From the white paneled walls to the black-trimmed window and modern angular yet plush sofa, the linear motif is super easy on the eyes. And we love how the green nesting tables bring in some round contrast without clashing. For a similarly calming aesthetic, choose light colors and modern, low-to-the-ground furniture. Then splice in contemporary decorative objects to add personality. And bonus points if your living room has a lot of access to natural light.
Check out Finnish Design Shop for contemporary and tasteful accent pieces.
Why only have fun on the walls when you can have even more fun with a statement ceiling? We’re loving the romantic yet surprisingly fresh color combination of fire-engine red and violet in this space by Katie Brown. The bohemian embroidered throw pillows tie everything together nicely. That’s another great way to approach the living room design process: Start with a fun pair of throw pillows, and then pull out your two favorite colors to highlight on the walls and ceiling.
Check out H&M Home for fun and affordable throw pillows.
Rather than focusing exclusively on the walls in this grand San Francisco living room, designer Catherine Kwong brought the abstract art onto the floors. With broad white brushstrokes on the black-stained hardwood, these floors are a gorgeous juxtaposition against the Neoclassical ceiling and antique mirror above the fireplace. The key to mixing all these divergent design aesthetics is to remain in the same grayscale color scheme. Pro tip: wall sconces always add a subtle but transformative finishing touch.
Check out Frances & Son for hip and classic lighting options.
Chairs that look good but are totally uncomfortable? Not worth the cute factor. Besides, here’s definitive proof that rocking chairs can actually be super chic. The camel leather contrasts perfectly with the cream wall and plays up the old-time-y rustic feel of the reclaimed wood mantle.
Check our Urban Outfitters for hip, fun, and affordable staples.
Remember That Less Is More
An understated palette means you can focus on incredible interior architecture and dramatic statement pieces. Who says minimalists are afraid of color? Just pick one hue and a few select essentials, like in this modern blue living room designed by Robson Rak. The soothing tones and bulbous shapes throughout, from the marble side table to the bubble pendant light and rounded sofa, make it feel like a hug in the form of a living room.
Check out Moda Operandi for designer-approved accents.
Can you imagine how beautiful this room looks glowing in the candlelight? Opt for a chandelier with candles instead of lightbulbs for a rustic vibe. Or, if that’s not an option, display them on your mantel and light them up when you need to strike a romantic mood. (Use flameless candles to play it safe).
Check out Amazon for reliable and pretty basics.
Set Up a Few Sitting Areas
This rustic great room was built to resemble a converted barn. If you’re blessed with a large enough open plan living room, set up multiple sitting areas: one for hanging and snacking (a bistro table can break up the lower height of the other sitting areas), one for cuddling up with a good book, and one for formal entertaining.
Check out YLighting for great staple items in a variety of styles.
Choose An Oversized Pendant
If your room has a more minimalist vibe, try an oversized, Noguchi-inspired paper pendant. But take note: If your furniture is large and clunky, or you have a lot of busy decor, it could overwhelm it. The best part? Rice lantern pendant lights like the one in this living room designed by Space Exploration Design are super affordable.
Check out Paper Lantern Store for all your rice paper lighting needs.
Consider Black and Add Flowers
Designer Kristin Kong hid a door to the basement behind millwork painted in Sherwin-Williams Black Fox in her home near Atlanta. The trick “makes the room look less choppy,” she says, since the dark color helps everything blend together. And never underestimate the power of a beautiful flower arrangement on the coffee table!
Check out Cost Plus World Market for fun and affordable accessories.
Blend neutral gray walls with sleek, modern furniture and lighting. It’ll look chic rather than dated. A velvet throw pillow will add a nice iridescent flare, too. Also, pro tip: hang your curtains at the tippy-top of your walls to make the ceilings seem higher.
Check out CB2 for contemporary and versatile hardware.
To up the farmhouse vibes, install shiplap. Joanna Gaines would totally approve. Then add something metallic, like a coffee table, for some unexpected bling.
Check out Joss & Main for fun and bold pieces.
This living room is simple, clean-lined, and inviting, with a little bit of glamour and a lot of comfort. To highlight the architectural details, the moldings are painted in high-gloss white.
Check out Apartment 2B for clean and classic furniture.
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