The go-to space for hosting, gathering, or just lounging about, the living room is considered by many to be the heart of the home. And no matter your style, budget, or tastes in décor, you deserve a space that says “welcome.”
We’re taking an in-depth look at this high-traffic room and sharing some of our favorite ways to bring the living room to life. We’ll cover every aspect of the perfect family room, from color schemes and design styles to must-have pieces of furniture. With these living room ideas at your command, you’ll be one step closer to creating your dream space.
Step 1: Designing the Space
Once you know exactly what you’re looking for, shopping for furniture and décor is a piece of cake. The initial design process, however, is a little more nebulous. We’re here to help you take the first step by sharing some of the most popular living room design ideas, plus tips and inspiration for getting the look. Ready to dive into the world of design?
Interior Design Styles
The first step in designing your ideal living space is choosing the style that best suits your tastes. Are you bold and eclectic, or do you err on the side of convention? Do you prefer mid-century modern furniture, or romantic traditional pieces?
We’ll show you some of the most popular design styles for the living room, and lay out the basic elements of each. Then, once you land on your desired look, we’ll guide you through color palettes, furniture styles, and must-have decorations.
Traditional design can be identified by its use of dark woods, intricate details, and an excess of comforting elements. While traditional design is classic by nature, it’s anything but simple.
To achieve the look, incorporate throw pillows, table lamps, and ornately patterned textiles. For an extra cozy living room, make sure your sofas and accent chairs are padded, plush, and comfortable.
If you’d prefer a modern living room, look for streamlined pieces, bold décor, and occasional pops of vibrant color.
Modern design is defined by the use of simple silhouettes and flashy finishes: think crisp lines, low-profile furniture, and mirrored, metallic, or matte finishes. Colorful accents such as throw pillows, vases, or wall art add a pop of brightness to an otherwise clean and simple space.
Mid-century living room design puts a timeless twist on a retro style. Inspired by the ’50s and ’60s, mid-century style involves clean lines, geometric shapes, and organic curves.
Look for furniture with splayed, tapered, or hairpin legs to incorporate this iconic style. Gently rounded edges are also sure to add a touch of old-school flair.
The sleek profiles of mid-century furniture look great in a small living room, providing plenty of style in a space-saving footprint.
Get more mid-century inspiration with our Mid-Century Modern Living Room Ideas article.
If your tastes lean a little more rough around the edges, an industrial living room might be right for you. Inspired by the factories and mills of the industrial revolution, industrial style relies heavily on weathered materials, no-nonsense designs, and mechanically-inspired accents.
Create your own industrial by incorporating materials like distressed metal and reclaimed wood. You can also rely on vintage accents – we love the look of light fixtures with Edison bulbs, or bicycle and gear motifs.
To create a soothing, down-to-earth living area, turn to coastal style. This beachy look makes any space a little more serene, incorporating the colors, materials, and motifs of the seaside.
Use a crisp white-and-blue color palette to keep the space feeling bright and breezy. White walls, light woods, and moody blue accents are perfect for setting the scene.
Color Palette Ideas
Once you’ve determined which general style you’d like for your living room, you can start focusing on the details. One of the most important living room design elements is the color palette; whichever direction you decide to take the space, you’ll need to make sure the colors make you feel right at home.
We’re sharing a few of the most popular color schemes for the living room, from the simple and cozy to the bold and bright. Keep reading to find the look that’s right for you …
For ultimate versatility and a timeless, classic look, choose a color scheme that’s heavy on neutrals and earth tones.
Black-and-white is an evergreen color combination, providing goes-with-everything versatility as well as sleek visual contrast. A black-and-white palette would look great in a or , and can be accented with colorful of décor.
For a slightly warmer look, choose earth tones such as khaki, cream, brown, or gray. Subtle patterns or layered-in textures add plenty of dimension while still maintaining the neutral color scheme. Light, neutral hues are also ideal if you’re working with a small space – the lighter and brighter, the bigger your living room will appear!
Bold & Colorful
If you’d rather make a maximalist statement in your family room, bright colors and bold prints are just as welcome as neutrals.
You can use ’70s-inspired shades such as persimmon, marigold, or avocado to ramp up a mid-century space, or pair jewel-toned furniture and décor with dark, moody walls. If you’re not ready to go all-in on color, try adding a few small accent pieces: a colorful rug, accent chair, or piece of wall art can make a major statement.
If you crave some color but prefer a more muted , never fear! You don’t need to go fully bold and bright to incorporate your favorite shades. Muted hues are perfect for adding color to a without overwhelming it.
Use subtle pastel paint on the walls, or simply supplement the with colored textiles and upholstery. To create a sophisticated monochrome look, layer in shades from the same color family: a blue fabric against barely-there blue walls, accented with cobalt window treatments or a turquoise vase.
Step 2: Furnishing the Space
Now that you’ve landed on your overall vision for the space, you’ll need to choose living room furniture to complete the look. Some pieces are must-haves (after all, what’s a living room without a couch?) but you’re ultimately free to decorate with any pieces you like.
Essential Living Room Furniture
As the home’s dedicated space for gathering and kicking back, every living room needs , comfortable seating. Sofas, , and ottomans create plenty of for sitting (or lounging) and are essential for creating an air of welcome.
If you regularly host guests and need extra bed , invest in a sleeper , convertible couch, or oversized sectional. If you’re short on , look for slim-profile designs that won’t overwhelm the floor plan.
In addition to seating, every living room needs a variety of surfaces for storage and display. At the bare minimum, make sure you have a to hold remotes, dishes, or -side reading material. For additional tabletop , incorporate an occasional or two: console tables, end tables, and dedicated TV stands are all stylish solutions for storage and decoration.
Step 3: Decorating the Space
You’ve finally conceptualized your perfect living room, chosen all the furniture you need, and now all that’s left to do is add the finishing touches. From textiles and lighting to wall décor and window treatments, there are myriad ways to make the living space uniquely yours.
Must-Have Décor Pieces
One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to decorate a living room is with area rugs, pillows, and throw blankets. These cozy accents add texture and warmth, and can easily be swapped out when you decide your space needs a change of scenery.
Lighting is another essential element when it comes to décor – from pendant lamps and chandeliers to floor and table lamps, a well-appointed light fixture adds both brightness and decorative flair.
To finish off the look, dress up the walls with artwork, mirrors, or some stylish wallpaper. Create an eye-catching focal point with a gallery of wall décor, or a single accent wall in a contrasting paint color.
Now that you’ve explored some of our favorite living room ideas, it’s time to start creating the space of your dreams. From paint and hardware to furniture and décor, Hayneedle has everything you need to accomplish your next project. Explore our curated Idea Gallery for more living room ideas, or browse the site to find the pieces you need.