Your living room is the heart of your home. It’s where you relax, where you entertain guests, where you curl up with a good book and unwind after a long day at work. It’s also where you have the freedom to express your personal taste and flex those creative muscles when it comes to decoration.
But we all live busy lives these days – and it’s easy to let interior design take the back seat. Is your living room the cosy haven you want it to be? Does it accurately represent your interior tastes and personality? If not, it might be time to give your living space an overhaul.
You might love simple, clean lines and minimalism. Or perhaps you can’t get enough of embellishment, patterns or ornate details? Whatever your individual style, we’ve got some living room design ideas to help you get started, from colour schemes and upholstery ideas to layout and those all-important little details. Here’s how to decorate your living room the fun (and easy) way.
Look one: Light, airy and clean.
If you like your living room to be uncluttered, tidy and bright, this is the look for you. It’s all about a modern aesthetic that combines Scandinavian design with minimalism and function.
Start off your living room makeover by choosing a neutral colour for the walls, which creates the illusion of the room being lighter. Pure white can look clinical, so instead consider a warm-toned grey or cream. Minimize the amount of pictures and photos you hang on the walls in order to really maximize the airiness and simplicity of the space.
Another way to create more light is to include plenty of mirrors. A large, rectangular mirror above the mantelpiece will reflect the light and also have the effect of making the room look bigger and more spacious. A full-length mirror on the black of the door of mounted to the wall will have the same effect. Make sure that nothing is obstructing the doorway, as this can make a room feel cramped. Don’t take up valuable floor space with unnecessary items – consider mounting your storage units onto the walls if possible in order to save space.
They key to living room decoration that’s organized and easy to keep tidy is to ensure that you have plenty of storage. When choosing furniture for your living room, plump for tables with drawers, go for stylish baskets, bowls and crates to keep cushions and blankets in order, or plump for those handy hidden storage solutions that can be hidden out of sight in the cupboard. Magazine racks are useful for stashing odd sheets of paper, and bookshelves can be tucked away in alcoves to save more space. Additionally, it’s a good idea keep photos and personal knick-knacks to a minimum, as these can make things feel cluttered. Choose a few of your favourite photographs and place them strategically, choosing unfussy frames in light wood or metal.
When it comes to your windows, choose drapes in a bright colour and light material such as cotton or organza; heavy curtains with old-fashioned patterns might feel too oppressive for the look you’re going for. Allow the sun to shine through the material for a room that’s perpetually bright and fresh.
Keep upholstery and furniture to a minimum – and make sure everything has a function. A light-coloured sofa looks great with just a few block-colour scatter cushions, as well as a simple throw to add a cosy touch. A single coffee table in dark mahogany or light pine is both sophisticated and useful. Adorn it with a simple vase of flowers, or some carefully selected coffee table books.
This living room aesthetic is best suited to couples of those without children – it doesn’t take long for grubby hands to get on that bright white sofa! If you’re planning on a minimalist design and have little ones in the house, try to choose pieces with wipe-clean surfaces.
Look two: cosy and traditional
If your living room is your haven, your happy spot, the place you go to get away from the world, then you want it to be warm, comforting and welcoming. Forget about perfection – this room should look gloriously imperfect and lived-in.
Start by choosing a rich colour for your walls; how about a dark red or sumptuous purple? If you find the colour too dominating, consider having a feature wall, which you can paint or cover with a textured wallpaper. We love a baroque pattern for added luxury.
When designing a cosy space, pay careful attention to details. It’s all about subtle wooden accents, stag prints and candles, which continue the wintery, outdoorsy vibe.
Furnishings should be comfortable above all else – go for plush, sumptuous fabrics in muted and complementary colours. Don’t hold back on cushions or throws – choose luxurious fabrics like silk, satin or fur. Patterns also lend themselves well to a cosy aesthetic, as they have a way of creating that traditional log-cabin feel. Tartan, in particular, brings a heritage feel to your space when used for cushions, throws or even curtains. For your sofa, consider soft brown leather – trust us when we say that it’s the perfect thing to sink into after a long day. Sofas should also be large – corner pieces work well – to make them the main focal point of the room.
Living rooms are made even cosier by the addition of a real fireplace. There’s nothing quite like a roaring hearth to welcome you home, after all. Draw attention to your fireplace with lanterns and candles. Low hanging beams make a room feel smaller and cosier, as do rustic-looking wooden floors.
A rug is the perfect finishing touch. Choose something woven and richly patterned, or go all out with a fur creation. Keep plenty of photographs and personal items that fill you with joy on display.
Look three: Eclectic and boho
If you love the varied, colourful and multi-textured look, this style is for you. You can use your living room as a melting pot for all of your favourite pieces and styles. Worried that not everything will go together? Don’t worry – that just adds to the interesting and multi-dimensional finish. This is a look that’s effortlessly bohemian and youthful – and hallmarks of different eras and interior styles can all be blended to great effect.
The emphasis here is on the quirky, the unexpected and the unusual. When painting the walls, choose bright and unapologetic colours like magenta, lime green or sunny yellow. Showcase your favourite piece of art above the sofa or the mantel-piece to draw the eye as soon as someone enters the room/
If you’re well-travelled, keeping souvenirs and artefacts from around the globe will serve both to create a multi-layered, international influence and remind you of all of the fascinating places you’ve seen. A vintage globe is the perfect finishing touch on top of a storage unit – while fabric and tapestries hung from the walls produces an intriguing and unexpectedly cosy finish. Displaying books is the ideal way to create intrigue and add more splashes of colour – from big coffee table books to piles of books in unexpected places, like by the fireplace or on top of the television.
When it comes to furnishings, don’t be afraid to embrace pattern and colour, and in particular, modern, geometric shapes which can add a retro touch to the room. You want your sofa to stand out, so choose an unusual shape or colour and adorn with cushions of various sizes and patterns for a “thrown-together” effect.
Rugs should be woven and colourful, while curtains remain a block colour to add structure and definition to the room.
Look four: Glamorous and sophisticated
Create the ultimate space for entertaining with a living room that oozes style and chic design. Your inspiration for this look is a five-star hotel – timeless, classic and endlessly luxurious.
For this style, only the best will do; you want your living room to exude class and good taste. When choosing a colour scheme, stick to a palette of just two or three complementary colours to avoid things looking fussy. Generally, it’s a good idea to choose one main colour, accompanied by two secondary ones. Keep them rich rather than bright or multi-tonal. We love the combination of dark purple paired with black and silver. Monochrome is also a timeless and failsafe option when creating that classic living room.
Next, concentrate on lavish lighting. Table-side lamps provide softer and more flattering light than overhead ones, but we’d also recommend including an ornate chandelier as your centrepiece – dripping with crystals, of course! Wall sconces and dimmers are also ideal for creating that sultry, ambient mood lighting. Keep fixtures sleek and modern rather than decorative.
Metal details are also an easy way to achieve an effortlessly elegant look. Gold never goes out of style, and carries with it connotations of royalty and wealth – use liberally when choosing lighting fixtures, photo frames, mirrors and side tables. Similarly, plump for the use of glass over wood; it has a more refined and expensive-looking effect.
When creating a glamorous and sophisticated living room, you should also beware of clutter. Glass bowls and decorative baskets are great for hiding general “stuff” in a stylish way. Shelves can display pretty vases and ornaments. Sculptural items add a touch of artistic refinement.
Luxury can be suggested by the layering of fabrics – choose sumptuous yet sophisticated styles when it comes to sofas and pillows, that will invite guests to sit down and relax. Faux fur, leather and satin are all great choices.
Whatever your design style, check out the LVA Concepts blog for inspiration and decoration ideas.