Living Room Design Ideas

Our Complete Guide On How To Decorate Your Dream Living Room

Of all of the rooms in your house, the living room is by far one of the most important ones. After all, your living room is your entertainment center, the place for cozy movie nights with the family, and where your guests mingle when they visit. So, it's not surprising to feel a bit intimidated about decorating this important room. Not to worry, we're sharing our step-by-step guide on how to decorate a living room to make it look like it came straight out of a magazine. 

Step 1: Know Your Measurements

Living Room Measurements

Even before you have all your living room design ideas on paper, you need to do one thing -- measure. Your entire living room design could be inaccurate or not work in the space from window treatments, furniture, and rugs if you do not measure each nook and cranny.

You'll want to pay special attention to walls with windows, doors, or inset, as these areas will limit the room’s layout. Make sure to take this sketch with you while shopping. It’ll help prevent accidents or order incorrect size furniture.

No one wants to PIVOT their new leather sofa into their new dream living room. 

Step 2: Picture the Layout

Spacejoy Living Room Layout

You don’t have to be an interior designer or an architect to think about how you want your living room’s layout to be. When you take the time to draw a layout of your room, you can get a better idea of the furniture you need to buy.

It can help you figure out if you’ll have enough space for your new bar cabinet or your long sectional sofa. At the same time, it can also help you realize that maybe you won’t have room to add that additional cabinet to showcase your family’s serveware collection. 

Think about your layout or floor plan as the first step into dreaming about what your living space will look like. Next, make a list of the important items for you to have in the room and prioritize the positioning of these items.

Are you having trouble creating a layout? There is a plethora of floor planner software available, or our team of expert designers can create the perfect living room layout for you. 

Step 3: Choose Your Style

Spacejoy Mid Century Modern Living Room

This is the trickiest part of creating your living room space. But, deciding how you want to live will set the baseline for where and how you’ll shop for furniture. Think about the style you wish to showcase: modern, contemporary, relaxed, formal, warm, farmhouse, or inviting. Choosing a style can help you figure out what you need. 

Ask yourself:

  • What will I be doing in my living room?
  • How many people will usually be spending their time there?
  • Am I planning on hosting parties?
  • Do I enjoy watching TV in the living room?

While it might seem like unrelated questions, these can help you understand the type of furniture you’ll need.

For example, if you know that you’ll spend time watching TV in the living room, maybe investing in a comfortable sectional sofa is more important than adding accent chairs. On the contrary, if you’re planning to host parties, a loveseat paired with accent chairs and ottomans might give you more flexibility to create an inviting seating area that sparks conversations. 

Step 4: Find the Sofa First

Article Cigar Sofa

Whenever you're looking up living room ideas, the first results typically revolve around the sofa. It makes perfect sense; the couch is perhaps the largest piece of furniture in your living room and will dictate how you arrange the rest of the parts.

Find a sofa that will become your focal point. Remember to keep in mind the functionality of your living room. If you know you'll spend a lot of time here watching TV, then a sectional is a better option than a loveseat.

Additionally, lifestyle considerations like pets and children will make the material of the sofa more important. 

Whether you’re choosing an accent, large sofa, or playing with various seating options, make sure you don’t over-saturate the space. While you want your seating area to be comfortable, you also want to leave enough room to walk around the area without continually tripping over the edges of the sofa or the coffee table. 

Step 3: Pick the Area Rug

Modern Wayfair Shag Rug

Area rugs can be tricky to buy if you don't know what you need. For a living room, you should find a big enough rug to fit all your furniture. Ideally, keep about 10-to-20 inches of bare floor between the edges of the carpet and the room walls. Keep in mind, when area rugs are too small, the living room will look disjointed. 

Nowadays, you can even layer different area rugs to create more depth and add more texture. If you’re looking for an exciting look, consider mixing and matching different shapes and textures to create an intricate design that will make the living room look more grounded. 

Step 4: Get the Right Lighting

Mid Century Modern Light

For your living room to look put together, you need three lighting types: ambient, task, and accent. To make this happen, you might consider a mix of overhead chandeliers, table and floor lamps next to the main sofa for accent, and wall sconces for ambient lighting. Lighting can be quite tricky, so make sure to have an overall idea of how your living room will be arranged before you buy lighting. 

When it comes to lighting, you can have some fun. We always get questions like, “Should I use two matching lamps?” The answer is: you don't have to! Depending on your living room’s style, you can play around with the pieces you add.

For example, you can use a statement lamp on one side that goes with your side table, but on the other side, choose a floor lamp that provides different lighting. Not only are you choosing the right light style for each portion of your living room, but you’re also adding more pieces to make the space look more intriguing. 

Here are some lighting ideas for your home to give you some inspiration. 

Step 5: Decide on Your Color Palette

Color palette on a desk

When it comes to living room ideas, choosing the right paint color is crucial. Pick a color palette that compliments your furniture choices, your home’s overall aesthetic, and the style you want to achieve in this room.

Remember, lighting will also play a critical role in choosing the right paint colors, so don't forget to look at steps four and five together. 

Remember that you can mix decor trends and different colors. Don’t be afraid to mix colors, patterns, and styles throughout your living room. However, make sure that there’s a common theme, whether it’s the color, the style, or the subject matter, to ensure you don’t make the space look overwhelming.

Step 6: Add Wall Art & Accessories

Spacejoy Mid-Century Modern Living Room

No living room decor ideas would be complete without wall art and accessories. Don't go crazy, thinking that every inch of the room needs to be filled. Empty space is vital in designing comfortable spaces as it provides a place for your eyes to rest. Including wall art and accessories like pillows, blankets, mirrors, decorative items will pull the space together and complete the look. 

It can be challenging to choose artwork to match your space. However, think about the overall theme when selecting your wall art. Remember that when you’re adding wall accessories, these are often pieces that are deeply personal choices and speak about your personality. Other components can be more strategic, like an oversized floor mirror over a small wall to make the room seem more spacious. 

More Tips on How to Decorate a Living Room

Regardless of your style, there’s an art to decorating a room that fits your aesthetic. Now that you have the basics, here are some tips on how to decorate a living room like a professional. 

1. Mix Light and Dark Paint Colors

 A Transitional Coastal Living Room

We’re used to seeing rooms in one color only. But, when you combine dark and light living room paint colors, you create a dynamic look that adds depth and balance to your space. Check out some of the most popular living room paint colors to get you started. 

2. Contrast Neutral Colors

Mid-Century Modern Living Room

On that same note, remember that you can contrast neutral colors as well. For example, white walls can create a crisp contrast to caramel leather accents and brass hardware. Using contrasting tones makes the palette feel richer, and it will give you a striking look as you start adding more color and texture. 

3. Play With Texture

 A Contemporary Living Room

If you don’t feel confident using color to create a unique look, incorporate different textures instead. You can include texture by adding leather, cotton, wool, stone, glass, and many other textures as you wish. 

4. Mix Your Upholstery

A Rustic Living Room

As you start to be more creative and playful with your furniture choices, try to mix up your upholstery. Mix and match pieces to give your decor more personality and break up the style. One of the safest ways to do this is to mix leather chairs with a fabric sofa or vice versa. 

5. Choose Movable Furniture

Mid-Century Living-Dining Room

When choosing your tables, stools, and ottomans, make sure they’re easy to move. This will give you many options to choose from, and it creates a more dynamic living room space that can adapt to your needs. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I start decorating my living room?

Hopefully, the tips above will help you get started on planning your living room space and decor. Try to start small. Otherwise, a whole redesigning project can be too overwhelming. Usually, most people begin with picking the rug, sofa, and accent art wall. Work your way around your TV and media console and start creating a conversational and enjoyable space in this space. 

How can I beautify my living room?

Beautifying your living room can be easily achieved with a few steps. Try to incorporate more color using pillows, throws, and decorative elements to break with the monochromatic look of the space. Use furniture to decorate as well by choosing tables and chairs with ornate legs. Make your lighting part of your decor by choosing statement light fixtures that blend with the design. Try to work all of these tips by following a theme, so it’s easier to stay focused. 

How can I decorate my living room on a low budget?

You don’t have to redesign your entire living room to make an impact. Start by rearranging the furniture to play with your living room’s layout and change the way it looks. Get a few frames and upgrade your art wall decor using family photos, prints, and easy-to-find posters. Add greenery with house plants to elevate the space, and think about painting a wall or two to create more depth. These small steps can make a huge difference in how your living room space looks without having to spend a fortune to make it happen.  

Let's Design Your Perfect Living Room

When in doubt, you should always turn to the experts. Look for inspiration on Pinterest, Houzz, Instagram, and other interior design outlets to get an idea of what a professionally designed living room should look like. It can also help you get an idea of the different layouts, styles, and furniture pieces you can add to your living room to make it stand out from the crowd. 

There are millions of living room design ideas you can source for inspiration. But, the vast number of living room trends out there can make the design process a bit less fun and more overwhelming. Luckily, that's why you can start a project today and work with a talented Spacejoy interior designer to make your living room a dream come true.

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