First, stick with low-profile furniture in neutral colors. Leggy pieces like the coffee table create a sense of spaciousness because you can see more of the floor. For pops of color, add a houseplant or two and patterned rug. Next, fill that big blank space over your sofa with a statement-making print or oversized mirror. Need a floor lamp but don't have an inch of horizontal room to spare? Consider something wall-mounted.
Keep a file of your favorite samples and inspirational images even if you can’t afford a makeover yet, or haven’t found the home of your dreams. This homeowner/designer kept all the fabric samples that she loved in a bag until she found the right home to settle in. She'd also been acquiring updated yet traditional pieces for just the kind of collected look she liked.
Chippy and peel-y architectural salvage brings a living room instant age and texture. After all, you do find “rust” in “rustic.” The living room of this grain silo-turned-guest house features numerous reuses of rustic salvage, including weathered sheet metal siding, chippy wood window frames, and even an old Champagne shipping crate that homeowner Amy Kleinwachter topped with a grain sack cushion to make into a footstool.
"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.
Before you start choosing pieces for your living room, pick the main palette of one or two colors, and keep the main furniture pieces within those color families. Unlike busier, multicolor color schemes, sticking to one or two main colors will help create a clean, timeless aesthetic that will outlast trends – saving you time and money in the long run.
Paint is affordable, transformative, and easily applied by novice decorators. Use it to color walls, update flea market furnishings, refresh tired floors, and showcase a room's architectural features. Choose wall colors that further a mood (the deeper the tone, the cozier the feel) and that complement your finest furnishings and personal style preferences.
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.
Front and back doors open directly into a two-story-high living room, where spruce-planked walls and wood beams salvaged from an 1890 Tennessee barn reflect the home’s rural setting and give the space a refined, barnlike feel. Interior decorator Phoebe Howard balanced the rustic elements with color. “I added an air of elegance with a soft color palette that reflects the surrounding sky and hills,” she says.
With the multihued curtain fabric as her jumping-off point, designer Ashley Whittaker splashed an amped-up version of pink in three places in the living room—the footstool, the contrasting pillow welt, and the slipper-chair trim. "We wanted the home to feel bright and colorful like Florida but not like a vacation home," says Ashley. She pulled off the cozy yet elegant vibe by grounding the sun-and-surf palette with serious touches, such as the antique demilune tables.
Creating living room décor in a modernist vain is a practice in less being more. Utilizing neutral color schemes to accentuate contour lines, strong geometric shapes and asymmetrical designs are the hallmarks of modern furniture. Achieving the modern look relies heavily upon furniture selection as well as placement. Search Living Spaces’ selection of modern furniture to piece together your vision.
A neutral palette comes alive when it consists of a combination of light to dark hues in mix of textures, as this rustic living room by designer Melissa Ervin exhibits. From top to bottom, natural woven-shade capped lamps sit atop metal-and-wood side tables, pillows made from vintage textiles decorate a mohair and leather sofa, and a hide rug tops the nubby sisal floor covering.