11 Living Room Decorating Ideas Every Homeowner Should Know

white living room with leather chairs and blue accents
Photo: Molly Winters Culver

Lost when it comes to creating a visually cohesive, lived-in space? Learn how to decorate the heart of your home like an interior designer.

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white living room with leather chairs and blue accents
Molly Winters Culver

If we asked you to define the heart of your home, which room would you choose? Your first instinct might be the kitchen, but we'd wager that your living room is just as popular a space—especially when the right décor ideas are implemented. It's where you kick back after a long day, watch movies as a family, and entertain your houseguests. When you think about it, the living room is aptly named: It's where you go to live—to be.

Such an important space calls for taking extra care when designing it—especially since you want the end result to work and feel exactly like you need and want it to. This ultimately leads us to our first of many living room design tips: Establish the area's main purpose before you begin splurging on and arranging any and all of your furniture. Will it be the meeting place of your weekly book group? Supplement your couch with plenty of armchairs and choose a coffee table or ottoman that can double as seating—and then position all of your pieces in a way that encourages conversation. If the space is more often utilized as a home theater, a wraparound sectional, perfect for snuggling, is a must, as is a media console that (stylishly) holds all of your related gadgets.

After you establish your living room's function, then you can get to work on its form. From choosing paint colors and objects that speak to your personality to considering the scale of your walls before choosing art, we've rounded up some of our best tips to get you through the decoration process. Ahead, everything you need to know about designing a living room that reflects and serves you.

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Decorate for Your Lifestyle

geometric print rug and wall decor
Katie Charlotte

Interior designer Gillian Segal truly believes that "living in an environment you respond positively to will improve your quality of life." For her, that means creating a space that is calming, comforting, and great for entertaining. When decorating your space, she advises homeowners to think about what's important to you and make design choices that enhance your lifestyle. For instance, if watching television is a big part of your life, make the TV the focal point of the room. Is natural light important to you? Opt for sheer window treatments that invite the sunshine in.

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Make It a Reflection of Who You Are

dining room bar cart with eclectic accent art details and blue quartz lamp
Heather Hawkins

Make sure that everything you put in your living room is something you'd want to look at every day. Whether this means incorporating bright, quirky pieces of furniture that match your personality or selecting a neutral palette as a nod to your cool, calm, and collected lifestyle, this space should highlight who you are.

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Curate Your Shelves

built-in bookshelves stained brown geodes ceramic decor
William Abranowicz

Keeping your shelves neat with carefully curated items really ties a room together. Use anything from antique plates to tiny succulent plants—and don't be afraid to mix the old with the new.

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Stay Organized with Catchall Trays

sullivan island house white living room
Katie Charlotte Photography

Lacking in storage space? Keep beloved items out in the open, or better yet, use them as décor. That's where catchall trays come in—they corral your favorite books and knick-knacks in curated ways.

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Make It Multifunctional

light hued color scheme large coffee table between couches
Lauren Pressey Photography

When selecting furniture for your living room, go for something that pulls double duty. A large dresser can hold out-of-season clothes, linens, or anything else that needs a home, and serves as a useful surface for entertaining. Or, top it with your latest flatscreen and turn it into a media console.

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Keep Must-Haves Within Arm's Reach

Matthew Williams

Often the most used items in the home end up all over the place. Easy-access bins will keep items like extra blankets, DVDs, and TV cables neatly tucked away—and at the ready in a moment's notice.

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Optimize Awkward Corner Spaces

reading nook bench
Haris Kenjar

Corners often go neglected, but they are invaluable when you have a smaller space. Try adding some floating shelves and built-storage to make the most of what you have. Better yet, turn an unused pocket of the room into a reading nook by assembling comfortable seating, lighting, and a collection of books.

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Small Art, Big Impact

kettle cove home tour living room stone fireplace
Justin Levesque

If you don't have room for a giant painting, don't rule out art entirely. Displaying more compact prints is a great way to bring life to your living room—after all, who doesn't love a curated gallery wall?

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Add Accents Last

Annie Schlechter

When choosing furniture for your living room, start big and work your way down. Once you have your main pieces in place (sofa, coffee table, accent chairs, side table, and media console), start adding in the decorative elements. This will keep your space looking cohesive, according to interior stylist Kristen Grove.

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Add Splashes of Color

peel off wallpaper living room plush velvet sofa
Ryan Liebe

Want to make a big impact in your space? It's simple: Add bursts of color. You can easily swap out items like pillows and vases if you decide to change your color scheme down the road.

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Maximize a Small Space

white living room color scheme with gold accents
Courtesy of John McClain

Every homeowner should understand the basic principles of decorating a small space, especially when the room in question is the location of entertaining, eating, and relaxation. Adding more smart storage solutions, maintaining a single color palette throughout, and strategically utilizing curtains are only several of the many solutions for a small living room.

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