Whether you're lounging on the couch, watching TV with family, or entertaining friends, you likely use your living room every single day. Learn how to decorate yours so that it looks its very best with these tips.

By Madison Dahlstrom
Updated June 16, 2021
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Living rooms serve many functions. Some homes have formal living rooms, while others use the space for a family room, playroom, or TV room. Whatever you use this space for, designing a room that's comfortable and inviting is key to making the most of it. Here, learn how to organize and position your living room furniture in the most effective and appealing way.

powder blue sofa in living room
Credit: Jacob Snavely, Courtesy of Toledo Geller

Focus on the Focal Point

Do you have a large piece of artwork, entertainment system, or fireplace in your living room? Finding a room's natural focal point is a great place to start when creating your design. Most homes will have one major point of interest that is the first thing you notice when entering the room, and while not all furniture has to face it, you should consider centering the room around this main feature.

Create a Center

Whether it's a coffee table, ottoman, or group of chairs, it's important that your living room has a noticeable center. If you have a larger room you can incorporate multiple center points, such as a coffee table at one end of the room and an additional seating area at the other end.

Make It Functional

The layout of your living room should always be functional. This is best achieved by considering how many people will be using the room and what will it be used for. You can then decide the style, size, and amount of furnishings you will need.

Select Scaled Pieces

Another rule of thumb for decorating a living room is to create balance by choosing scaled pieces. If you want a well-balanced atmosphere, pick pieces differing in size and height that balance each other out. Place the larger pieces in the room first, then arrange the smaller items around the main furniture.

Add Dimension

Texture and dimension will top off your living room by adding visual appeal and interest. While decorations are usually the last details to be selected for a space, picking the right ones can be the biggest struggle. Create height and depth to your living room by adding artwork, photos, shelves, or mirrors to the walls. When hanging any art or items on the wall, consider the height from the wall edge and the ceiling; it's best to put décor at eye level and centered.

Incorporate Lighting

In order to create a bright and open living room, it's important to layer light sources. Even if you have one main overhead light, try incorporating different styles of light fixtures, such as lamps on side tables, accent lighting within bookshelves, and even candles. One of the easiest ways to add light to your living room is by arranging the furniture around your windows.

Add an Area Rug

Don't overlook an area rug when decorating your living room. Area rugs add texture and dimension to a space while also serving a function. Typically, you'll want to choose a rug that will complement your color scheme and can be placed in the center of the room. Be sure to choose the right size for your room and furniture. A good rule to follow is that the rug should be large enough so that at least the front legs of your furniture are on it, and the rug should be more than six to twelve inches away from the walls.

Mix and Match

Create a personalized living room by mixing and matching patterns, colors, and textures. Play up your favorite color by using it in different shades throughout the room. Choose a neutral-toned couch and pair it with a patterned armchair. If you really want to go bold with your living room arrangement, add a pop of color by mixing in an accent chair.

Create Symmetry

Focus on symmetry to create a well-balanced living room; the result will be a space that looks and feels both comfortable and organized. Pair sofas, side tables, and chairs on opposing sides of the room in order to achieve a symmetry. In this case, your coffee table will serve as the center point of the arrangement.

Think About Traffic

When arranging your living room, it's important to consider the traffic flow. Your furniture arrangement will be a factor in how people enter, exit, and navigate the space. Is it difficult to get in and out of seating? Does the space feel cramped when multiple people are sitting in the room? Work with the size of your space by choosing the right size of furnishings so that this high-traffic area can be used with ease.

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