Designer Courtney Heaton recommends sticking to tradition with larger pieces and adding in trendier pieces with small items. "We suggest anchoring the room with pieces that will stand the test of time like this navy sectional with clean lines and these classic swivel chairs. Then you can have fun with pillows and x benches that can easily be changed out for a whole new look!"
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.
If Marie Antoinette moved to modern New York City this would most likely be her living room decorating style of choice. Undoubtedly feminine but unabashedly opulent, this rustic hybrid space is illuminated by a Versailles-worthy chandelier, with plush carpeting and faux fur throws epitomizing all the comforts the elite could crave. Stylish scroll work shelving and a solid wooden coffee table uphold the rustic end of the aesthetic while a silver pocket watch clock and garden accents add a refreshingly personal touch. Best of all the creamy white and smooth taupe tones open up and brighten the space, offering smaller interiors a chance to shine in their own right.
One of the most fundamental features in a rustic living room is the fireplace. Consider dressing yours in authentic native rock, which brings the rugged beauty of the outdoors inside. A brick border outlines the curve of this fireplace, giving it a graceful note. White, transitional club chairs lighten the look and provide a comfy spot to enjoy the fire.
The sofas in the living room of this contemporary Hancock Park home are by RH, Restoration Hardware, the 1950s chairs are Danish, the cocktail table is by Charles Hollis Jones, the end tables are from Lucca Home, and the antique stool was a Japanese rice box. The antique mirror is Indian, the mantel is original, the pendant is by Paul Ferrante, the floor lamp is by Visual Comfort, and the sconces are by Ralph Lauren Home.
You don’t always have to buy new pieces to decorate. Take a stroll around the house, and see what décor you already have. You may stumble upon pieces that you can use for your living room, and vice versa. Maybe you have some old pieces in the basement or garage that you can still dig up. You can look at recent gifts that you set aside not knowing where to put them. You can look for some small pillows that you can add to your couch.
In the Decorist's San Francisco showhouse, by Decorist elite designer Simone Howell, everything is personal. "The living room is a place where you should feel totally at ease, whether you love a calm neutral palette or something vibrant. Layering objects like coffee table books that represent your family's passions in addition to travel trinkets such as blown glass votives bring an additional layer of intimacy to a space."
In the living room of Kris Ghesquière and Eva Claessens’s house in southeastern Uruguay, which they built on the remains of an 1810 roadside general store, the chair was constructed by a local carpenter based on a picture in a magazine, the vintage table in front of the sofa was found at an auction in France and the rug is from Iran; the yellow lamb sculptures are by William Sweetlove, and the paintings and feather sculpture are by Claessens.
Materials that connect to the location are key to character building. Sisal hints at the marsh grasses in an elegant way and is also durable, easy to clean, and ideal for layering. The alligator skull speaks to the local wildlife, while palms in antique glass and fern-patterned pillows are additional nods to the room's Lowcountry vibe and provide a carefree polish.