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There are scads of publications loaded with living room decorating ideas, but unless you have the budget to purchase living room furniture by the set, it would be best to start small. First, we recommend starting with the basics. When picking furniture, take into consideration what purpose it will serve then focus on a few staple items. Find a comfy couch and an inviting coffee table that suits your needs then search for accent furniture that will bring out your vision of home.

Family photographs instantly add warmth and personality to your home. Take them out of the attic, off your computer, or out of the infrequently viewed albums on your bookshelves, and enjoy them every day. Pick a wall, corner, or entire room. If your chosen spot already has picture molding (found in many older homes), your job will be easy. If not, adding new molding is not that complicated.

These free-form wood slab “canvases” are a striking way to display your favorite prints and portraits, all the while lending a decidedly Pacific Northwest touch to bright, open rooms and hallways. Suspended alone or in multiple rows, these wooden frame mounts work best on lighter walls, where the richness of the wood can truly stand out and draw the eye. Driftwood, glass floats, seashells, and found flea market treasures make the perfect companion pieces, with carefully crafted candles suggesting your personal gallery’s special place in the heart of your home.


Take a look at estate sales and yard sales – There are many great furniture bargains to be had at your local estate or yard sales. Estate sales are great for those looking to purchase a matching furniture set at a discounted price. There are several websites that offer email alerts you can sign up for to let you know when an estate sale is planned in your area. Stores such as Habitat for Humanity or thrift stores in your area may be another good place to search for salvaged goods of high quality.
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.
Imperfections are perfect for rustic living rooms. In fact, rough is one of the words used to define rustic. So when you incorporate elements into your rustic decor, celebrate any less-than-pristine aspects of the piece. This large hutch retains doors once stripped of almost all the paint but was never repainted. The resulting natural wood frames with specks of paint draw attention to the treasures displayed inside while exuding rustic charm.
Crisp whites combined with punches of bright colors immediately transport you to the coast. In this living room, aqua accents in the pillows, throw, and rug mimic the ocean’s dazzling blues, and the pops of bright orange are inspired by the magnificent hues of the setting sun. Whitewashed horizontal shiplap planking evokes the feel of old Gulf-front beach houses.
Take a good look around your living room. What are the aspects of the room that you find unpleasant? Is the room cluttered with books? Is it too dark? Is the paint faded? Do you feel that it is outdated? The first thing is to decide on what you want to change. Try picking out a theme. Would you like the living room to feel modern? Minimalist? Cottage? Traditional? Or do you just want to brighten it up? Deciding on how you want the room to look will prevent you from binge shopping for new décor.

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.

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.
A black marble fireplace strikes the perfect balance between edgy and timeless. It anchors this living room designed by Arent & Pyke, which get a contemporary lift from the jute rug, modern and bright artwork, and shapely table lamp. And because the armchairs are a classic silhouette, they'll last forever—you can reupholster them with different colors and prints throughout the years as your taste and style changes.
You'll find affordable area rugs suiting every style at big box stores, discount home shops, and even home improvement centers (shop end-of-summer sales for outdoor rugs that can work inside). Use simple (and more affordable) large rugs to anchor a room's furnishings and smaller rugs to define conversational groupings or activity areas. Experts recommend that all furniture sits atop the rug and that an ample border of flooring is seen around the rug's perimeter.
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