Your living room sees the most use. It's where you entertain guests, have family movie nights, and even enjoy a quiet evening alone. Since you use it every day, it's no wonder it's the most frequently updated space in your home. Whether you're searching for a whole new style or just want to make a small update, get inspired by our editors' best tips for living room decorating below.
Cape Cod ambiance is a rustic favorite in living room decoration ideas, and for good reason. The irresistible trademark blue and white nautical color schemes, coupled with plenty of ship planking-inspired wood, are given a genteel upgrade with tinkling chandeliers and furnishings to suit the modern family. Beloved books, antique findings, and objects of interest are attractively displayed to frame and neutralize more modern necessities such as televisions and reading lamps, while assorted candles and vase arrangements keep the atmosphere seamlessly refined.
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.
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Rustic style is a popular interior style particularly suited to people who want a unique, handmade products, home supplies and priceless traces of time. Rustic interiors are typically very romantic, charming, and of course with the vintage charm. Rustic style attracts people who appreciate traditional values and are looking for high quality furniture, including living room furniture. The main feature of pleasant living room style from ancient times is the mix of the quality and functionality.
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In the living room of an antique-laden apartment in Greenwich Village, the antique Swedish sofa and Baroque chair, right, are upholstered in Robert Kime fabrics, the armchair is 18th-century French and a vintage Persian Soumak rug from Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar rests on a sea-grass rug from ABC Carpet & Home. Among the items on the wall are an antique water-buffalo skull, 19th-century French gouaches and a drawing by Jean Cocteau.
If you frequently entertain guests at your home, choose a strategic living room layout that promotes conversation and comfort. For example, in this living room designed by Leanne Ford Interiors, the incorporates semi-circle seating that's both spacious and inviting. Sectionals are also a good option when a circular sofa isn't. And if you also love the all-white aesthetic, take note. Ford brush painted the natural IKEA rug and custom-made rope light.
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.
Look for clearance bargains – This can be a little tough to find the real deals. We’ve have seen those signs saying a furniture store is having a “going out of business sale!” and then realize that sign has been up for years. However, by searching for clearance sales that are different from standard sale prices one can occasionally find great deals.
So the interior didn't compete with views of the farm, the owner of this Alberta farmhouse opted for crisp white paint on the walls and ceiling, and blue draperies that complement the large stretch of sky outside the windows. Light pine floors with a single coat of whitewash allow the wood's natural grain to show without taking away from the room's airy feel.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Architect Luís Bernardo Brito e Abreu renovated his São Miguel home to reflect his family's artistic, maritime history. The living room features a vintage chair by Illum Wikkelsø, and the mantel and stone benches are both of local basalt. The sculpture of a head on the bench at right is by Ernesto Canto da Maya, and the wall sculpture above the mantel is a 16th-century naval decoration.
It’s not as much about where you put your furniture as it is about the types of pieces you choose. "In each room I design, I try to include at least one round piece, such as a coffee table, that people can walk around without bumping their knees," says interior designer Katie Rosenfeld. "I also add a few armchairs and a versatile piece like a garden stool that can be used as a stool to sit on or as a table for a drink."
In the living room of designer of textiles and interiors Kathryn M. Ireland's compound in Santa Monica, the custom sofa is in a linen velvet from Ireland’s fabric collection; the armchairs are covered in an Otis Textiles linen slipcover (left) and a fabric purchased in Marrakech (right). The rag rug is from Amadi Carpets, the steel-framed sliding doors are by Chateau Domingue, and the wall hanging is a 19th-century suzani.
Architectural salvage offers another simple avenue for creating your rustic living room. Visit any good salvage dealer to tour a wide selection of possibilities; you're bound to come away with plenty of rustic decorating ideas. This antique door, for example, leans against the wall like a prized piece of artwork, displaying multiple coats of old peeling paint that tell a story of days gone by. Be sure to cover the surfaces of any old painted piece with clear polyurethane to preserve the beauty of the finish and seal in any issues with lead-based paint. Choose flat or low-luster sheen so the look remains old and worn.
A hand-me-down buffet's original cherry finish felt a little formal for this Arizona ranch home, but with some matte chalk paint, the item took on a more casual look that set the tone for equally laid-back vintage pieces, from the leather luggage (that stores extra blankets) to a coffee table made from an antique mission door. A midcentury turquoise sofa adds a splash of happy color.
Your rustic living room doesn't have to be dark and dreary, as this room proves. Accents and fabrics in white, cream, and taupe amplify the effects of sunlight streaming in through a large window. But a few notable features give the space its rustic style. Primitive, chipped-paint candlesticks fill the window alcove, rivaling the more traditional fireplace as a focal point. At the center of the room, a natural wood coffee table stands on split logs, still dressed in rugged natural glory.