The art of living room design: ideas, tips, and inspiration

Living room ideas: design inspiration

Whether you dream of a full redesign or are seeking a quick fix, revamping your living room’s design holds the potential for an array of benefits that can go beyond a magazine-worthy setup. A good living room design that aligns with your lifestyle will not only serve as a stylish and efficient space, but it can act as a haven that reduces stress, reenergizes your mind and body, and improves social connections.

All it takes is a bit of planning and a hefty dose of inspiration!

Ask the big question

Before you start your living room design journey, ask yourself this: “How do I want to spend my time in this room?” This key question will help you determine not only what the room needs to function for, but also the ideal feeling that the space should evoke. By keeping a living room’s functional needs in mind, you are influencing every other design decision to come. This simple question can be the difference between a mediocre design and the living room of your dreams.

Forget one size fits all

A few staples to consider for your living room: seating, tables, lighting, wall decorations—Yes, that’s it.

We know it’s a vague list but living room designs are not one size fits all. While a spacious living room may benefit from the ample size and additional seating that a sectional sofa provides, a smaller dwelling may feel more comfortable with a cosy armchair and a couple footstools.

Once you have identified what your living room needs to function for, what you should put into your space will become more apparent.

4 living room setup secrets

You can take some of the guesswork out of arranging your living room furniture using a few simple questions:


Where can furniture fit, and will it fit?

Natural Pathways:

Is there anything obstructing walkways? Can someone easily manoeuvre in, out, and around the living room without disrupting others?

Focal Point:

What is your living room’s intended focal point? (fireplace, television, window etc.)


What is your living room’s main purpose? Social space? Consider staggering seating around a central point, such as a coffee table.

Charm with colour

Colour not only has control over how your living room looks, but it also influences how it will feel. So, what colour should you paint your living room? Rich and dark colours can feel moody and dramatic, while softer pastel hues can have a relaxing effect, then there are bright bolds that tend to infuse a space with energy. If you love the idea of adding a punch of colour to your living room, but aren’t quite sure about painting your walls a flashy hue, consider leaving the colour to your accessories or furniture. Both can infuse a room with colour but have less chance of overwhelming the overall design.

Green sectional Salamanca sofa with pillows against a teal wall with abstract art.

Light the way

Natural lighting is always preferred, but that doesn’t mean artificial lighting doesn’t deserve its time in the limelight. Your main lighting fixture should mesh with your design style and light the majority of the room, while your secondary lighting, such as lamps, spotlights and candles, should focus on highlighting dark corners and setting the mood.

Kuta floor lamp illuminating a grey Modena sofa with pillows and a dark wall background.

To TV or not to TV…

…That is the question. Long gone are the days of removing your television in favour of a formal aesthetic. But where do you put a TV in a living room, so it isn’t the constant focus? You could stash it away in a TV cabinet or even buy a model that disguises itself as a mirror when turned off. However, if the look of your flat screen isn’t a problem, consider displaying it with a wall mount to save space or use a console table or TV unit for an extra boost of style and storage.

The ultimate design killer

Not even the best design is immune to the plague of clutter. More traditional solutions like TV units, console tables and bookshelves can be great to stash odds and ends, but don’t forget to think outside the box. Footstools are a simple addition to any living room that can not only provide extra storage, but seating as well and then there are other multifunctional furniture pieces, such flip top coffee tables. Clutter not an issue? We tip our hats to you! Storage solutions are still an idea worth chewing on though with their potential to add convenience by keeping things, such as extra blankets and pillows, on hand.

Small living room ideas

Decorating a living room of any size can be quite the undertaking, but smaller spaces often come with their own set of challenges. Luckily, our small living room ideas and inspiration can take any living room from cramped to cosy in no time!

Go big or go home

Rugs can add an extra boost of style, cosiness, or colour to room, plus they’re especially great for hardwood or laminate—which can look and feel a bit cold at times. In a small living room, just make sure that you choose a larger model that is small enough to place at least 12 inches from the wall. However, if only a series of small rugs is available, then no rug is best. What about motifs? Solids are ideal, but if you are lusting after a pattern, try to go for a larger print that isn’t overly busy, think chunky chevron or other geometric patterns.

A woman feeling the texture of the Tide rug.

Paint it right

Bet you thought we were going to say white. While white is a fantastic colour option that can make a room look larger by creating the illusion of space, dark colours can also work in tighter quarters by adding a layer of depth. If you opt to go with a darker hue, just make sure that you contrast it with lighter wall hangings and adequate lighting.

A contemporary living space featuring the Salamanca sofa.

Inspiring living room decorating ideas

You know what vibe you want, and you understand how to make the most out of your living room’s space, but how do you achieve that specific style?

Modern: Minimalist decor, crisp lines, a neutral or earthy colour palette, this type of design uses bold colour sparingly and usually only to create a smaller focal point. Furniture in this style generally has a minimal look with its straight edges and neutral colours.

Industrial: Wood, metals, concrete, exposed brick, industrial style is all about embracing materials in their raw, imperfect form. You will often see this style in homes built in former industrial spaces with furniture that includes reclaimed wood pieces, metal legs, and concrete table tops.

Romantic: Soft colours, florals, plush fabrics, embracing romantic design is all about finding femininity. Furniture to complement this style might have pastel colours, velvet upholstery and soft curves.

Contemporary: Clean lines, silvery metallic finishes and organic shapes. Contemporary design is forever evolving based on the trends of today. If you are looking for furniture in this style, look for pieces with silver or chrome detailing and high shine finishes.

Eclectic: A combination of various styles and time periods. Eclectic design has the potential to be chaotic, but if well executed, it has tons of personality and charm. Furniture in this style can be anything.

Get low

A low furniture setup is a trade secret that can help take a small living room from claustrophobic to spacious. By allowing adequate headroom, you are creating the illusion of more space. This tip also works with floor space, so you might want to consider elevating your TV with a wall mount or floating TV stand.

Carmo sofa with lounging unit, carmo footstool in a white Lazio fabric with the Lugo coffee table.

Be seat savvy

Your cosy living room may not have space for a large sectional, but that doesn’t mean that you have to skimp on seating. Stools and footstools make excellent seating solutions and take up little room. Or if you’re going for a contemporary and youthful vibe, you can even incorporate a few fun floor poufs.

Sunny living space featuring the Nawabari sofa and matching pouffes.

Let there be light

The best thing you can do for a small living room on any budget is ensure that it has enough lighting. Whether that means swapping out your main fixture for a multi bulb model, adding a few lamps to eliminate those dark corners, or simply changing to brighter bulbs, your small living room will benefit from the dose of extra illumination.

Arrangement of the Curious table lamp and the Curious floor lamp.
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Inspiring living rooms

Get inspiration from living rooms styled by our skilled Interior Designers