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How to Decorate a Living Room

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Getting the design of your living room right is crucial. Your living room is the main gathering space in your home. It’s the place where your guests hang out, where you spend time with loved ones and where you unwind at the end of the day.

You want it to be cozy and welcoming, yet tasteful and elegant. No matter the size or shape of your space, this guide on how to decorate a living room will help you hit all the marks, while adding a personal touch of character.

Tips and How To: Living Room Decoration

Technically speaking, there's no right or wrong way to style a home. But from a design perspective, following a basic process and keeping certain principles in mind will help you create a truly stunning space.

Ready to get started? Check out these tips and ideas on how to decorate a living room.

Carefully Measure Your Space

First things first: Before buying anything or deciding on a layout, it's important to carefully measure your available space. Note the overall dimensions of your living room, as well as the distance between each wall, where walkways should go and where you can't place furniture (such as in front of a doorway).

Choose Multiple Furniture Upholstery Materials

When selecting living room furniture, choose pieces made with varying upholstery materials. For instance, you might choose an off-white bouclé couch and a pair of leather armchairs in a complementing color, like camel or dark brown.

Take a look at these blogs for more inspiration:

Encourage Conversation With Furniture Placement

Once you have your furniture picked out, play around with different layouts. Ideally, the arrangement should encourage conversation and interaction among friends and family. With this in mind, you might position each piece around a living room focal point such as a coffee table, a fireplace or a large window with a stellar view.

Need some inspiration for your table space? Our article has plenty of ideas on How to Decorate a Coffee Table.

Opt for Versatile, Moveable Pieces

Next, you'll choose a few furniture accents. Aside from a coffee table and chairs, you might select nesting tables, small stools, floor poufs, large baskets or a wooden bench. These pieces are all relatively small and lightweight, so you can move them around your living room as needed, like when you're serving drinks or hosting a game night.

Find more ideas in these blogs:

Use Wood and Other Natural Materials

Natural materials are a pillar of feng shui. They're thought to bring positive energy to a space and enhance chi to promote vitality and a state of balance. Think wood, rattan, wicker, jute, stone and earth-sourced fabrics such as linen, wool and cotton.

Our article offers a deeper dive into the principles, with more Feng Shui Interior Design Ideas to explore.

Ground the Space With a Rug

An area rug is a critical component of every living room — yep, even if you have carpeted floors. It anchors the room’s layout, defines seating areas and helps make things look all-around cohesive. 

Braided jute is an excellent choice, especially if you're looking to add natural materials to your space. Then there's wool, cotton blends and everything in between.

What Is a Jute Rug? Find out in our blog, then explore The Best Rugs for Every Room.

Incorporate Texture

When deciding how to decorate a living room, that "wow factor" can be found within subtle details. For example, incorporating texture will give the space dimension and warmth while breaking up the monotony of your primary materials. You can add texture with a tufted rug, woven baskets, knitted throw blankets or velvet decorative pillows.

Learn How to Style Throw Pillows Like a Designer in our blog.

Deck the Walls

One of the most important decorating elements is what you put on your walls. Whether you choose traditional framed art, a gallery wall, patterned wallpaper, a mural, floating shelves, hanging plants or mirrors, this is an excellent opportunity to add character while avoiding a cluttered living room.

These blogs provide more insight into how to decorate living room walls:

Create Ambiance With Lighting

Nailing your lighting situation is vital. Creating a cozy, welcoming atmosphere is all about layered illumination. For instance, you might include dimmable overheads, an arched floor lamp positioned over your furniture arrangement, wall sconces, wireless lamps on the side tables and candles on the mantle.

Here are 27 of the Best Living Room Lighting Ideas to consider.

Don't Forget Curtains

Window coverings are an often overlooked design element. And while it's certainly okay if they're one of the last living room decor items you choose, the selection process shouldn't be taken lightly. The right curtains will provide light filtration, privacy, insulation and an aesthetic touch that ties the space together.

These guides offer tips and ideas for selecting and hanging drapes:

Add Some Greenery

Last but not least, be sure to add some greenery to your gathering space. This will lend to a fresh, organic appeal while incorporating a hint of color into a neutral color scheme.

Wondering how to arrange plants in living rooms? There's really not much to it. You can set indoor trees and other large potted plants on the floor and place smaller foliage on various surfaces throughout.

Check out the Top 16 Indoor Plants for Clean Air in Your Home.

Have Fun

Whether you're designing your living room from scratch or looking for ways to spruce up the space, the process should ultimately be fun. Yes, it can take some time to choose furniture, settle on a layout and curate a personal medley of decorative accents. But try to view it as an enjoyable, creative project.

Our step-by-step guide to Updating Your Living Room has more tips and guidance.

Choosing a Style and Theme for Your Living Room Decor

Now that you have a grasp on how to decorate a living room, you might be wondering what aesthetic to choose. From mid-century modern, contemporary and art deco to traditional, coastal and industrial, there are many routes you can take.

That said, your living room should feature a defined style personal to you. There's nothing wrong with finding inspiration on the Internet or getting pointers from a professional, but in the end, it should represent your lifestyle, interests and personality.

Consider Creating a Living Room Decor Mood Board

If you're still stuck, consider creating a mood board. This will help you organize your inspiration, combine ideas, define objectives and visualize the theme and color scheme.

See How to Create an Interior Design Mood Board in our handy guide.

Choosing a Color Palette

Apart from knowing how to decorate your living room and your preferred design style, selecting a color scheme is a key component of the process. You'll want to have at least a rough idea of a palette before you purchase anything, to ensure all pieces look cohesive and fit the theme.

Mix Dark and Light Shades for Contrast

Mix Dark and Light Shades for Contrast

Mixing dark and light shades is a great way to add contrast, balance and a dynamic appeal to your living room decor. The most common example is mixing black and white. Though these are opposites on the color wheel, the two hues by no means clash. They work exceptionally well together while entertaining the eye.

Use Tonal Neutrals

A tonal color scheme is essentially monochromatic, meaning it features a single color. But by incorporating varying shades of the hue, you’ll still create plenty of dimension and interest.

For example, your furniture arrangement might include a charcoal sofa, a silvery velvet chair-and-a-half and a faded black leather accent chair. Then you might add dove-grey curtains and a rug woven with grey and white fibers.

If this color palette speaks to you, see our blog on How to Design and Style a Grey Bedroom.

Add a Hint of Color

Don't be afraid to add a pop of color to an otherwise neutral space. You might do this by adding something as simple as a few house plants amid a black and ivory living room. Or you may select a marigold accent chair as part of a brown and beige mid-century furniture arrangement.

Want more inspiration? Explore these 35 Stylish Living Room Color Schemes.

Free Home Design Consultations From Parachute

When you're ready to shop for furniture and decor, Parachute is a great place to start. You’ll find a robust selection of tasteful, eco-friendly offerings here, including thoughtfully crafted sofas, chairs, coffee tables, side tables and benches, along with light fixtures, woven baskets, rugs, curtains, blankets and throw pillows.

What's more, Parachute offers complimentary design services. Whether you need ideas on how to decorate a small living room, tips for arranging furniture in an oddly shaped space or guidance on choosing a color palette, our expert stylists can help.

Book your one-on-one virtual interior design consultation today!

Read Next:

Living Room Essentials: Stylish and Functional Necessities

Behind the Design: Living Room Furniture

Your Perfect Living Room

Guide to Design and Decor Ideas for Your Home

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