Here’s the best living room decorating ideas all in one place. It’s a guidebook for decorating your living room from the floor to the ceiling and from wall to wall. Let’s decorate YOUR living room!
Best Living Room Decorating Ideas is part of the StoneGable series EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT… I hope you are enjoying these guidebook-type post that contains tons of information all in one convenient place. Make sure to pin this post to refer to over and over again!
Let’s talk living rooms…
Your living room (and family room) is a gathering place. It’s probably multifunctional and used for family and company alike!
Today I’m helping you decorate your living room with lots of the best ideas and tips.
Let’s work on the outline of the living room and work in…
WALLS, CEILINGS, AND FLOORS
Walls give definition to our living room space. If you have a living room or family room with at least three walls then knowing where your room begins and ends is easy!
If you have a more open concept you will have to define your space with furnishings instead of walls.
Just remember, a living room, no matter how many walls are around it needs to be a defined area. If not it will seem ambiguous and confusing!
Paint! That word seems to enlist fear and trepidation to the home decor enthusiast! Don’t let worry about painting a room cause you angst! I’ve got this so you do too!
My best advice is to paint your living room the same color as the rest of your home. It’s much easier than trying to coordinate color to work together and one color creates an automatic flow between rooms.
Because I’m advising you to paint your room (and home) the same color I’m also suggesting you pick a neutral! We don’t have to be trendy when it comes to our wall color! Well, actually neutrals are big and on-trend right now! But, when they fade into the decor distance I’ll still be telling you to create color in your home in other ways, NOT on your walls!
See 6 TIPS FOR CHOOSING THE PERFECT PAINT. It is a very helpful resource and will demystify painting your home!
And you might also like CREATING ROOMS THAT FLOW WELL TOGETHER.
Ceilings are prime real estate in a living room! I love to see a gorgeous architectural treatment to a ceiling that is on the tall side or that is vaulted or cathedral. Think about crown molding too!
If you go the crown molding route make sure it has a presence. Shrimpy and skimpy crown molding is worse than none at all!
However, if you have standard 8-foot ceilings keep them plain. And paint them white. White will expand them and make them seem taller! Painting them color or adding a ceiling treatment usually calls too much attention to a lower height ceiling! I think the exception here is crown molding. Just don’t make it too heavy!
My ceiling in the living room is 9 feet. I would love a big hefty crown molding around them! It’s on the to-do list but hasn’t happened yet!
There are lots of option for a living room floor. Here are just a few…
- wall to wall carpeting
- wood flooring
- engineered flooring
- tile floors
- painted floors
My best advice is to use the same flooring as the rest of your home. It will help the flow from one room to another. Just like we talked about in the painting section!
Area rugs can add another layer of interest, texture, warmth and define a living space.
Even if you have a low pile wall to wall carpet a nice area rug on top of the carpet an add a punch of decor WOW!
The most important thing to keep in mind when using area rugs is the size. Too small and the whole room will look off! Too big and the boundaries of a living space get lost.
Here’s a good rule of thumb for area rugs in a living room… the main furniture in your living room like your sofa, coffee table, and chairs should all be touching an area rug! And the at least the front legs of your sofa and chairs should be on the area rug.
Also, there should be a few inches of flooring showing around the perimeter of a room when using an area rug.
A rug that is too small for a room makes the whole room look “off”!
Your curtains can make a room look dated or fresh! Think simple, simple, simple! A plain straight curtain looks in style and updated. And so does a window with no curtains at all!
Blinds in natural materials such as rattan look amazingly nice and add lots of texture to a living room.
Heavy drapes with lots of layers and trim are too heavy for today’s look.
My living room has windows with simple white linens curtains and some windows with no curtains at all. I like this look. The curtains add a layer of texture without calling attention to themselves!
There are so many ways a living room can be laid out. It really depends on the shape and measurements of the room.
Here are a few decorating ideas and tips that will help you with the layout of your living room…
- Know the measurements of your living room! It is the best place to start.
- Create a focal point. See HOW TO CREATE A BEAUTIFUL FOCAL POINT IN A ROOM
- Create balance. See WHAT IS BALANCE IN DECORATING
- Don’t overcrowd a room. I think this is a big mistake by many home decorators! Less is really best!
- Don’t put all your furniture up against the wall. If you have room “float” a piece or two. Your whole room will look so much better.
- Allow for about 30 inches between furniture to walk through
- And allow about 15 inches between furniture like sofas and coffee tables
- The distance between a chair/sofa and an accent table should be comfortable enough to get a drink on the table.
One important thing to remember is to try arranging your living room different ways and live with each arrangement for a while until you hit on the arrangement that is perfect for your home.
BEST IDEAS FOR FURNITURE IN A LIVING ROOM
When it comes to furnishing a living room there are a couple things that are important to keep in mind! You need to know how the room will be used, who will be primarily using it and what style your decor you will use in the room.
Answer these questions BEFORE you begin decorating! If you have already decorated your living room it is not too late. Just answer these questions truthfully and start from there!
Foundational furniture are pieces that are of primary importance to the function of the room. So we are talking about sofas, chairs, coffee tables, etc!
These are your functional furnishings!
Foundational furniture include…
- coffee table
- end table
I like to think of them as the “bones of decor” in a room. These are the first things you should put in a living room!
Placement is key. As I said earlier, many home decorators try to stuff too many things in a room. Every room needs room to breathe! Remember that and make it your mantra when decorating!
Start with the biggest piece of furniture first like the sofa and larger case pieces. Remember don’t crowd your living room with too much furniture!
I love accent furniture! It is fun! Accent furniture is furnishings that is often more form than function.
These furniture pieces can be more playful and show off your style and flair. Yes, it does have a function but these pieces complement your room’s style.
Here are some examples of accent furniture…
- accent chair
- fireplace screen
- accent table
- bar cart
Lighting in a living room is functional and should also enhance the style and beauty of a room.
There are three types of lighting and these pools of light should softly overlap one another to bring light into every corner of a living room.
Think of ambient lighting as the general lighting in a room. It can be natural or artificial. I often think of big overhead lighting as ambient.
Its purpose is to light up the whole room.
Personally, I am not an overhead lighting girl! I think it is often too harsh.
Make sure all lighting are on dimmers. Dimmers are your best lighting friend!
Task lighting is lighting to flood an area so you can do a task. In a living room that usually means table lamps or floor lamps. They add a pool of light to one area of a room.
Accent lighting in a living room usually accents art or a bookcase or some specific object. Think recess lighting, track lighting or sconces.
Let’s think of art in broad terms for the living room. But let’s limit it to art on the walls.
- architectural pieces
Art is essential to a living room. It brings personality and beauty to a room. And it also helps our eyes move around and up and down throughout the living room.
Art is very subjective. And it certainly is in the eye of the beholder!
Hang art at a comfortable height of about 57- 60 inches from the floor. And if you are hanging art behind a sofa it should be hung about 10 inches from the top of the back of the sofa.
These are industry suggestions that are tried and true and art looks at its best when hung at these heights.
After saying that, art is very personal and rules are meant to be broken. Get “artsy” and creative and hang art in interesting ways!
I love funky, architectural pieces. These are art to me! So are dishes! Take my lead and get creative with what you hang on your walls!
Decorative accents bring life to your living room! And add a big dose of your personality!
Decorating accents are the best living room ideas!
Think about adding…
- little art objects
- garden stools
Decorative accents are fun, inexpensive ways to change up the look of your living room! Add YOUR personality into this room by layering lots of decorative accents!
Look for a post on decorative accents for the living room coming soon!
One of my favorite living room decorating ideas is to create a vignette! A vignette is a group of decorative objects that show off your personality! They also add a mini focal point to a room!
A vignette is a perfect way to show off the seasons or holidays! They are simple to create and with a few tips, you can add a pretty vignette to your living room!
Here are several posts about creating the perfect vignette for your living room…
Pillows, beautiful pillows! I call them the jewelry of a room! Pillows are all about pretty! And we all love pretty! Make sure your living room is dressed up with some WOW factor pillows!
Pillows are an inexpensive way to totally change the look of a living room!
Here are a few posts to help you choose and arrange pillows…
STYLING A MANTEL
A mantel in a living room is decorating gold!!!!! It is an instant focal point and a surface you will want to decorate!
If you don’t have a mantel think of any horizontal service like a buffet, hutch etc as you would a mantel.
Decorating a mantel is can be a bit frustrating. It’s long and narrow and because it is a focal point it becomes the first things we see when we enter the living room!
However, you can master your mantel with a little designer know-how and a few brilliant tips!
Style your mantel with these helpful posts…
OTHER THOUGHTS AND IDEAS
Here’s the bottom line when it comes to the best living room decorating ideas…
Create a room that is comfortable, useful and infused with your own personal style!
And remember not to SET IT AND FORGET IT! Change up your living room to reflect the seasons to keep it fresh and pretty!
Do you have a tip for decorating a living room you would like to share? Make sure to add it to the comments!