How to Decorate a Living Room

There are plenty of different approaches to consider when deciding how to decorate a living room—from assessing paint color to contemplating furniture and adding on the finishing touches with accent pieces. Use this guide to help get you started. These modern living room ideas will help you plan the perfect living room setup, whether you have a small living room or a large one.


Picking a Living Room Palette

Whether you’re starting from scratch with new paint on the wall or working with the paint that’s already there, you’ll want to decide on a color palette before you start planning out your living room ideas—especially if you’re working with a smaller living room. If you’re looking for some paint ideas, we have ten living room painting ideas that are perfect for fall weather. Or some general advice on paint shades and tones.


But as a rule of thumb, many interior designers will recommend going with a white ceiling to make your living room feel more spacious. If you have more modern living room ideas in mind, and white is just not your color, consider painting your ceiling the same color as your walls but several shades lighter. Similar tones on the walls and ceilings can give the impression that the walls are endless and stretch further up than they do.


In terms of general shades and tones—if you’re working with paint that is already on your wall but you aren’t sure what color it is, there are several sites and apps that will do a color match. If you can get the name, it could help you better decide how to decorate your living room, since you can find coordinating palettes to decide what color and tone of accent pieces will work best.


Consider Shades & Tones

Whether you’re inspired by modern living room ideas or looking for a more traditional living room setup, deciding what tones you want to work with can help you establish the tone of your space. It might also dictate some of your accent pieces.


Cool & Neutral

Use neutral gray paints to go wild with your decorations and explore a variety of bright colors. Or you can choose to work with a grayscale palette so your tones are mostly cool or neutral. This is great for more modern living room ideas that have an industrial feel but be careful to keep your space welcoming. To offset cooler tones and keep your space from feeling drab, you might consider using warmer accent pieces, natural elements like plants, wood, or other organic material, and softer lighting.


Warm Neutrals

You can also give yourself tons of space to explore living room decorating ideas and keep your space feeling cozy by using warmer neutrals like creamy whites, beiges, and warm browns. With a warm palette, if you use organic materials like the ones mentioned above, it’s simple to recreate some of the laid-back vibes of your favorite coffee shop. Or you can turn away from more modern living room ideas and explore a more traditional living room setup. Warm neutrals can go great with more traditional pieces—like larger wood furniture, brass and copper tones, and more ornate pieces. If you are a person that likes to embrace the seasons, changing out your decor is simple with a warm neutral palette.


All White

If you’re a bold person that likes to experiment with color, then going all white might seem like a terrible idea to you. But all white is a great idea for smaller living room spaces. And it can be great for those who like to experiment with bold pieces, but also like to change their mind a lot. An all-white canvas gives you room to explore truly bold accent pieces. Go with bright reds and oranges one day, and switch them out for monochromatic blues the next.


Pragmatic Possibilities

While deciding how to decorate your living room, it might be easy to forget that this is also a very practical space for a lot of people. But you can include a few practical ideas into your decorating scheme early on so you don’t feel like you have to sacrifice style for function.

Create Space & Flow

Use furniture to help navigate the flow of your living room. Create space around tough corners by leaving enough room to breathe. Or use lighting fixtures to help draw people into a central point. And consider storage solutions and room dividers that help break up your space, give purpose to different areas, or offer preventative, declutter solutions.


Find Your Hook

Quite literally. There are plenty of clever ways to incorporate decorative hooks into your design. Use hooks for things like keys, coats, and bags to keep your floor space clear. This will help you create an always-on feeling of spaciousness.


Finishing Touches

The last bits of living room decorating should come the easiest to you, because they’re all about you. Your finishing touches might include things like your favorite painting, that stack of posters you’ve been carrying around for years, your mother’s old area rug, or even a book or record collection. Don’t underestimate how much design these types of pieces can contribute to your space, especially if they’re displayed well. That could take some creativity on your part, but don’t be afraid to make your personality the focal point of your living room.


Whether you’re looking for ideas for a modern living room, small living room, or open concept space—this guide can help you decide how to decorate your living room to most match your own personal style. Plus, using a few of these organizational tips or color solutions can help keep your room feeling spacious and organized.



Contributed to Your Home blog

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Published 10.07.2021

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