The most-well designed living rooms make the task of redecorating look easy. Isn't it funny how the furniture pieces are always perfectly balanced in the space, seemingly to frame the perfect spot to gather? Art pieces and paint colors intertwine on the walls to make the room feel either airier or cozier. Then, the accompanying details—the stacks of books on shelves, the different lighting features, and even the plant in the corner—all contribute to a swoon-worthy aesthetic. When people see such a living room in person, they automatically feel at home.
However, if you lack the design vision to create that exact reaction for your guests, the best thing to do is to look for inspiration.
We gathered five living rooms that we wouldn't mind emulating, thanks to their comfortable appearance, pops of color, curated style, and modern sophistication. Depending on your design preferences, you can use these images as a guide to create the living room for you—we even got you started by including similar pieces you can buy now, too.
Hopefully, you'll soon give off the idea that designing a living room is a cinch.
For Those Who Like: Pops of Color
Architect Elizabeth Roberts designed this living room inside a Cobble Hill, Brooklyn townhouse, and it's an exercise in how one simple pop of color can elevate a space. Most of the room makes use of rich copper shades offset by creamy white walls and an ornate fireplace. These muted tones allow for that bold blue frame to shine—and its details also complement those on the mantel. If this image captures your imagination, start with a copper sofa, and then spray paint a picture frame in this matte blue shade.
For Those Who Like: Effortless Order
Living rooms with plenty of natural light shouldn't let such a luxury go to waste, and this one demonstrates how to match that light with an airy, yet orderly, composition. Mel Burstin from Emily Henderson Design used natural woods, pastels, and woven accents to create an effortlessly laid-back look, and all of those elements look even more welcoming in the sun. To recreate this living room, pay special attention to the impeccably styled bookcases.
For Those Who Like: Colorful Wallpaper
If wallpapering your entire living room sounds like an undertaking you're not quite ready for, this is the inspiration you've been waiting for. If you like the idea of pasting on a pattern like in this space (another option from Emily Henderson), an option is to use a print to highlight a particular area in the room. Maybe that's a reading nook, or perhaps it's one accent wall, or it could be the backs of a built-in bookcase. Wherever you choose to add a pattern, make sure that it complements the rest of your design.
For Those Who Like: Traditional Touches
There are a few design lovers who shrug at the thought of modern, open-concept properties and prefer the more traditional layout of defined rooms instead. If you prefer the latter, feel out this living room from Katie Martinez Design. The Nantucket property keeps its classic aesthetic with built-in bookshelves, an exposed-beam ceiling, and wood floors—all of which intertwine in a muted palette. We especially like the pair of rattan chairs in the foreground, which supplies some rounded edges and texture to the otherwise clean-lined space.
Better yet? These two pieces will never go out of style.
For Those Who Like: Ultra-Modern
On the flip side, if you're a staunch modernist, there's no shame in embracing that look, either. This living room from designer Catherine Kwong has everything the perfect modernist space should have: smooth surfaces, clean lines, and minimal details. The best part of this space is its side-chair-and-table pairing, which links luxurious velvet with a more rugged wood. The contrast makes the pairing intriguing, without distracting from the rest of the aesthetic. Play with textures and colors in your ultra-modern living room to achieve the same effect.