A living room is many things all at once: a place to receive guests, a place to gather with family, and sometimes even a place to eat dinner as you catch up on your shows. We don't judge. For those reasons (and many others), decorating a living room can be a real challenge. Do you make it formal and perfect for entertaining? Or do you make it casual, kid-friendly, and covered in easy-to-clean fabrics? Should you go for a timeless traditional style or make it more modern and trend-forward? We think you can have it both ways, and these designers can prove it.
"When selecting living room furniture, I always look for comfortable seating, functional yet stylish accent tables, high performance fabrics and multi-level lighting," Jennifer Backstein of Jennifer Backstein Interiors tells MyDomaine. See? Best of both worlds.
From eclectic and casual living areas to rooms fit for entertaining and relaxing, these gorgeous designer spaces make a great case for redecorating your living room, like today.
Keep scrolling for our favorite living room ideas straight from the pros.
Embrace Your Architecture
When decorating your living room, be sure to consider the architectural features you want to highlight. This living room, designed by Leah Alexander of Beauty is Abundant, makes the most of large windows and a stunning fireplace.
"Featuring pillows and a faux fur throw from West Elm, situated in front of a sleek fireplace clad on all sides in modern large-format black tile, this living room has just enough furniture to entertain or for family movie night but is open and airy enough to enjoy the light filtering in," Alexander explains.
Bring in Natural Elements
This coastal living room designed by Desiree Burns of D Burns Interiors brings in elements of the outdoors with a rattan chair, oversized plant, and deep green sofa.
"The theme for this room was "not your average beach house,"' Burns says. "I wanted it to have somewhat of a coastal vibe without that being too in your face. I love the playful colors and textures throughout the room."
Choose Smart Lighting
This light and bright living room, also designed by Desiree Burns of D Burns Interiors, makes use of a statement pendant in the center of the room. The chandelier adds great light and interest to the ceiling.
"I love how the brass chandelier plays up the modern and the leather and wood chairs ground the room," Burns says.
Rethink Window Treatments
When you've been given the gift of gorgeous windows, sometimes it makes sense to leave them untouched by window treatments.
"When designing the living room, I wanted to create a space that felt open, light, and fresh," Victoria Bell of Victoria Bell Design explains. "The combination of the vaulted ceilings, beams, and oversized sectional is the perfect recipe for a relaxed Sunday with the family."
Double Down on Pattern
We present this living room as a perfect example of maximalism. The motto? More is more. With a fun mix of color, pattern, and texture from the floor to the ceiling, this room is unforgettable.
"We wanted to create a space that really captured the client’s personality," designers Dekay & Tate say. "This space is very expressive, vibrant, creative and nods to a fun, mid-century, groovy style."
Try a Casual Vibe
Not all living rooms have to be formal. If you want a more relaxed vibe, go for soft texture, plenty of pillows and throws, and lots of personal touches.
"I was inspired to create a casual yet sophisticated living space for a family of seven," designer Ruqiya Imtiaz of Studio RIU says. "This living space is designed as a great room in the center of the home; I wanted it to be a meeting and gathering space for the whole family. A beautiful, casual, and comfortable place for the family to hang out, relax, and make endless memories."
Add a Window Seat
In need of a cozy spot to read a book? Us too. Take a cue from Mani Tagba of Afro Bohemian Living and add a window seat to your space. Layer in plenty of pillows and bring in lighting for a spot you'll never tire of.
Blend the Indoors with the Outdoors
If you're a proud plant parent, this one's for you. By bringing in outdoor elements like raw wood and a few ferns, as Mani Tagba of Afro Bohemian Living did here, you're able to create a seamless integration with your outdoor spaces.
Rustic homes are having a major moment. To keep the room from looking too Little House on the Prairie, bring in some softer elements for some contrast.
"I wanted to balance the rugged quality of all the wood in this post and beam home with a good dose of feminine energy," Christina Kim of Christina Kim Interior Design explains. "We brought in a soft down-filled sectional, pretty blush fabrics, soft drapery and a pair of ladylike lamps to create that great juxtaposition."
When in doubt, add texture. This living room is proof that a mix of textures is key to a one-of-a-kind space.
"We layered pretty whites and chalky taupes to create a soft, airy living room in this coastal home," Christina Kim of Christina Kim Interior Design says. "We added soft blue velvet and lots of texture to create this relaxed vibe, natural but polished."
Focus on Comfort
Remember that a living room should feel like people actually live there, even if you're going for a more formal look.
"I wanted more than anything for this room to be comfortable and approachable,"Christina Kim of Christina Kim Interior Design explains. "We installed smooth beams on the ceilings and tied in the same wood tones on the frame of the chair, mantel top, even the frame of the art to carry the warmth through the room."
Blend Warm and Cool Tones
Though it seems like this is a mostly white living room, there's more to it than meets the eye. Jennifer Backstein of Jennifer Backstein Interiors mixed warm and cool tones throughout the room to a very comfy result.
"For this living room design, we paired warm and cool neutrals with pale pastel tones to create a clean, calming and cozy space," Backstein explains.
Consider Your Lifestyle
If you have young children or pets, consider high-performance fabrics. If you love to entertain, think about including a bar cart or extra seating in the layout. In this loft apartment from Studio Yaqui in collaboration with JP Design Inc, the client was a young professional who wanted a fun living room update.
Bring in Soft Elements
We're completely obsessed with this pink couch and overall living room setup from House of Harvee. By adding these soft and sweet elements like the floor pillows and fresh blooms, House of Harvee was able to create a welcoming and soothing space that feels like a warm hug.
Meld Design Styles
You have multiple facets to your personality, so why wouldn't you also have multiple tastes in design? Mix and match your favorites to create a space that's uniquely you.
"My client defined her style as 'midcentury modern's older sister'—a little midcentury, but a little classic," Cathie Hong of Cathie Hong Interiors says. "This living room epitomizes this style with its neutral tones, clean lines and geometric whimsy."
Get Rid of Clutter
Sometimes less is more. Donate anything that isn't sparking joy, so you can focus on the things that do.
"This living room is bright, clean and graphic," Cathie Hong of Cathie Hong Interiors says. "My client has four little kids, so she wanted a cozy but uncluttered space for her family to gather and spend time together."
In this inviting living room, Hong focused on creating a livable space that still brings in plenty of interest by making a point to include contrast.
"This cozy spot is nestled among trees in the Pacific Northwest," Cathie Hong of Cathie Hong Interiors explains. "We really embraced the existing warm gray walls and wood trim and layered in soft blush tones, creams, and some black for contrast."
Let There Be Light
Where there isn't light, create some!
"When we were designing this space, we knew we needed more light so adding a large skylight was our first priority," the team behind Arbor & Co. says. "It opened up the room so much and added sunshine that was really needed."
Bring in a Mirror
Mirrors reflect light and have a tendency to make a room feel larger, two major reasons why we love them.
"My go-to-move is using a large circular mirror anywhere I can put one!" Sarah from Arbor & Co. says. "Most of the time I love to place them above the fireplaces when I style a living room."
Make it Cozy
Dark walls, plenty of wood accents, and some hanging plants are a recipe for a cozy room — just ask Arbor & Co.
"This particular space we wanted to keep moody and cozy so we decided to leave the natural stone on the fireplace," Sarah explains. "Since the room was an interesting shape with the stairway, we made the stairway wall into a built in book shelf which turned out super rad."
Black and white is a color combination that will never go out of style.
"I fell in love with these black windows," Sarah from Arbor & Co. explain. "Styling this home was fun because it had just been remodeled. It's a craftsman home with all modern fixtures. I used a lot of black and white to make the windows pop even more."
Highlight the Best Features
Play up what you love about your living room, like the gorgeous oversized fireplace seen here. The statement pendant on the ceiling helps complement the feature as do the two woven chairs flanking either side.
"I love that there's no mantel on this one," Sarah from Arbor & Co. explains. "It just doesn't need one here. Another aspect I love is the large ceiling pendant that draws your eyes up."
On the other side of the same room by Arbor & Co., the team kept things simple to keep the focus on the fireplace. But simple doesn't mean boring—take a look at the layered rugs.
"This one was a funky layout which was a fun challenge for me, but I pulled it all together by overlapping the rugs," Sarah explains. "I added a cluster of art over the couch for some modern flairs."
What works in one living room might not work in another; it all comes down to proportions. A wide space like this benefits from larger furniture and oversized accent chairs.
"I simply love how big, wide, and bright this space is," Sarah from Arbor & Co. says. "It's good to add some texture to a huge all-white room, so that was the goal here. Large pieces of furniture and a large cozy rug!"
Don't Forget the Walls
The addition of simple draperies and a textured macrame wall hanging help bring a contemporary touch to a Craftsman home.
"Portland is filled with many older homes and being able to style them with a modern touch is my favorite," Sarah from Arbor & Co. says. "The windows in these homes are always so beautiful. I love seeing what people keep from the original houses like pendants and old brick fireplaces."
Carve Out Space
In this living room designed by Arbor & Co., the team made use of a small area by the entryway to create a living area, proving that you don't need a ton of space or a formal foyer to have a nice space to relax or entertain.
When carving out a living area, especially in an open-concept layout, be sure to use rugs to define the space from the rest of the home.
Add Some DIYs
When in doubt, DIY it.
"I built the side shelves and made texture art above the fireplace mantel to bring warmth to what was bare," Amanda of design blog Dwellaware explains. "We didn’t have enough lighting in the room, so I bought these brass plug in sconces with long white cords to add function and beautiful form. I also enjoy using a lot of live plants in this room to give life and refreshment to the space."
Make Neutrals Interesting
A neutral color scheme will never go out of style but it can be hard to keep it interesting. Follow Bespoke Only's lead and look for furniture in neutral shades but stunning shapes. Our favorite feature of this room has to be the deep green ceiling tile — another gorgeous take on a simple color scheme.
Go for a Statement Sofa
You'll be spending a lot of time in the living room, so you might as well like the furniture. Stephanie Watkins of Casa Watkins Living chose a stunning green velvet sectional to anchor her space. Consider high-performance fabrics if your living room will be frequented by pets, kids, or lots of guests.
Mix and Match Patterns
Take a cue from Atlanta design duo Forbes Masters the next time you're thinking of mixing patterns. The team blended small motifs like herringbone with a more organic watercolor print of the rug with a larger mudcloth pattern on the pillow. A perfect combination.
Embrace Traditional Details
Features like wainscoting should be highlighted, like designer Gail Davis of Gail Davis Designs did here. The warm blue color mixed with traditional wallpaper creates a nice juxtaposition of old meets new.
Curate Your Shelves
If you're lucky enough to have built-ins (or even just a bookcase), be sure to style them wisely. A mix of textures, shapes, and colors, as seen in this design by Karen Emile of Milk & Honey Life, is a smart way to go. Leave some empty space so they don't seem cluttered.
Create a Reading Nook
No window seat, no problem. Designer Emily Henderson paired a leather chair with a magazine rack that doubles as a side table, and added a cozy throw and accent pillow. Chair + Table + Blankets = the perfect recipe for a reading nook.
Go Dark and Moody
Light colors in small rooms can make the space feel larger, but dark colors can make them feel incredibly cozy. Velinda Hellen chose a moody black paint for this TV room, even covering the trim, to create a space perfect for settling in.
Or Choose Earthy Shades
On the opposite end of the spectrum, this light and bright living room from Light & Dwell evokes a sunny farmhouse vibe. As the home is in the Pacific Northwest, designer Molly Kidd brought in earthy greens to mimic the natural surroundings.
Symmetry always works. Designer Molly Kidd of Light & Dwell chose matching built-ins to flank the fireplace, adding two leather ottomans in front, and matching gray chairs on either side.
Go (Nearly) Monochrome
If you have a favorite color, why not go all out? Danielle Nagel of Dazey Den took a soft pink and made it her muse for this living area. A deep teal chair is one of the only other shades in the space.
Play With Primary Colors
If you're in need of inspiration, turn to the color wheel. Katie Martinez of Katie Martinez Design studied her color theory, mixing yellow with its fellow primary color, blue. The rest of the space is kept fairly neutral to highlight the bold color choice.
When choosing furniture, always consider the shape of each piece. Katie Hodges of Katie Hodges Design mixed shapes and visual weight to give interest to a neutral living room. A soft, rounded chair mixed with a spiral-leg coffee table, and an airy woven chair give an eclectic but chic vibe to the space.
Stick to a Color Scheme
When designing a living room, don't be afraid of color. The team at Studio Peake chose a faded red, bright blue, and white color scheme for this cozy and traditional living area.
Add Sculptural Elements
This living room by Yael Weiss Interiors is worthy of a museum. The designer played with striking pieces, evoking high art and sculpture. We can't get over the coffee table.
If you're thinking of going monochrome, but you're not sure you want to commit to one shade, try a tone-on-tone look. In this living room designed by Whittney Parkinson Design, various shades of cream and taupe are blended for a calming and inviting look.
Mix Old and New
Vintage and current trends make for an eclectic space. Designer Tyler Karu blended an old-fashioned painting with more updated accessories like this peace sign gold sculpture for a one-of-a-kind living room.
Commit to a Shade
Sarah Fultz of Sarah Fultz Interiors isn't afraid of a bold color choice. She covered the brick fireplace, walls, and ceiling of this living room in a deep hunter green shade, keeping the floors and furniture light.
Warm Up White Walls
White walls are never going out of style, but sometimes they can feel a little sterile. Sarah Fultz of Sarah Fultz Interiors avoided that problem, by adding warm-toned art to the walls and plenty of cozy furnishings.
Consider the Visual Weight of the Room
Too much heavy furniture and your room just won't work. A mix of both heavy and light furniture (in terms of visual weight) is the way to go, as seen here in this living room designed by Pure Salt Interiors.