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40 Simple Living Room Design Ideas To Instantly Transform Your Space

emily henderson rustic living room

Design: Emily Henderson Design, Photo: Sara Ligorria-Tramp

The living room is arguably one of the most important spaces in your home. It's where your family gathers at night, you wind down on a Saturday afternoon, and where your guests first rest their eyes when entering your home. It's natural to make this space look and feel its absolute best. But while living room design is always an exciting process, it can also turn into a serious money pit (and quickly) if you don't prioritize and maximize what you already have. 

If your living room is feeling a little uninspiring or stale but doesn't necessarily warrant a full redesign, there are plenty of easy ways to transform your space without spending too much time or money—and it can be as simple as moving some furniture around or adding a rug.

Below, read on to discover our favorite ideas to design a living room.

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Change Your Layout

Living room features neutral furniture and sculptural décor

Design: Jeremiah Brent 

Sometimes, all you need to refresh your living room is to switch up its layout. Is your furniture pushed against the walls? Try floating it in the middle of the room. Is there too much space between your seating arrangement? Consider dividing the room into multiple zones, like interior designers Jeremiah Brent and Nate Berkus did in their L.A. living room above. 

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Adorn Your Coffee Table

Living room features a styled coffee table full of books and other objects

Design: Jeremiah Brent

Is your living room design almost done, but lacking a finishing touch? Adorn your coffee table with books, vases, décor, and flowers to give it that Pinterest-worthy look. Play around with scale (varying tall and short objects works well). It's also helpful to group similar objects together, swap out seasonal décor, or mix up the textures of your decorative objects to refresh your coffee table.

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Change Up the View

Living room features long citron-colored couch facing the windows

Design: Elizabeth Roberts

The classic layout in a living room is to position the sofa to face the TV, but what if it were to face the window or another sofa instead? (We know, this usually works if you keep your TV in a different room, or are looking to nix it altogether.) Consider how you use your space the most, and arrange your sofa in a way that makes the most sense for your household. Your TV can even be encased in a console with stylish doors that stay closed when it's not in use.

Think about the focal point: Choose one item or statement wall to draw the eye to, then begin designing your space around it.

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Re-Hang Your Curtains

Living room features floor to ceiling curtains

Design: Tali Roth

Are your curtains hung just below the ceiling and wide beyond the edge of your windows? If not, consider taking them down and re-hanging them. Placing your curtains as high and wide as possible will make your windows appear larger and allow more natural light to enter the room—making it look instantly more expensive. You might also style them in a different way. For example, if you typically push curtains aside during the day, consider tying them back or picking up a few curtain hooks to secure them.

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Add an Antique

Living room mixes modern and vintage décor

Design: Charlie Ferrer

Sometimes, you just need one antique to give a modern living room a little character. Whether you find a collector's piece on 1stDibs or Chairish or scour your local vintage store for something unique, décor with a little age and patina will make your space feel more collected and elegant. Mixing different style genres is also a great way to personalize your living room, and avoid feeling like you're living in a staged home.

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Use Color Repetition

Living room with repeating elements like a tan leather couch and similarly colored console

Design: Stefani Stein

When it comes to décor, there's a lot of power in repetition. This goes for colors, but also for shapes: If you have one or two dominant colors in your living room, try repeating them in various items throughout the space. For instance, in the living room above by interior designer Stefanie Stein, the tan leather of the sofa and the teal blue of the pillows are repeated in other accessories like lamps and benches.

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Try a Minimalist Approach

simple living room ideas

Design: Liljencrantz Design

To redecorate with items you already have, consider taking a minimalist approach to your living room's design. Once you've decluttered and rid the space of unnecessary pieces, remove things like plants, art, lamps, and décor. Slowly reintroduce items until you find the right fit—you'll often find that adopting a less-is-more mindset can make the room feel open and refreshed.

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Add Fresh Greenery

Living room with gallery wall and a large fiddle leaf fig plant

Photo: Julia Robbs

A little greenery will always make a room feel more put together. Whether you only have the space (or the green thumb) for a small faux houseplant, or you can invest the time and energy into species like a fiddle-leaf fig, adding a plant or two can give your living room that finishing touch. It's also helpful to follow feng shui design principles by choosing and styling a plant that promotes both balance and good fortune.

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Shop Your Own Home

living room design ideas

Design: Alvin Wayne

The best pieces to make your living room feel brand-new again might already be inside your home. For a simple (and free) option to redesign the space, switch out your favorite décor from the bedroom or dining area with your current living room setup. Bonus: Your best living room pieces might even upgrade the other rooms in your home, and all it takes is a few hours of creatively rearranging.

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Layer Your Rugs

Living room features layered rugs

Design: Amber Interiors

Is your rug too small for your space? Add a larger, affordable natural weave rug underneath it to anchor your living room. On the flip side, if you already have a large neutral rug that feels uninspiring, try layering an antique Turkish rug on top for a pop of character. Choose an option that features a few of your room's accent colors for an intentional, cohesive look.

Interior designers typically advise no smaller than an 8-by-10-foot rug in smaller spaces, and a 9-by-12-foot rug in larger living rooms.

11 of 40

Reorganize Your Bookcases

Neatly decorated bookcases in a living room

Design: Studio LifeStyle

Do you have bookcases in your living room? Take everything out and reorganize them. Remove any items you don't absolutely love or serve no purpose, and reintroduce items one by one: Start with stacks of books and art, then finish up with smaller accessories like vases and decorative accents. And don't forget to leave white space for the eye to pause.

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Add Floor Pillows

Living room with two floor cushions and low-slung white couches

Design: Space Exploration 

A couple of floor pillows can go a long way in making a space feel laid-back and layered. If you feel like your living room needs just a little more texture, try Karaman floor pillows or consider an ottoman or stylish pouf in varying prints. Many vintage décor stores are a great source for finding floor pillows with a weathered, unique look that can add personality to your space.

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Transform With Wallpaper

Printed wallpaper and colorful throw pillows in a living room

Design: Katherine Carter

Wallpaper is back in style, and for good reason. With so many options, finding an ideal print for your home is a quick search away. When styling wallpaper, remember that every wall doesn't need to be covered: Choose one accent wall to stand out, and opt for removable peel-and-stick brands if you're not ready to commit (or when decorating a rental).

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Choose Statement Lighting

Flush mount statement lighting in living room

Design: Studio DB 

Lighting transforms a room in more ways than just brightening it up. Create a focal point for your living room with an eye-catching flush mount chandelier, which is great for low ceilings, or try a stylish pendant light in large spaces. Your guests' eyes will light up the second they walk into your room, and they'll appreciate the new look.

15 of 40

Select Contrasting Patterns

Chevron wood floors layered with patterned black and white rug in living room

Design: Fantastic Frank

Mix-matched styles are here to stay, and they're especially helpful when it comes to textiles. Add visual intrigue and avoid a staged look with contrasting (but complementary) patterns. The trick for mixing patterns is to focus on the color scheme rather than the print itself. Try black-and-white hues with different imagery or a simple color palette to keep things interesting, vibrant, and fun.

16 of 40

Design for Your Architecture

living room design ideas

Design: Afro Bohemian Living

While hiring a builder to create custom furniture for your living room can certainly be pricy, DIY pieces are an affordable alternative. In this design, built-in bench seating is perfectly situated along the wall to add plenty of room for entertaining without taking up much floor space. This option allows you to design for your specific architecture: Create a setup that works with your room for an effortless flow.

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Create a Gallery Wall

Gallery wall of black-framed photographs in living room

Design: Ashe + Leandro

Painting walls isn't for everyone. Maybe your lease doesn't allow it, or maybe you simply don't have the patience. Thankfully, you can fill your walls up with your favorite photographs and prints. Choose personal photos, your favorite work from local artists, or maybe even art of your own—just keep gallery wall best practices in mind.

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Repurpose Old Favorites

Repurposed vintage and existing furniture in living room

Design: Amber Interiors

A coat of paint or different textiles can make your favorite items feel brand new. Beyond painting or adding new texture to your furniture, you can also switch up the hardware of your favorite pieces. For example, find some fun side table pulls in different metals or shapes for a quick and easy refresh.

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Splurge on a Home Bar

Shelving becomes a home bar in a living room

Photo: Stoffer Photography Interiors; Design: Danielle Moss and Conor Scanlon

This built-in cupboard opens up into a home bar, yet any existing solid surface will do. From a side table to your media console—or even shopping the likes of West Elm or Room and Board—mobile bar carts and repurposed furniture can transform your space. Not only can you arrange the items in an aesthetically pleasing manner, but it also creates an icebreaker for your guests when they arrive.

20 of 40

Try an Unconventional Coffee Table

living room with minimalist aesthetic with black geometric coffee table

Design: Brophy Interiors

You can easily choose a standard circular or square coffee table to complete the look in your living space, but if you want to truly change things up, try going for an unconventional shape instead. Whether you go for an abstract wood carved option or a geometric shape like this elegant living room, it's a simple and effective way to give your space an entirely different vibe. To keep the room feeling open and airy, opt for a glass table that doesn't visually break up your layout.

21 of 40

Switch Up the Seating

Eclectic seating in a living room

Photo: Adenorah 

Group seating together to create a conversation nook, or swap out chairs from other rooms in your home to see which pieces may work better together. You may be pleasantly surprised that your outdoor furniture works well indoors, too. Patio sets made from rattan or wood can add an eclectic vibe in the living room—the great indoors never looked so good.

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Match Décor With Your Walls

living room design ideas

Design: Pure Collected Living

Minimalists can appreciate the simplicity of this living room. By opting for coffee table décor in the same bright white shade as the walls, every piece in this room feels balanced and intentional. Incorporate contrast through furniture like accent chairs, curtains, and your coffee table for a burst of texture that makes even the simplest designs feel welcoming.

23 of 40

Declutter Your Living Room

Edited living room is stylish yet clutter-free

Design: Sarah Sherman Samuel 

One of the quickest ways to update your living room is to tidy up and organize. A quick dusting and a full declutter can make any room feel fresh, and all it takes is a few hours of deep cleaning to restyle your space. Focus on the most visible places first and go from there.

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Float the Couch

Lofted living room with long couch floating in center

Design: D'Apostrophe Design

We know it's tempting to push your furniture against your walls, but this will only create dead space in the center of the room. Experiment with floating the couch in the middle of your layout, or try leaving a few inches between your wall and the sofa for a more inviting environment, as designers recommend.

25 of 40

Cozy Up With Candles

Candles on a round, white, coffee table in living room setting

Design: Sarah Sherman Samuel

Add warmth (and even some aromatherapy) with candles. Incorporate them into a vignette on a console by styling them on a coffee table with a stack of books, or add balance to your mantel with matching candles on each side. Most importantly, enjoy them—pick scents you love that help you unwind.

26 of 40

Hack an IKEA Find

IKEA dresser hack

Design: Norse Interiors 

Get personal with one of many IKEA furniture hacks, from switching out the hardware to a complete makeover. These simple design tricks are proof that you don't have to spend a fortune to redecorate. You just need patience, a creative eye, and maybe a can of fresh paint.

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Blend Textures

A living room plays with different textures, from the rippled rug to fuzzy throw pillows

Design: Jenna Peffley

From matte to glossy or soft to rigid, consider mixing various textures. This look is easy to recreate with items you already own: Toss a new throw blanket over an accent chair, or style woven accents on your sofa. Texture goes beyond furniture, as well, and can be added with different varieties of plants to accomplish the look.

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Soften With Organic Shapes

Décor in organic shapes like rounded puffs and side tables soften a boxy living room

Design: Katie Martinez

Many designers are fond of using shapes to soften up harsh lines. Opt for rounded side tables made from organic materials to incorporate an element of flow in your space. Given that this is your main living area, it's essential to style an inviting room that makes it comfortable to socialize and unwind.

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Stick to Your Palette

living room design ideas

Design: Brexton Cole Interiors

Give your living room a cohesive look by choosing a few colors within a specific family and sticking to it. Once you've picked your new palette, remove any items from the room that don't suit the design. In this space, a vibrant orange sofa doesn't feel out of place thanks to warm wood tones in the furniture and brass décor.

30 of 40

Light Up Artwork

Picture light above a framed artwork in living room

Photo: Stoffer Photography Interiors; Design: Danielle Moss and Conor Scanlon 

Show off the artwork in your living room with upgraded lighting. Picture lights illuminate exactly what you want to highlight, and are a great option for renters. Try online shops for affordable options, or shop your local boutiques to find a unique piece that stands out.

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Create Vignettes

A vignette of objects and framed art atop a West Elm marble console

Photo: Sean Litchfield; Design: Jeremiah Brent for Decorist

Transform your space by combining objects, greenery, and other accessories at different heights for a vignette that will refresh the living room's character. Decorist Creative Director Jessica McCarthy also notes to stay away from even numbers in vignettes: "The brain is comforted in finding the center point of objects, and the rule of three makes this so easy to achieve. Styling with odd numbers is guaranteed to create success," she says.

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Consider Corner Shelves

Corner shelves flank a burnt orange couch in a living room

Photo: Madeline Tolle 

Make a room feel more spacious and create additional storage for your living room with corner shelves. While they add a functional element, they're also an excellent way to display your favorite things and add your personal touch. Opt for small items that complement your shelving's height to create balance.

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Save on Prints

A large-scale print of a sandy beach scene hangs on wall

Photo: Sharyn Cairns; Design: Fiona Lynch

According to New York-based designer Sasha Bikoff, you don't need to buy "the most famous work of art from well-known artists" for your space, "as you are mostly paying for the name or the signature at the bottom of the work." Instead, head to online print shops for a more affordable way to outfit your home with art, including works by up-and-coming artists.

34 of 40

Refresh With Throw Pillows

Throw pillows of different sizes and prints on a day bench set against a white wall

Photo: Tessa Neustadt

Throw pillows are a simple way to combine a plethora of design advice. From mixing textures to introducing pops of color, they can give your living room an instant update. Also, consider arranging different sizes of pillows together for a cozy, eclectic look.

35 of 40

Expand With a Floor Length Mirror

elegant apartment living room with marble coffee table, golden floor length mirror on the wall

Design: Abitare Studios

Statement mirrors open up even the smallest space. Expand your own square footage with a floor-length mirror, which reflects the room for an easy visual trick. Opt for simple white frames, or style an eclectic space with an ornate gold frame.

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Include a Colorful Couch or Sectional

living room with a green colorful sectional

Design: Casa Watkins Living

Since your sofa takes up the most space in your living room, why not go bold with the color? Whether it's a beautiful blue or a gracious green, let the color of your sofa guide the rest of your decorative decisions. Vibrant designs are especially great options for rooms painted in neutral colors.

37 of 40

Dress Up Your Fireplace

living room with a fireplace covered in floral wallpaper, two black shelves on either side

Design: LA Designer Affair

Fireplaces are classic, but they don't have to be dated. Make your fireplace more contemporary by dressing it up with wallpaper. Not ready to commit to one print? Opt for wall paint that can easily be redone at any time (like bold matte black for a modern twist), or try a peel-and-stick pattern for a pop of character.

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Install a Faux Fireplace

white living room with faux fireplace with wood stacked inside

Photo: Amy Bartlam

If you don't have a fireplace to work with, may we recommend installing your own? Gas line not required: Simply fill in a faux fireplace with logs, candles, vases, or other dećor that works with your design. This quick design tip is simple, stylish, and impactful.

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Hang Floating Shelves

living room with white brick fireplace, floating wooden shelves installed in nooks on either side

Design: Ashley Montgomery Design

Floating shelves are a seamless way to decorate. Since this type of shelving doesn't have visible hardware to coordinate with the rest of your space, you only have to focus on the base material and the decorative elements that sit on each one. You can be as minimal or as maximalist as you prefer—it's up to you.

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Style a Curtain Wall

living room design ideas

Design: House of Harvee

We love the use of sheer curtains in this living room that bring a simple white wall back to life. If you're not a fan of large wall art but want to introduce texture in your space, style a curtain wall from floor to ceiling. This design tip works great on bare walls, but it's also great for letting natural light in through sliding doors.

Originally written by
Gabrielle Savoie
Gabrielle Savoie is the founder of décor site Savvy Home, a finalist for prestigious style and design awards. She is an expert in interior design and home décor and has been a writer and editor for various high-profile publications in the industry for almost 10 years.