29 Simple Living Room Ideas That Will Instantly Transform Your Space

Updated 09/17/19

Courtesy of Jeremiah Brent 

The living room is arguably one of the most important spaces in your home. It's probably where your family gathers at night, where you wind down on a Saturday afternoon, and where your guests first rest their eyes when entering your home. It's only natural to want your living room to look and feel its absolute best. But while re-decorating a room 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 and stale, but doesn't necessarily warrant a full redesign, there are tons of easy ways to transform your space without spending a ton of time or money—and it can be as simple as moving some furniture around or adding a rug.

Want to give your space an instant makeover? Here are 29 simple living room ideas that are basically free.

01 of 29

Change Your Layout

Living room features neutral furniture and sculptural décor

Courtesy of Jeremiah Brent 

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

At the very least, think about decluttering your space, which will open up the room and make it feel refreshed. Another idea? Shop your own home by removing and replacing certain items (like plants, art, a table lamp) from other rooms to see how they might fit in your living room.

white couch
CB2 Piazza Snow Apartment Sofa $1,199
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02 of 29

Rearrange Your Coffee Table

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

 Courtesy of Jeremiah Brent

Is your living room décor basically done, but lacking a finishing touch? Arrange your coffee table with books, vases, objects, and flowers to give it that magazine-worthy look.

Play around with scale (varying large-scale and smaller objects work well), group like objects together, swap out seasonal décor, or mix up the height of your decorative objects to refresh your coffee table.

los angeles book
Taschen Los Angeles. Portrait of a City $70
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Change Up the View

Living room features long citron-colored couch facing the windows

Courtesy of 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 only works if you keep your TV in a different room, or are looking to nix it altogether.)

Consider where and what you want the focal point to be in your living room, and design your space around that.

Consider how you use your space the most and arrange your sofa in a way that makes the most sense for you.

green sofa
West Elm Shelter Sofa in Wasabi $1,699 $1,359
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04 of 29

Re-Hang Your Curtains

Living room features floor to ceiling curtains

Courtesy of 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. Or, consider styling them 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.

white curtains
Pottery Barn Emery Linen Drape $129-$339 $103-$322
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05 of 29

Add an Antique

Living room mixes modern and vintage décor

Courtesy of Charlie Ferrer

Sometimes, you just need one antique to give your brand new space a little character. Whether you find a collector's piece on 1stDibs or Chairish, or scour your local vintage store for something unique, a piece 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.

dining table
Rove Concepts Winston Dining Table $1,895 $1,416
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06 of 29

Layer Your Rugs

Living room features layered rugs

 Courtesy of Amber Interiors

Is your rug too small for your space? Add a larger, inexpensive natural weave rug underneath to anchor your living room. Do you already have a larger, neutral rug that's uninspiring? Layer a smaller antique Turkish rug on top to give your room character. 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.

vintage rug
Jayson Home Vintage Oushak Rug $1,795
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07 of 29

Use Color Repetition

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

Courtesy of Stefanie Stein

When it comes to décor, there is a lot of power in repetition. This goes for colors, but also shapes. If you have one or two dominant colors in your living room, try repeating them in various items throughout the room. 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 throughout in other accessories like lamps and benches.

decorative pillows
Jayson Home Kilim Pillows $175-$375
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08 of 29

Add Some Greenery

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

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 low-maintenance succulent, or if you'd rather invest time and energy into a larger fiddle-leaf fig tree, consider adding a plant or two in your living room to give it that finishing touch. You could also follow feng shui design principles and choose, as well as position, a plant for your home that promotes both balance and good fortune. On the other hand, there's nothing wrong with opting for fake houseplants; often, they look like the real thing, and require less upkeep.

Fiddle leaf fig in black matte pot
Greenery Unlimited Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree $340
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09 of 29

Reorganize Your Bookcases

Neatly decorated bookcases in a living room

 Courtesy of Studio LifeStyle

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

Black vase by West Elm
West Elm Pure Black Ceramic Vase, Carafe $39
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10 of 29

Add Floor Pillows

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

Courtesy of 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 Moroccan kilim floor pillows. Or, consider these ottomans and poufs in varying prints.

Kilim floor pillow in brown
Jayson Home Moroccan Kilim Floor Cushion $495
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11 of 29

Transform With Wallpaper

Printed wallpaper and colorful throw pillows in a living room

 Katherine Carter

Pick an accent wall or wrap the entire space to transform your living room. Removable wallpaper means décor options for rentals, as well as options for those unwilling to commit to a single style.

12 of 29

Choose Statement Lighting

Flush mount statement lighting in living room

Courtesy of Studio DB 

Create a focal point for your living room with an eye-catching flush mount chandelier (great for low ceilings) or pendant light.

13 of 29

Select Contrasting Patterns

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

Fantastic Frank

Add visual intrigue and avoid a staged look with contrasting yet complimentary patterns.

14 of 29

Create a Gallery Wall

Gallery wall of black-framed photographs in living room

Ashe + Leandro

Not interested in painting your walls? Fill them up with your favorite photographs and prints.

15 of 29

Repurpose Old Favorites

Repurposed vintage and existing furniture in living room

Courtesy of Amber Interior Design

A coat of paint or different textiles can make your favorite items feel brand new.

16 of 29

Splurge on a Home Bar

Shelving becomes a home bar in a living room

 Stoffer Photography Interiors; DESIGN: Danielle Moss and Conor Scanlon

This cupboard opens up into a home bar, yet any existing solid surface will do; from a side table to your media console, or shop the likes of West Elm or Room and Board for mobile bar carts to bar cabinets.

17 of 29

Scale Your Space

An armless, dusty pink loveseat positioned in living room
Cost Plus World Market

A settee instead of a sofa might work better in a smaller space. Similarly, stacked nesting tables may offer a space more flow than a bulky coffee table.

18 of 29

Switch Up the Seating

Eclectic seating in a living room

Adenorah 

Group seating together to create a conversation nook, or shop your own home to see what easy swaps you can make. You may be pleasantly surprised that your outdoor furniture works well indoors, too.

19 of 29

Go Minimalist

Edited living room is stylish yet clutter-free

Sarah Sherman Samuel 

One of the quickest ways to update your living room is to tidy up and organize.

20 of 29

Float the Couch

Lofted living room with long couch floating in center

 

COURTESY OF D'APOSTROPHE DESIGN

One designer told MyDomaine, "It can be tempting to push all furniture up against the wall, but this can create dead space in the center of the room." That said, experiment with floating the couch in the middle of the room, or at least try leaving a few inches between your wall and the sofa for a more inviting environment, designers say.

21 of 29

Cozy Up With Candles

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

Sarah Sherman Samuel

Add warmth (and even some aromatherapy) with candles. Incorporate them into a vignette on a console, style them on a coffee table with a stack of books, for example.

22 of 29

Hack an IKEA Find

IKEA dresser hack

Courtesy of Norse Interiors 

Get personal with one of many IKEA furniture hacks, from switching out the hardware to a complete makeover.

23 of 29

Blend Textures

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

 Jenna Peffley for MyDomaine

From matte, to glossy, soft and woven, consider a mix of textures that you can create with everything from your picture frames, an accent chair, to the plants you hang or place in your living room.

24 of 29

Soften With Organic Shapes

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

 Katie Martinez

Designers say styling a room with organic materials and shapes like rounded side tables help soften the lines of a space and incorporate more flow.

25 of 29

Light Up Artwork

Picture light above a framed artwork in living room

Stoffer Photography Interiors; DESIGN: Danielle Moss and Conor Scanlon 

Show off the artwork in your living room with proper lighting. Picture lighting illuminates exactly what you want highlighted, and is a great option for renters.

26 of 29

Create Vignettes

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

Sean Litchfield; DESIGN: Jeremiah Brent for Decorist

Transform a room by combining objects, greenery, and other accessories at different heights for a vignette that will refresh the character of your living room. Decorist Creative Director Jessica McCarthy previously told MyDomaine to remember the "rule of three." "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," McCarthy said.

27 of 29

Consider Corner Shelves

Corner shelves flank a burnt orange couch in a living room

Madeline Tolle 

Make a room feel more spacious and create additional storage for your living room with corner shelves.

28 of 29

Save on Prints

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

 Sharyn Cairns; DESIGN: Fiona Lynch

New York–based designer Sasha Bikoff once told MyDomaine that you don't need to buy "the most famous work of art from well-known artists as you are mostly paying for the name or the signature at the bottom of the work." Instead, head to online print shops like TappanTwyla1stdibs, and Poster Child Prints for a more affordable way to outfit your home with art, including works by under-the-radar artists.

29 of 29

Refresh With Throw Pillows

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

 Tessa Nuestadt

Throw pillows are a simple way to combine a plethora of design advice, from mixing textures, to introducing pops of color... they give a living room an instant update.

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