The difference really is, as they say, in the details, whether that's a new lipstick, a touch of truffle oil, or in this case, pillows and paint. This living room already had a lot going for it: a rough-hewn coffee table, a versatile sofa by Cisco Brothers, and a gorgeous ceramic garden stool. But apply one shopping trip's worth of accessories—all under $100—and this just-okay space turns remarkably elegant.

Paint fixes a multitude of sins, like the bad veneer that originally topped this $10 thrift-shop table. The heavy books in the built-in corner shelf were swapped for lighter white ceramic pieces, and the small pieces of artwork was taken down in favor of a more balanced salon-style collection of frames. The walls are painted with Benjamin Moore's Sea View.
In the living room of Vivia Horn’s Japanese-style retreat in Hunter, New York, the leather-and-plastic Italian sofas, cocktail table, and wool shag rug were purchased in the 1980s at Bloomingdale’s. The Japanese-style fire pit and tin range hood are custom, the floor lamp is from the '70s, the sisal carpet is by Stark, the ceiling beams are Douglas fir, and a series of color lithographs from Japan are displayed along the pine wainscoting.
This next room illustrates why decorating a small living room is tricky. When you want to make a room stand out but are unsure how to do so, you may think of adding some visual interest pieces like pictures or pottery. In a small space like this one, however, there is a very fine line between making your space look lived-in and making your space look messy. This room walks that line spectacularly with an array of shapes, sizes and colors that make it look like someone lives here already. Make sure each piece has a purpose and a function.
For most of us, the living room is the most versatile area of the home. It is where we congregate and bond with family, converse and entertain friends, enjoy recreational activities like playing, listening or watching, or spend some quality alone time while reading a book, drinking a cup of coffee or even eating. Basically, living rooms transform themselves into anything we need them to be.
This Ibiza living room features local-limestone floors covered in custom Spanish esparto rugs from Antonia Molina. Walls covered in a sandy lime plaster, and a wood-beam ceiling set a rustic tone in the living room. Custom sofas by Atelier Tapissier Seigneur and curtains in a quilted Braquenié fabric; the Oeil cocktail table by Pierre Chapo is vintage, the lacquered-coral sculpture is by Maurizio Epifani, and the painting over the mantel is by Alex Katz.
Adding warmth and creating an inviting atmosphere can be a challenge for square living rooms. When all of your furniture is pushed up against the wall, which leaves seating far away from each other, you can make the space feel cold. But you can also make your square living room feel crowded or awkward if all the furniture is forced into one corner. Instead, float furniture away from the walls.
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