Your own home may not have a living room that’s quite so versatile—it’s a sad truth that the smaller (or more oddly shaped) a room is, the fewer ways it can work as a space. My own L-shaped living/dining area only really works one way, due to short walls, radiators and an entire wall of windows. So think of these specific layouts as tailored to this space, but take inspiration on how you can re-think your own home in a multitude of ways.
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.
Living room expansions require evaluation of the existing site conditions of the space, particularly the structural elements in the room such as the columns, beams and interior partitions. Be prepared to find other problems as you go like the possibility of termites, mold problems or asbestos. In some cases, there are also load bearing walls that will need additional work for support. Existing outlets, ventilation systems, plumbing and electricity may also need to be moved or relocated.
Once you have a sense of what functions you want your new living room to serve, gather lots of information. Check out the valuable information on "Hiring a Pro for Your Living Room" and search the Web for other reliable, accurate information on trade-group websites such as ASID (American Society of Interior Designers), NARI (National Association for the Remodeling Industry) and NAHB (National Association of Home Builders).
Have you ever seen a room in a magazine that was just so stunning that you had to have it in your own home? While you may not be able to recreate it perfectly, decorating a small living room doesn’t have to break the bank. Print the picture out, take it with you to your favorite furniture stores and have a little fun trying to match each piece. You probably won’t find perfect matches, but similar pieces you do find will feel much more personal and make the final space much cozier. For visual interest, try some thrift store finds.

If your living room has access to a ton of natural light, don't block it out with dark curtains. Let it pour in to make the space feel more airy and open. Even if you don't have large windows and tons of sunlight, choose lighter shades to maximize the light you do have. Semi-sheer shades like the ones in this living room designed by Barrie Benson will help, too.
When you have to work with a room with an awkward shape, implementing the small living room designs that you love becomes a major challenge. It may not look like it, but this room had some incredible design challenges, including a cramped dining area. To remedy this, the designer decided to hang some mirrors in the dining area. Not only does the space look larger, but it also transforms the way the dining area looks. By putting the chairs on one side and the mirrors on the other, the dining area doesn’t look nearly as small as it truly is.
A minor renovation for a living room remodel project typically includes simple work such as repainting walls and ceiling, installation of wallpaper, changing lighting fixtures, resourcing new furniture pieces, installing a knock down shelf, adding accessories or changing soft furnishings like window treatments, upholstery or textiles – basically anything that does not require an extensive amount of demolition or structural change in the space. Minor renovations may be taken on as a “Do It Yourself” project, especially if you have prior knowledge and experience on such. On the average, minor renovations cost less in terms of labor because it eliminates the need to hire subcontractors or even construction professionals.
Our living rooms wear a lot of hats: we watch TV, entertain friends, have conversations and spend time reading in them. Sometimes they double as home offices, playrooms for kids or even dining rooms, too. With all these considerations, it can be tricky to decide how best to arrange this area, but thinking about the feeling you’d like the space to convey in combination with how you’ll spend time there is a solid way to start. Here are 10 living room layout ideas to get those creative wheels spinning.
"You can gain more surface space by having a console table behind a sofa and a variety of seating, like one sofa and four chairs that are not all the same that can float in a room and even be moved around," says Rybock, "and then use a cocktail table as the anchor in the center of the space." Once you have the furniture in place, Fenimore suggests using textural or colorful artwork to visually fill the room.
If your living room has access to a ton of natural light, don't block it out with dark curtains. Let it pour in to make the space feel more airy and open. Even if you don't have large windows and tons of sunlight, choose lighter shades to maximize the light you do have. Semi-sheer shades like the ones in this living room designed by Barrie Benson will help, too.
There are several ways to save on flooring costs for a living room remodel project. Ceramic floor tiles, for example, may be regrouted as long as their surfaces are still in good condition. Wooden floors that have light scratches may be re-sanded and reapplied with stain to give them a more fresh look. Natural stone floors may be rebuffed and resealed, while carpets may be industrially cleaned.  For a minimal amount, these minor improvements can instantly transform the look of your living room.
Decorating a small living room is one thing, but decorating a small New York living room is a task and a half. This tiny abode is an exceptional study in taking advantage of what you have. The exposed brick wall, wood floors and tall, sunny windows were already there when this designer showed up. The only thing it was missing was color, and this darling space is the result. This space is all about contrast with the plain white animal busts on the brick wall and the colorful sofa and armchair complementing the earth tones of the floor and wall.
What do you do when you don’t agree with your spouse on what to do with a space? This is a very common problem that just leads to hurt feelings and an empty wallet. Rather than try to push your style over theirs, figure out what elements each of you likes and incorporate both of your tastes into the room. This small living room design is a marriage of masculine and feminine with an exceptional mix of bold lines and pastel accents. The ceiling light is also a perfect representation of the two merged styles, being both geometrical and curvaceous.
Previously buried under decades of neglect, Tere and Mac Thomas's circa-1825 Mississippi home has new stories to tell, thanks to diligent research—and a three-year gut renovation. When the Thomases purchased their Fayette, Mississippi, home six years ago, it was uninhabitable. However, the unfinished rooms, like this dilapidated living room, allowed the homeowners to start from scratch to create the perfect home.
If you just want to spice up a dull space, that one visual oddity can make all the difference. This is especially true in a small living room since there normally isn’t much to look at. The rug in this room is a great example because it breaks up the plainness and uniformity the room otherwise has. It also accomplishes this without being overly intrusive. It also forces you to look down at the floor, then up at everything else in the room, ensuring you see every bit of the room’s contents. The right accent pieces make all the difference.
When you have to work with a room with an awkward shape, implementing the small living room designs that you love becomes a major challenge. It may not look like it, but this room had some incredible design challenges, including a cramped dining area. To remedy this, the designer decided to hang some mirrors in the dining area. Not only does the space look larger, but it also transforms the way the dining area looks. By putting the chairs on one side and the mirrors on the other, the dining area doesn’t look nearly as small as it truly is.

It’s not as much about where you put your furniture as it is about the types of pieces you choose. "In each room I design, I try to include at least one round piece, such as a coffee table, that people can walk around without bumping their knees," says interior designer Katie Rosenfeld. "I also add a few armchairs and a versatile piece like a garden stool that can be used as a stool to sit on or as a table for a drink."
Here, 1" x 4" pine boards, spaced about a foot apart, offer the look of custom paneling at a fraction of the price. Curtains in narrow vertical stripes break up the wall's horizontal lines. Multi-stripe pillows in complementary hues band together to dress up a neutral sofa. A wide white stripe, applied to the armchair's center using fabric paint (available at craft stores), packs a graphic punch.
For designer Patrick Printy, his bungalow in Oakland, California is all about eccentric design. In this living area attached to his study, a pair of vintage sofas are upholstered in a Ralph Lauren Home stripe, the Eero Saarinen table is from Design Within Reach, barstools by CB2 are covered in a Katie Ridder fabric, the ceiling lantern is by Visual Comfort, the rug is by Ralph Lauren Home, and the busts are by Oly.
When space is lacking, the only option is to get creative and make things multi-purpose. For example, if you don't have room for a separate living room, family room, and home office, combine each concept into one space. This living room and office by Leanne Ford Interiors proves that the right layout and pieces can look great, no matter what shape or size the room.
If you frequently entertain guests at your home, choose a strategic living room layout that promotes conversation and comfort. For example, in this living room designed by Leanne Ford Interiors, the incorporates semi-circle seating that's both spacious and inviting. Sectionals are also a good option when a circular sofa isn't. And if you also love the all-white aesthetic, take note. Ford brush painted the natural IKEA rug and custom-made rope light.
You spend a lot of time in your living room, so it not only needs to look great, but it needs to be functional and comfortable. Blending all three things can be tricky, but we've got plenty of examples to inspire you. From modern and formal spaces to approachable and rustic environments, there's a living room idea you'll want to steal below. Keep reading for forty-five stylish designer living room tips, ideas, and shopping suggestions for spaces of any size.
Dark, glossy walls create a sophisticated backdrop for simple, clean-lined pieces and even colorful, bold items. Use the small space to your advantage and make it feel like a jewel-box. Painting your ceilings the same color can enhance the sense of intimacy even further. Then have fun with brighter furniture throughout, as done in this small living room designed by Andrew Felsher.

This cozy little space shows how small living room decor can quickly become an art form given the right pieces. In this room’s case, the abstract white sculptures on one wall and the feather painting on the other would probably point to an oceanic theme, but when you get to the blue area rug and notice the flowers, you begin to wonder if the room really is following a specific theme. Without those pieces of wall art, the room would look stale and a bit generic, which shows how even one piece can transform a room’s look in unexpected ways.


Before you even start decorating your living room, remember where you are. If you live in a casual beach house, your design scheme is going to look very different from an urban industrial loft space, for instance. In this beach house by Arent & Pyke, the design team focused on channeling the tropical vibe of a coastal home through fun motifs and casual materials. Yet, they still maintained a look of sophistication through fresh upholstery, beautiful artwork, and a thoughtful layout. That being said, if you're a sucker for kitsch and wish you were always on island-time, add a hint of it with one statement piece, like a vintage Hawaiian-print rattan chair.
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.
To create symmetry, a contractor relocated the corner hearth with a new one, centered on the wall opposite the open kitchen. Built-in cabinetry on either side of the fireplace reinforces the sense of balance. The homeowner traded her single living-room settee for two generous Ikea sofas and a Ralph Lauren chair, all slipcovered for easy cleaning. The pine coffee table came from a garage sale, and the metal "C" is from a local garden store.

In the living room of a Manhattan apartment designed by Jamie Drake and Caleb Anderson of Drake/Anderson, the sectional sofas by Avenue Road are covered in a Great Plains mohair, the pair of vintage Gio Ponti armchairs are from Karl Kemp Antiques, the glass cocktail table by Fredrikson Stallard is filled with feathers, the round side table is by Holly Hunt Studio, the lamp on it is by Charles Paris and the custom rug is by Tai Ping.
Choosing a larger rug—even in a bold pattern—is a trick that makes a room feel bigger. Unlike smaller rugs, the large size doesn't visually break up the floor. This can also help anchor the space and give you a good staple piece to design the rest of the room around. Corner seating can also help you get more mileage out of less surface room for a longer traditional sofa.
Decorating a small living room is one thing, but decorating a small New York living room is a task and a half. This tiny abode is an exceptional study in taking advantage of what you have. The exposed brick wall, wood floors and tall, sunny windows were already there when this designer showed up. The only thing it was missing was color, and this darling space is the result. This space is all about contrast with the plain white animal busts on the brick wall and the colorful sofa and armchair complementing the earth tones of the floor and wall.
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.
Color stretches all the way up to the high rafters in this living room designed by Thomas Jayne and William Cullum. As you can see in the mirror, the color of these walls changes depending on the way the light hits it, shifting between sharp mint green and soft sea foam green. The red and blue work nicely, too, as the red is featured in the carpet, coffee table, and sofas, blending everything together beautifully. All together, the room feels traditional and formal, country chic and casual. To elongate your already tall ceilings, hang a pendant light high above the sitting area.
Keep a list – Creating a list of the things that you need for your living room remodel project  allows you to keep track of the expenses that you might incur as you go along with the renovation. Prioritize important items first, then put a contingency for extra items like accessories and other decorations. Leave room for finishing touches as they can go a long way in terms of visual appeal.
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