Compare Living Room Decor and Design Ideas
12 Key Living Room Designs and How to Achieve Them
By: Greca Sandford
Choosing the interior design for your living room is all about finding a decor style that suits your personality and gives identity to your space. Deciding on your living room design and decor first is a great way to set the tone for the rest of your home.
But with so many wonderful living room designs to choose from where should you start? We’ve picked out 12 key living room decor ideas that we believe are the perfect place to start. For each living room design we map out the key elements that define the look and give tips on how to decorate your living room to achieve the same style. To put these living room decoration ideas into context we also give you three stunning pictures that perfectly illustrate the interior design style being described.
Before we get going a word about the images and pictures: the living room design and decor photos are predominantly of stunning high end properties and beyond the reach of many of us. But the design style of each can definitely be achieved in more modest surroundings and with cheaper furniture and accessories. Don’t leave without checking out the other decorating ideas for living rooms from other homeowners just like you.
The 12 living room design trends we are going to look at are as follows:
American Classic | European Renaissance | Glam & Luxe | Cool Contemporary | Coastal Charm |
Mid-Century Modern | Scandinavian Minimalism | Modern Minimalist | Warm Industrial |
Bohemian Eclectic | Farmhouse Chic | Rustic Ranch
Feel free to use the quick links above to scoot down to any particular style that takes your fancy!
American Classic/ Traditional
A look that is timelessly elegant, refined and definitely grown-up, this American Classic or traditional living room interior design focuses on heirloom furniture, beautifully co-coordinated upholstery and soft furnishings, along with accessories that evoke craftsmanship and quality. This is the perfect design aesthetic for a grand city townhouse or a sprawling country manor.
American Classic is definitely a formal living room design and probably not best suited to a family room. Structured seating is the key element, combining sofas and armchairs (never sectionals!), centered around a coffee table. A fireplace is another key element to this design, as well as – generally speaking – lined drapes at the windows.
Living room flooring that suits the American Classic design tends to be deep toned hardwood, with generous area rugs that complement the color scheme and define the seating area. Whilst most of the color schemes in this traditional style are usually fairly conservative, there is always room for more whimsical color combinations as long as you keep the overall feel formal and structured.
Key accessories for decorating a living room in this style include generous pillows, smart coffee table books, vases filled with orchids, lilies or roses, pretty decorative trinket boxes and table lamps with fabric shades.
With its conservative colors, traditional furniture and elegant accessories this living room epitomizes the American Classic decor style.
Here conservative colors have given way to pretty, florals and pastels for a more feminine look.
A little less formal, this generously proportioned New England living room design still has traditional furnishings and a defined, structured setting.
If you love the traditional look of American Classic, but want to add a little extra grandeur, then the European Renaissance aesthetic is for you! Also known as Parisian Chic, these designer living rooms ooze effortless grace with a little extra glitz.
The key to achieving this living room decor is to think of grand proportions and maximize architectural details! You’ll ideally want to have large French windows, ornate crown moldings, elegant fireplaces, wooden parquet floors and a dramatic chandelier is absolutely essential.
The furniture has to be very classically French – Louis XII through to Louis XV style armchairs and settees are ideal, though you can also add Art Deco or Arts and Crafts styled accent chairs to the mix, and throw in an ottoman or chaise longue too! Whatever living room seating you choose, it should be set up in a very symmetrical layout – symmetry and proportion are key here.
The European Renaissance design is not complete without a good dusting of gold accents – use gilded mirrors, picture frames, light fittings and decor objects – and luxurious fabrics. But to keep your living room interior design from being gaudy, pair it all down with a sophisticated, muted color scheme. Keep walls white or a warm beige; use pops of color sparingly for a more modern feel.
This Parisian living room is the perfect example of European Renaissance – everything about it is simple, chic, with a quiet, elegant grandeur.
A lesson in symmetry and proportion, this superb living room by Megan Winters is a masterpiece in modern Renaissance inspired interior design.
Elements of Parisian Chic are brought beautifully together in this quirky yet elegant living room in Denver.
Glam & Luxe
The Glam & Luxe style uses the elements that make European Renaissance so chic and elegant and then takes it to the next level, making it more sumptuous and much more glamorous!
To achieve this interior design idea in a living room you’re basically going to look for classical furniture, perhaps also mixing in Art Deco and contemporary modern pieces, and then adding a generous supply of luxurious fabrics, especially velvet! Satins, faux furs, animal prints, silks and heavy damasks are also key fabric choices.
With the Glam & Luxe design it’s all about voluptuous textures, glitz and sparkle. A good dose of gold, silver, chrome or copper accents via the accessories and light fittings is essential; as is dramatic lighting such as ornate chandeliers; and you can go to town with lavish wallpapers too.
The key color for Glam & Luxe is purple, from deep berry tones like wine or mulberry to vibrant jewel tones like amethyst and magenta; purple is regal, as is the owner of a Glam & Luxe style living room. Pair your purple tones with golds and creams, or iridescent silvers and greens for truly luxurious results!
This Bethesda salon is a masterpiece of Glam & Luxe styling, with its Art Deco inspired wallpaper, purple velvets and faux fur fabrics.
Texture is in abundance in this Glam & Luxe living room with a mixture of leather, velvet, gold accents and accent wallpaper.
A more contemporary space is given the Glam & Luxe treatment; the super reflective black glass topped coffee table trimmed in iridescent crushed velvet is just divine!
If you’re not a fan of traditional or classical furniture, and prefer a more relaxed, modern living room design then the unfussy, comfortable decor of the Cool Contemporary style is for you. This is a versatile look that works just as well in a formal living room as it does in a more relaxed family room or den.
Cool Contemporary essentially features furniture that is less structured: sofas and armchairs that look as comfy as they feel, the kind where you can easily imagine lounging on after a long day at the office! Clean lines with no fuss are key for the other furniture, such as tables or shelves, and for the accessories too.
Color schemes tend towards neutral bases with strong accent colors: this is a great look if you’re into switching out pillows and knick-knacks to match the seasons or for holiday themed décor, because the neutral base allows you to change accent colors really easily.
Because Cool Contemporary has a broad appeal, it is one of the easier living room decorating ideas to shop for as most furniture and home decor retailers cater for it. So to keep this design from being dull and conventional, be sure to add decor objects, photographs and artwork that are personal to you and that you really love.
Comfort and class combine in this Cool Contemporary living room; the area rug layered over carpeted flooring and the cozy throw on the sofa add extra warmth and texture.
This living room decor with fabulous sea views features clean lines, pretty decoration and lovely turquoise accent colors to suit the surrounds.
This Cool Contemporary living room is pretty smart, but could use some extra personal touches to give it a more lived in feel.
As you’ll guess from the name, the Coastal Charm aesthetic takes it cues from everything to do with the sea and oceans. In essence Coastal Charm is really a version of Cool Contemporary but here there is a more overt interior design decision to reference all things maritime!
So along with comfortable, contemporary seating, these are the living room design tips you’ll want to consider for creating the Coastal Charm style: blue accent colors (anything from dark navy to light aquamarine) paired with whites or creams; décor objects and artwork with nautical motifs such as sea creatures, fish, boats, coral, shells, sea birds, stripes, flags, lighthouses, anchors, buoys; and tables or accent chairs made with rattan or driftwood.
The look of this living room decor needs to be kept light and airy, so avoid heavy drapes at the windows and use Venetian blinds or roman blinds instead; and keep the background wall colors as light as possible. Extra nice touches that complement the look are exposed beams, tongue and groove or shiplap accents on the walls, sea grass rugs, ceiling fans and lantern or utility style light fittings.
And whilst the overall Coastal Charm aesthetic might seem rather narrow, it can actually be quite versatile: depending on the combination of decorating details you choose it can be combined with a tropical, cottage or modern living room design.
The indigo blue accent, decor objects that reference world travel, ceiling fan and Venetian blinds give this Coastal Charm decorated living room an exotic and tropical feel.
Lovely cottage style Coastal Charm in this Nantucket living room, with its cozy fireplace, exposed beams and wood paneled ceiling, weathered wood table, lantern and basketwork details and quirky art.
A more modern take on the Coastal Charm look here, combining clean lines and underplayed, subtle marine references – particularly love the sea urchin styled poufs!
The last few years has seen a huge revival for the Mid-Century Modern aesthetic, thanks in no small part to the hugely successful AMC series, Mad Men. The series is set right in the middle of this important moment of interior design history which spanned the postwar era, from mid-1940s through to 1970 when America was embracing all things “modern”.
For living room interior design this was translated into unfussy, pared-down furniture designs, geometric shapes, and graphic fabric designs in an effort to meld together influences from the existing organic world and the new man-made materials and machines that were being developed.
To get today’s re-interpretation of the Mid-Century Modern style the key design and decor elements are still the same: furniture and accessories with organic curves or geometric shapes; upholstery and fabrics that have bold graphic designs; warm and bright colors, but tending towards greens and oranges; and a fuss-free connection form the indoors to the outdoors with ideally no window treatments, or just very light gauzy curtains or blinds.
For a truly authentic Mid-Century Modern living room design don’t forget to include statement lighting, such as the iconic Sputnik chandelier or the Arco floor lamp. And feature furniture and decor design classics such as the Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman, the Arne Jacobsen Egg chair or the George Nelson Ball clock.
This family room design in Dallas has been given a Mid-Century Modern revamp featuring key elements including the boldly graphic area rug and a green upholstered Harry Bertoia Bird chair.
An ode to Mid-Century Modern design in this Parisian living room incorporating curvy tables and statement lighting, particularly the Stilnovo chandelier and the Arco floor lamp.
This Mid-Century Modern living room really highlights those key shapes and colors for the look: lime greens, fresh orange, organic and geometric shapes and patterns.
Another extremely popular interior design for the living room right now is the Scandinavian Minimalist style, which to a certain degree has been championed by fans of IKEA!
Similar to Mid-Century Modern, the look is all about taking inspiration from nature, with clean lines and simple curves, but there is more of an emphasis on natural materials such as wood, wool, clay and handmade crafts, such as weaving. Favoring potted plants is also a key way to bring the nature into your living room, as well as using nature inspired modern art prints and accessories.
There is also a pragmatic element to the Scandinavian designed living room, so keeping the space clutter free is important; arranging knick-knacks and artwork in tidy collections is ideal. Equally important is to strike a careful balance between maximizing natural light by using reflective surfaces and very light window treatments, but also keeping things cozy with warm textures, especially in rugs and fabrics.
Whilst some purists might say that Scandinavian Minimalism usually champions a monochrome black and white palette, in fact we are seeing more and more Scandi influenced homes blending in soft neutral colors such as gray or taupe, and also using cheerful pops of color.
The Scandinavian design style also has the advantage of being fairly versatile in its interpretation – you can go Arts and Crafts, add elements of Mid-Century-Modern to your living room decorating or apply the principal design ideas to a Cool Contemporary scheme.
This Scandinavian living room effortless blends Mid-century Modern design classics with a monochrome palette and plenty of warmth and texture.
A more Arts and Crafts version of Scandinavian style, with an emphasis on natural elements in the pretty wallpaper, potted plants, bamboo chair and table.
Cool Contemporary meets Scandinavian Minimalism with wonderful pops of pastel and copper accessories.
Modern Minimalist is exactly what it sounds like: the look uses ultra modern furniture and keeps to a very strict minimal ideal, where sharp lines and sleek materials are essential and clutter is an absolute no!
In a perfect world, you’ll already have a spacious living room to work with because the key element to achieve a Modern Minimalist look in your living room is to maximize the volume of the space by being as spare as possible with the things you put into it.
Furniture should be very linear and devoid of any fussy detail. Using block colors is also an essential element, as is keeping to a strict color palette of white and black; gray and brown is also acceptable. You can add small elements of color in the accessories, remembering of course to keep accessories to a minimum.
The sleek aesthetic of this modern living room design should follow through on every item that you place in the room: even fireplaces should be formal, paired down to the essentials. The look does allow for some texture, for example a ridged area rug, but choose those textured items carefully and be sure to counterpoint them against other polished surfaces.
There’s no room at all for curtains, drapes or blinds in Modern Minimalist living room decor – maximum light and allowing the view outside to pull focus is one of the wonderful aspects of this look; it’s also a look that is perfect for showcasing beautiful objets d’art or design classics.
This super sleek Modern Minimalist living room gives all the focus to the view and a striking decorative bowl that seems almost to float in space thanks to a glass coffee table.
Veering away from the strict black and white palette allows this Modern Minimalist living room to fully connect with the stunning trees and vegetation outside.
This gleaming white room is the perfect space to feature Modernist design classics like the curvaceous GJ chair by Grete Jalk.
If you like the general idea of Scandinavian Minimalism but are looking for living room design ideas that are a bit more urban, and a little less nature, then Warm Industrial is for you!
The typical visual you’ll get for Warm Industrial is the converted loft where the architectural elements are celebrated, and where furnishings that have been salvaged from junk sales or restored from antique dealers take center stage: in fact you’ll often see Modernist design classics mixed into Warm Industrial interior design spaces.
To achieve the Warm Industrial design and decor in your living room, where possible, you should have exposed girders, beams and brick work; flooring will either be distressed or reclaimed hardwood, or concrete or matt finished tile, dressed with highly textured area rugs.
It seems almost obligatory that a leather sofa is featured, but actually that’s not essential. The main thing is to ensure that the seating is comfortable – not overly structured or formal. Warm Industrial creates a relaxed interior design for a living room, mixing different furniture styles without any hard and fast rules: so you may well see a contemporary sectional sofa facing a shelf made of stripped down wooden pallets.
Color schemes tend towards browns, creams, steel grays, deep blues; black painted metal is also a key element – which you often see interpreted through black window frames, picture frames, furniture legs and light fittings.
This former cotton mill is an actual industrial space that has been repurposed as a home, and as such is a pure celebration of all things Warm Industrial.
This lovely airy loft has been given the Warm Industrial aesthetic but with a crisp, modern vibe that cleverly mixes different design styles.
This living room is a more Contemporary Cool version of the Warm Industrial, with a more refined, coordinated approach.
Bohemian/ Eclectic/ Maximalist
If you find yourself wanting to decorate your living room with elements from pretty much every one of the design styles already mentioned here, then the Bohemian Eclectic look is for you! Also known as Maximalist style, this is a living room decor idea where everything and anything goes – but the key is to know just when to stop: you don’t want your living room looking like a storage room full of junk!
The great thing about a Bohemian Eclectic living room design is that you don’t have to be too mindful about choosing furniture from specific design eras: you can totally match up a pair of Louis XIV armchairs with an Art Deco inspired sectional sofa, add a pirate style treasure chest for a coffee table, throw in a baroque chandelier and add some pop art prints on the wall!
Bohemian Eclectic is – in my opinion – one of the best family room design styles, as you can mingle playful touches into the overall design without it looking out of place. Toys can be a part of the look rather than being stacked in a designated area set apart from the “adults” space.
The key to pulling it off this decor style so that it doesn’t look like a total shambles? Don’t over clutter the space with too many knick-knacks and ornaments; tie the different periods and styles together with matching accent colors and choose decor accessories that you really love.
Red, white and blue in the accessories, fabrics, rug and walls bring this wonderfully eclectic living room together, blending grown-up style with playful whimsy.
There are lots of different design references in this Bohemian Eclectic room, but it all works thanks to the black painted floors and accents throughout, and the little touches of red that pull it all together.
Groovy Bohemian at its best here – with greens, oranges and a little sky blue accent here and there giving this family room harmony and balance.
Also known as Shabby Chic or Vintage, Farmhouse Chic is a bit of a variation on the Bohemian Eclectic look where you can easily mix together different design eras. In some ways – with a focus on using vintage, repurposed or reconditioned furnishings and accessories – this look it also rather like Warm Industrial, but the overall aesthetic is much more feminine, softer and cozier.
This decorating a living room in this style takes its cues from the rural idyll, where life is simpler and calmer. So for colors choose pastels, creams, light grays and neutrals. Opt for cozy textiles with light floral, gingham or stripe patterns; Toile de Jouy if you want to add a bit of French Provencal charm; delicate geometrics if you want to go a bit more contemporary.
The main furniture element of a Farmhouse Chic living room is the very comfortable sofa and armchairs, paired with tons of accent pillows and maybe a cozy wool throw to keep off the chill. For the rest of the living room furniture, favor distressed or reclaimed wooden or wrought iron ideas. And absolute essential for this look is hardwood flooring with wide planks!
Accessories are often treasures that have been found in second-hand or antique stores, or handed down through the generations; needlepoint and artwork featuring typography, often with personalized messages, is another key element that brings this homely style together.
With its cozy furnishings and vintage treasures, the gorgeous family room at Thistlewood Farms is the epitome of Farmhouse Chic.
You wouldn’t guess that this beautiful French Provencal inspired Shabby Chic living room is actually in New York!
A more modern pared-down version of the Farmhouse Chic, with pretty geometric patterns and contemporary wrought iron details.
If you’ve got a forest cabin, a mountain chalet or a ranch house and want to go down the traditional living room decor route then the Rustic Ranch interior design style is exactly what you’re looking for. And if you just have a regular house, but love all things outdoorsy, rugged and homespun, then this may be the look for you too!
The essential elements of Rustic Ranch style are chunky wood and wicker furniture; exposed stonework – particularly for the fireplace and hearth; exposed beams and/or wood clad walls; earthy nature inspired tones in greens, browns, deep reds, deep blues, creams and orange; textiles and rugs featured ethnic or tribal inspired patterns; and usually some antlers!
How many of these elements you choose to add to your Rustic Ranch living room design is a personal choice; done with just the right amount of design flair you can create a beautifully, inviting space where guests will immediately feel able to kick back and relax.
As the best thing about the Rustic Ranch look is that it’s so informal, be sure to add to the relaxed atmosphere by having lots of different lighting options to enhance the cozy atmosphere at nighttime.
It doesn’t get more Ranch than this! The ultimate log cabin, it has everything you need to wind away lonesome nights in the wilderness.
This handsome lake house living room has just the right Rustic design feel without being too over the top; the fern green walls and ceilings work excellently against the warm wood and stone elements.
A mountain chalet done to perfection! So many great touches here, but particularly love the little wooden sled by the fireplace!
We trust we’ve given you some great ideas for decorating your living room. If you have recently redesigned or redecorated your living room/family room then please get in touch and share your project with us.