When it comes to living room decor, there are really no hard-and-fast rules. You’ll want it to be a space that makes your family and guests feel comfortable, but is also functional for day-to-day living. Most people have a tendency to go super neutral or boldly colorful, but be careful of going overboard with either. If you go with neutrals for the big items, like sofas, armchairs and ottomans, then go a bit bold with decorative accessories — that way, you can easily swap out the small things when a new color scheme is in order. Likewise, if you want your sofa to be a statement piece then scale back the decor so they don’t fight for attention.
Don’t forget about the mid-sized items, like rugs and curtains, which can double as functional and decorative when done right. Lighting is also an important feature to consider when decorating a living room. Do you have the ability to do overhead lighting, or will you need to use table and floor lamps? Either one can be design features in themselves, as well as putting the spotlight on other decor you want to showcase. Position lighting in accordance to any art you want to illuminate, and remember to have a well lit spot for reading-related activities. You can also change the light of the space by the paint color you choose; a room with little natural lighting will benefit from a light and airy color, while one with plenty of sunlight may have more leniency in color choice.
Living rooms were originally intended to act as sophisticated settings for hosting and entertaining, while family rooms were used for more casual, everyday activities, like lounging, playing or watching TV. However, many homes today will only have one larger room that acts as both an entertainment and primary living space. If yours is the former, you’ll likely be utilizing it as a sitting room to have drinks and good conversation with guests, without distractions like television. A bar cart, formal furniture and an eye-catching focal point, such as a sophisticated fireplace and mantel, will help achieve this look and feel. On the other hand, if it's your primary living space it should see more daily use, often functioning as a TV room, complete with sofa sectional, media console and gaming spot (that cleans up nicely for guests, of course!). In the end, think about your needs; after all, a family with small children will likely need a playroom more than a formal sitting room.
Because this space serves many purposes, you’ll want to be sure to incorporate a variety of different furniture pieces to cover all possible activities. If your home is generally tight on space, having plenty of shelves, cabinets or drawers will be crucial to accommodating any storage needs. Built-ins are the best way to do this, since they take up less space and are often customized to meet your needs, however they can run on the more expensive side. If built-ins aren’t your style, start with the big pieces, like an entertainment center or TV stand to house any electronics and accessories, or a bookcase to keep books, picture frames and knickknacks in check. A desk or multi-purpose table can act as a craft station or homework spot, while a window seat can quickly become your go-to reading or nap station.
You will no doubt need some seating options, which can range from small accent chairs to a big roomy sectional. Be careful of cramming a too-large sofa into a too-small space — it’s tempting to go big, but sacrificing walking paths or potential storage space is not always worth it. Definitely have enough seating for those living in the house, plus an extra seat or two for the occasional guests. A place to put down drinks or snacks, like side tables or a coffee table, is a must. If you have the depth for it, an ottoman or coffee table where people can prop their feet up is always a welcome addition, but skip out on this if the living room is on the narrow side and go for a deeper sofa instead.