Assess Your Needs

Before picking out furniture or colors, take stock of how you want to use the space and who will be using it. Consider the following:

  • Do you need seating for a lot of people or a more intimate gathering area?
  • Will you be entertaining guests often or is this mainly a family room?
  • Do you need a lot of storage for books, games, media etc.?
  • Is the room used frequently or more for special occasions?
  • Do you need space for a TV, reading nook, desk area?

Knowing the room’s purposes and requirements will inform what pieces you need and how much space to allot for each function.

Create a Floor Plan

Map out how you want to arrange furniture and designate activity zones on paper before buying anything. This allows you to experiment with different layouts to optimize space and flow. Measure furniture you plan to use and cut out scaled templates to move around as you floor plan. Consider:

  • Where will entrances, windows and focal points be?
  • How will you create natural traffic flow?
  • Are there any immovable existing elements to work around?
  • How much walking space do you want to allow?

Floor planning ahead saves costly furniture rearrangements down the road.

Set the Mood with Lighting

Carefully planned lighting creates atmosphere and allows the room to serve multiple functions. Include layers of illumination:

  • Ambient lighting – Ceiling fixtures or lamps provide overall illumination. Go for warm 2700-3000K color temperature bulbs.
  • Task lighting – Direct lights over work areas or reading nooks let you see details.
  • Accent lighting – Use directional lights or picture lights to highlight architectural details, art, collections etc.
  • Dimmers – Allow adjusting light levels for different activities like entertaining or watching TV.

Also make sure lighting is accessible – place floor and table lamps in convenient spots where they are unlikely to get knocked over.

Pick a Focal Point

Every living room needs an anchor that brings the space together visually. This could be a large piece of art, a fireplace, alarge window with a view or a media center. Arrange the seating area to face the focal point. Keep side chairs at conversational angle. Your focal point should align with your floor plan’s natural traffic flow.

Select Seating Wisely

The types of sofas, chairs and other seating you select will dictate the room’s style and functionality. Consider scale, size, shape and upholstery depending on your needs:

  • Deep, low couches are great for lounging and cozying up to watch TV. Sectionals maximize seating flexibility.
  • Firm, upright chairs work well around a game table. Slipper chairs are nice for casual conversation.
  • Ottomans can provide extra seating or serve as coffee tables with removable trays. They add style and support your feet.
  • If you have kids or pets, choose durable, stain-resistant fabrics like microfiber. Leather wears well too.

Measure carefully to ensure furniture is sized appropriately and leaves enough walking space.

Choose Decor with Purpose

Every decor item you select should tie into the room’s overall function and style, including:

  • Coffee and side tables – Place near seating areas. Look for surfaces that suit your drinks, books, remote controls etc.
  • Media storage – Match the height and width of TV stands and shelves to your specific components.
  • Art – Hang appropriately sized artwork at eye level above seating. Group pieces together for impact.
  • Area rugs – Rugs define spaces like seating groups. Make sure they are large enough.
  • Curtains – Control light and add privacy. Layer sheers and drapes to tie spaces together.
  • Plants – Bring life to the space. Opt for hard-to-kill varieties like succulents or snake plants.

Resist clutter – if it doesn’t have a purpose in the room, find another home for it.

Choose a Color Scheme

The colors you use on walls, furnishings and decor will set the room’s mood. So pick a color scheme that aligns with the vibe you want. Some popular approaches include:

  • Monochromatic – Different tones of one color make a soothing, cohesive look. Add textures.
  • Complementary – Pair contrasting colors like blue and orange for visual interest.
  • Cool tones – Blues, greens and purples create a serene retreat.
  • Warm tones – Reds, yellows and oranges convey energy and coziness.

Whatever palette you pick, limit it to 2-4 colors. Remember to coordinate fixed elements like floors and countertops too.

Love Your Living Room FAQ

How do I arrange furniture in a small living room?

  • Focus on one or two seating areas instead of lining the room perimeter. Float furniture away from walls. Choose compact, multi-functional pieces like ottomans and nesting tables.

What are good living room carpet ideas?

  • Look for low pile carpets or rugs in natural fibers like wool. These are durable, soil resistant and cozy underfoot. Neutral solid colors hide dirt. Layer rugs over carpet for flexibility.

What colors make a room look bigger?

  • Light, bright, cool colors like whites, blues and greens will reflect light and make a small space appear more open. Monochromatic schemes also keep the eye moving. Dark shades have the opposite effect.

How do I add color to my neutral living room?

  • Use saturated accent colors in small doses on pillows, throws, artwork and accessories. Paint or paper one wall a bold hue. Vary textures and patterns too.

What can I put on my blank living room wall?

  • Floating shelves, wallpaper or large scale artwork instantly add visual interest. Create a gallery wall with framed photos and art. Or try paneling, shiplap or textured paint techniques.


With attentive planning and design, your living room can become so much more than a place to sit – it can be an inviting, functional space tailored to your lifestyle. Focus on lighting, multipurpose furniture, purposeful decor and a cohesive color palette. Feel empowered to make this space distinctly you. Then relax and enjoy all that your beautifully designed living room has to offer.