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Rather than art, a high-impact wallpaper can give a subdued room some wow-factor. The 19th century wallcovering from this luxe Milan apartment was purchased at auction in France and adapted to the room. “We created the missing parts, the plinth and the ceiling frame, to depict an Italian capriccio, a fantastical and bucolic landscape with architectural features,” Laura Sartori Rimini of Studio Peregalli says.

Instead of hanging a painting on a bare wall, accent it with a rich, velvet curtain background. “Curtains just create a great, calming energy in which you feel very shrouded and comforted, making for a luxurious and restful environment,” says Framel. “And being able to put a really great pop of artwork in front of that textural colored backdrop has a lot of impact.”

Living room wallpaper ideas – to completely transform your space

Instead of meshing a color scheme with a sense of place, designer Irakli Zaria used rich gold and turquoise as an antidote to gloomy London days in this chic pied-a-terre. “In a place where there are such cloudy skies, it makes no sense to have a gray interior,” he said.

This is not the time for e-shopping, people. “It’s just so hard to tell on a computer screen what the color really looks like,” Arnold says. “You might think it looks red, but in reality, it’s watermelon pink.” Not to mention the texture of the rug may be totally different than what you were expecting.

Looking beyond the traditional with wallcoverings can create a truly standout design presence. “I do think I might have scared [architect Ken Linsteadt] a little bit when I announced I was planning to install two levels of green floral fabric on the walls of the grand salon,” says Ken Fulk of his Sonoma Valley lakeside retreat, yet the fabric gives the high walls a richness that wallpaper alone might not have achieved.

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The best way to balance out sleek lines and contemporary furniture is by adding a few unique natural elements, from drift wood to greenery. “I don’t like to look around a house and not see touches from the outdoors,” interior designer Tamara Magel says.

In Josh Groban’s “The Great Comet” dressing room, interior designer Mike Harrison selected this constellation artwork as a clear focal point for the room. “I loved this piece for its dimensions and colors, but also as a tip of the hat to the ‘Comet’ influences that I know were of importance to Josh,” says Harrison. “I was searching for artwork that would tie together all of Josh’s design sensibilities.”

Neutral living room ideas for a cool, calm and collected scheme

“A lot of people love the idea of really simple, modern living—it’s appealing, it’s nice and it seems serene,” says Erika Yeaman, a Homepolish designer and owner of YES Associates. “But the reality of maintaining that is a little tricker. Mixing Scandinavian design with bohemian style warms it up and makes it feel more homey and attainable.”

Whether you’re a fan of minimalist lamps or OTT pendants, lighting is a key ingredient of modern interior design

$3,295, Rococo Iron & Crystal Chandelier, Restoration Hardware

Living rooms are multifunctional spaces, so they need lighting for all the different tasks they need to perform. First, you’ll need a general light source – a ceiling pendant light, for example – that will light the room at darker times of day when the household are milling about. Wall lights and table lamps will give a softer glow when it’s time to relax. An adjustable reading lamp next to a comfy chair will allow readers to focus on their book without dazzling the rest of the room.

“I love to see the layers of time and renovations,” says California-based interior designer Patrick Printy. “To me, it deepens the effect.” Achieving a sense of harmony that feels organic is key.

When renovating a building that already has plenty of character, like this 1920s Spanish Colonial home in Los Angeles, it’s all about striking the balance between what you add and what you leave. “We wanted to make it feel more holistic while still honoring its heritage,” designer Steven Johanknecht says of the decision to keep the original hand-carved ceiling beams and wrought-iron chandeliers while removing mismatched materials from previous renovations.

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It’s a good idea to have at least two electrical circuits for your living room lighting – one for the main light, and one for softer lighting – as well as dimmer switches so you can control the level of light to suit the time of day, task and mood.

Allowing unique items to dictate some design decisions can lead to unexpectedly beautiful results. On the hallways leading into this Art Deco Chicago apartment, dramatic doors and paneling were inspired by a special stack of uncommon lumber. “There was a guy out in Oregon who had a barn full of exotic wood and everything was marked ‘NFS,’ as in Not For Sale,” architect Phillip Liederbach recalls with a laugh. “It gave us a responsibility to elevate it. We obsessed over it.”

$5,400, John Stuart Clingman for Widdicomb Mid-Century Modern Lounge Chairs, 1stdibs

So what are you waiting for? Get started on these living room décor galleries before you even pick up a paint brush.

Instead of fighting against rusticity, embracing the natural character of a home can create a natural richness in the space.”My father found artisans to decorate the bathroom in red limestone, a typical Rajasthani material,” Siddharth Kasliwal, heir to India’s famed Munnu the Gem Palace, explained of the former-cowshed-turned-home he inherited from his father. “All the other elements—the brass sink and hardware, the mirror— are vintage or antique.”

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Make what’s old new again by invigorating antique pieces with colorful fabric from the 21st century. Take, for example, the two 18th-century French bergère chairs here, upholstered in a hot pink Maharam fabric. “Maharam is a very modern, contemporary fabric company, with velvets that are really bright in color,” says Bikoff. “That color was such a pop of freshness and youthfulness on these old chairs.”

When Lee Cavanaugh and Sarah DePalo of Cullman & Kravis make their yearly trip to the Paris flea, they send finds home in a group container to keep costs down.

Art director Vivia Horn’s zen upstate New York home makes use of an unexpected gift to give her traditional kitchen a dose of fun. This breakfast table made of a refurbished hibachi—a present from the late wrestler and Benihana restaurateur Rocky Aoki.

Bay windows can be awkward to dress, but these stylish window treatments will create a stunning focal point in any…

$1,688, Interlude Home Lestari Petrified Wood Side Tale, Houzz

It’s easy to gravitate toward the usual suspects like wood and leather when trying to craft a textured living space, but branch outside of your comfort zone. Emilie Munroe of Studio Munroe recommends drawing from your own personal style, especially the articles of clothing and patterns you’re attracted to.

Open-plan living room ideas for a multi-functional, family space

Add instant pizzazz to your living room with a bold new wallpaper

If you like to entertain in your living room, it’s a good idea to have a few lightweight side chairs that can be moved into more sociable arrangements when people come to visit. Small side tables or nesting tables are another handy addition, giving guests a place to perch their drinks.

If you have a bit more space to play with, bring the furniture away from the walls to create a cosy sitting area. This works especially well in open-plan living spaces, helping to zone the relaxation area from the thoroughfares or dining, cooking and study areas. If the back of your sofa isn’t much to look at, hide it behind a low console table topped with decorative objects.

A good starting point is to think about how many people you need to fit in your living room on a regular basis. This will help you to choose the right living room furniture. A large family will need a sizeable sofa and a couple of armchairs  at least to make sure everyone has somewhere comfortable to sit. If space is tight, beanbags and poufs are a smart way to sneak in extra seating, and can be stowed away easily at times when there are fewer people in the house.

A chilly, bland-looking living room is now relaxed and welcoming, thanks to a splash of dark blue

Some people call it a living room, others, a lounge, or more formally, a sitting room. But however you refer to it, there’s no doubting this room’s main purpose in your home: to be a comfortable space where the household can relax. These living room ideas will help you create your dream space however much you have to spend.

Unlock the potential of your small living room with these easy decorating ideas

$375, Arturo 8-Light Rectangular Chandelier, Ballard Designs

Just because your designer of choice lives in another city doesn’t mean you can’t work together. Services like Homepolish and Decorist, among others, make it easy to find decorators across the country, while Allison Harlow of Curio Design Studio uses Skype to work with clients virtually.

Sure, your eyes may want the most modern, chic couch in the showroom. But your back may not. “In my experience, it’s really better to test out seating and take the time to look at the dimensions,” says Sharon Blaustein. If you’re tall, for instance, you might want to opt for a depth of between 40 to 42 inches for a sofa (rather than the standard depth of 36 inches).

If Chip and Joanna Gaines have convinced you that your abode needs shiplap, you’re usually best off installing the boards horizontally rather than vertically. “It can really expand a space, making it feel larger than vertical boards can,” says Jason Arnold. “Horizontal boards also feel more contemporary.” Vertical boards, however, can be ideal for rooms with high ceilings.

Interior doors can make a striking style statement and, if chosen wisely, could even add value to your property

Whether you’re looking for inspiration to completely redecorate or just want to give your space a quick refresh, we’ve got living room decorating ideas, styling tips and the best shopping advice to help you choose the perfect sofa or find the ideal colour for your walls.

Faux fur has quickly become a luxurious way to add a bit of depth and variety to a space. “When we use faux fur, we’re looking for some really luscious texture in the room,” says Erin Gates. “If you look at a space and everything is neat, tidy and clean, you want something that’s sumptuous and cozy. It’ll really elevate the space.”

Create an open-plan living room that is seamlessly linked to the rest of your home

Duck egg living room ideas to help you create a beautiful scheme

For a laid-back, soothing feel, introduce these natural, easy-on-the-eye shades to your living room

To soften the modern edge of stainless steel, decorator Alisa Bloom put a traditional spin on the kitchen cabinetry of her 1920s Chicago penthouse with brass inlays. With the help of a local hardware maker, she even designed her own hinges and drawer pulls. “I would never go into a store and just buy something,” she says. “It’s all about the process and the hunt.”

A formal, parlour-style living room demands decorative lighting to impress, whether it’s a statement standard lamp or a designer chandelier. You might also consider adding accent lighting, such as a picture light to draw attention to a favourite work of art.

You don’t need to go bright in order to create visual impact in a room. “[My wife] wanted to dial it back into her aesthetic, away from the color,” says David Kaihoi of the 400-square foot New York studio he renovated for his family. “I agreed, but suggested we do that with texture and pattern.”

Kate Reynolds, co-owner of Studio Four NYC, believes in pairing big-ticket items with budget finds. “I think a room balances out better when you have different levels of price and craftsmanship,” she says. “It helps you notice the statement piece more.”

To avoid being locked into a single style, lighting designer Lindsey Adelman switches up the fixtures in her Park Slope home on a regular basis. “It’s part of my creative process,” she explains, “I love to see things in context, in real life—to live with them.”

We’ve got some genius ways to hide your TV completely, or at least make it stand out less.

Want to make a variety of bright colors cohesive? Think about how you would arrange a flower bouquet, as Sasha Bikoff did in this SoHo apartment. “The same can apply to a space, but you need to find a connection,” she says. “Here, that connection is the fabric on the dining room chairs, which showcases colors also found throughout the room.”

It’s exactly what Jenny Cipoletti, founder of fashion, beauty and travel blog Margo & Me, did in her decidedly Parisian office (which is actually in West Hollywood). “Just like when you walk into a cafe in Paris, and you see all the details and the golds, silvers and light blush tones, all of these elements in this space really sing to me,” says Cipoletti. This lets you travel to your favorite destination without stepping outside.

“Bringing a touch of the Old World into the mix creates a home that will never feel dated,” designer Alex Papachristidis explains of the art-studded Manhattan apartment he designed for a family friend. For example, the silver leaf–and–rock crystal chandelier from Liz O’Brien that he hung in the otherwise modern dining room.

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This depends on the size of your living room and what the room is most commonly used for. Small living rooms may require you to place furniture against the walls to ensure there’s enough space for people to move about without sidling around chairs or banging their shins on the coffee table. Ideally you need at least 50cm between each piece of furniture to allow for optimum traffic flow.

Whether you’re decorating your first home or your fifth, great design is in the details. We’ve consulted top designers and scoured our archives to find the best ideas for every room in the house.

Good living room storage  is almost as important as a good living room layout. Clutter can build up quickly in a space that’s used by the whole household every day, so it’s important that everything has its right place.

$6,950, Pair of French Louis XVI Style 1870s Wingback Bergères Chairs with Upholstery, 1stdibs

Allow your space to continuously change—as your life does. “Remember that your home should always be evolving, just as you are,” says Kelly Framel, creative director, stylist and founder of online magazine The Glamourai. “I am constantly picking up new treasures on my travels. Your nest should always be a place of comfort and inspiration, and it’s a constant work in progress.”

Love pattern? Then check out our pick of the best living room wallpaper ideas. From alcove shelving to stylish media units, keep clutter at bay with some clever living room storage ideas and give rugs, cushions and other decorative accessories space to shine.

If your living room is your main TV room, it goes without saying that seating needs to be positioned to give a good view of the television, and that it isn’t so far away that viewers need to squint. Living rooms without a TV give you the freedom to choose a more aesthetically pleasing focal point, whether it’s a period fireplace, an ornate mirror or a statement coffee table. If you do have a TV but don’t want it on show when you’re not watching it, you can always hide it away behind the doors of an attractive TV cabinet.

Looking at your home from a holistic perspective—seeing how each room works in balance against the others—can help craft a welcome variety in your spaces, like this emerald and charcoal dining room that adds a touch of formality to an otherwise contemporary Los Angeles home.

Green living room ideas – redecorate with the summer’s most harmonious hues

Even if you’ve got a tiny square footage to work with (if so – check out our small living room ideas) or particularly love a specific style (modern living room ideas, anyone?) we’ve got a huge amount of beautiful inspiration and expert advice to guide you through the living room design process.

A good rug can also help to zone a living space, making it feel more intimate. Place the front legs of sofas and chairs on the rug, leaving the back legs off, to give mismatched furniture a more unified feel.

A coffee table with drawers or a hidden shelf is perfect for keeping remote controls within reach but out of sight. Footstools that open up to reveal a secret storage compartment are another neat tidying trick, especially in small living rooms. Open shelving is great for books and ornaments, but it’s useful to have some kind of drawer or cupboard storage in your living room as well, where you can tuck away things like laptops and other items that you don’t want on display. Remember to leave plenty of room for any furniture with doors or drawers to open properly.

Before and after – clever use of colour has transformed this living room

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“You mix things up with old and new,” suggests textiles and interior designer Kathryn M. Ireland, as she did in the living room of her Santa Monica home; a room where the furnishings include 17th-century French chairs, an 18th-century Mexican console, and a cocktail table from her furniture line.

Does your living room storage need an overhaul? Keep your living room clutter free with storage that is handsome as…

$225, Safavieh Adirondack Round Area Rug, Bed, Bath & Beyond

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