30 Easy and Unexpected Living Room Decorating Ideas

Warning: One of these style tricks (like black window frames or statement lighting) might transform your living room into a sanctuary you'll never want to leave.

Living room ideas - Green Accent Wall
Photo: Dabito

Is your living room decor in desperate need of a refresh? Whether you haven't redecorated in a decade or just want an easy trick to perk up an outdated sofa, these unexpected living room decor ideas will update your space. Borrowing some of the best decor ideas from designers and bloggers, we've compiled a list of the most inspiring ways to liven up your living room. Whether you decide to add a pop of pattern or set the scene with an eye-catching area rug, these pro-approved tips will create a stylish, comfortable living room you'll actually want to live in.

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Celebrate the Architecture

Living Room Decorating Ideas, Architecture, neutral room with ceiling medallion

You can give your old home a modern facelift but still keep cool details. Here, Carli of Made By Carli updated an old-school ceiling medallion with a contemporary ceiling fan. Pairing two opposites ends up being a match made in heaven.

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Embrace Color

Living Room Decorating Ideas, Bells + Whistles
Bells + Whistles / Photo by Madeline Tolle

Don't be afraid to introduce dramatic bursts of color. Take a cue from Bells+Whistles design and pair statement furniture pieces with clean lines and white walls for balance.

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Play with Pattern

Living Room Decor Ideas, Alexis Garrett
Alexis Garrett Design / Photo by Madie McKay

Feeling nervous about introducing a pattern? Alexis Garrett of Alexis Garrett Design makes it look easy in her own living room. Pairing the color in the gingham pattern with the rest of the colors in the living room helps it all feel cohesive.

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Take a Seat!

Unexpected Living Room Decorating Ideas, Neutral room
Mackenzie and Co. / Photo by Molly Lo Photography

Get clever about how you add ample seating to a living room, especially if you love to entertain.

Mackenzie & Co. uses poufs and benches for flexible seating that can be moved around as needed—or serve as an impromptu footrest.

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Up the Contrast

Living Room Decor Ideas, Sofa with Patterned Pillow
J. Miller Interiors / Photo by Amanda Marie Interiors

A neutral living room gets a bit of contrast from black window frames. The designers at J. Miller Interiors are masters at making clean lines and tone-on-tone texture feel relaxing and calming, yet still fresh. One unexpected element can elevate a simple living room design.

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Make It Personal

Living Room Ideas, Pretty Real Blog
Pretty Real

If you're over gallery walls, Tiffany at Pretty Real offers an inexpensive solution for showing off your favorite art and family photos. Use a photo ledge instead. It makes it easy to swap new things in and out, too.

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Hang a Statement Light

Unexpected Living Room Decor Ideas, North Fork Design Co
North Fork Design Co./Photo by Kyle Caldwell

A dining room isn't the only place for a wow-worthy lighting fixture. This living room from North Fork Design Co. uses the most beautiful multi-bulb display piece to make the entire living room feel elevated and unique.

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Try a New Sofa Shape

Living Room Decor Ideas, Brad Knipstein
R. Brad Knipstein

Not into a traditional L-shaped sectional? Try a different shape, like this subtle curved version that K Interiors used here. Not only does it look more custom, it creates more room for people to put their feet up and get cozy.

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Add Unframed Art

Banner Day Living Room, Unframed Art
Banner Day Interiors / Photo by Colin Price

Don't be afraid to go bold with an eye-catching piece of art that feels less formal than a framed version. It makes this living room from Banner Day Interiors feel a bit brighter, more fun, and a little less proper.

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Fresh Accent Wall

Living room ideas - Green Accent Wall

Want a low-budget, high-impact living room decor idea? Add an accent wall, as Dabito did here in this colorful living room.

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Hang a Collection

Hanging baskets

Hang an eclectic collection of baskets to serve as eye-catching ornaments like blogger Dabito did here in this New Orleans home.

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Introduce Greenery

Green Plant in Living Room
Allison Pickart

Bring the outdoors in with a large plant as the focal point on a table, as designer Alison Pickart did here.

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Bring in Nature

Natural living room
Photo by Michael Giragosian for Taniya Nayak Design

Comfort is key for this living room designed by Taniya Nayak, right on the water in Florida. Instead of bold colors, create visual interest through layers of soft textures and subtle, naturally inspired patterns throughout the room, as shown here.

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Feature a Wild Print

Bold Wall
Genevieve Garruppo

Create a bold accent wall with paint, as homepolish designer Megan Crawley did, to add some contrast to a simple sofa.

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Make Furniture Symmetrical

Symmetrical living room
Photo by Thomas Kuoh

This living room, designed by Emilie Munroe of Studio Munroe, features both symmetry and balance. Two oversized lounge chairs flank the fireplace, creating the ideal conversation spot for a busy couple with a few moments to catch up.

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Pick the Right-Size Rug

Large rug in living room
Thomas Kuoh for Nest Design Co.

Designers Heather Brock and Jennifer Wundrow of Nest Design Co. used a living room rug larger than the overall seating to make the room feel bigger. "It's a misconception that a smaller rug makes a room feel larger, when in fact a smaller rug can make the room feel a bit more fragmented. We love when all the furniture sits on the rug creating an intimate and cohesive space," according to the designers.

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Invest in Classic Pieces of Furniture

Pink and blue living room
Oscar Urizar of Red Eye Collection

Designer Courtney Heaton recommends sticking to tradition with larger pieces and adding trendier elements with small items. "We suggest anchoring the room with pieces that will stand the test of time, like this navy sectional with clean lines and these classic swivel chairs. Then you can have fun with pillows and x benches that can easily be changed out for a whole new look!"

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Let Pieces Work Together

Oh Joy! green living room
Photo by Lily Glass for Oh Joy!

Use a rug to draw the eye in the direction of furniture you want to highlight, like blogger Oh Joy! did here in this minty living room.

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Create Intimate Conversation Areas

Amanda Teal Living Room
John Merkl

Get the furniture layout just right, says interior designer Amanda Teal of Amanda Teal Design. "Always measure your space and start with a plan, so you know the furniture sizes that best suit the space. In this room, we started with the perfect spot for the piano and layered in the sofa and plush lounge chairs around it. Because we had a plan, the scale and proportion of the furniture are harmonious in the space. This configuration also maximizes seating and creates multiple intimate conversation areas."

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Create Visual Interest

Room Divider
Seth Caplan

Use a patterned room divider to add visual interest, like homepolish designer Ariel Okin did here.

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Welcome Pops of Color

Colorful Pillows
Ashley Stringfellow/Modern Glam

Give emphasis to a neutral room by adding a few smart hits of color as lifestyle blogger Ashley Stringfellow of Modern Glam did here with these adorable pillows.

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Add a Mirror (or Two)

Mirrors in living room
Photo by Jeff Beck

Design firm Massucco Warner Miller introduced a statement mirror in the living room. Not only does it serve as a focal point in the space, but the reflective surface bounces light around the room.

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Perk Up a Bare Wall

Camille Styles Living Room
Molly Culver for Camille Styles

Bring the outside in with pieces that take you to the beach, just as blogger Camille Styles did in her chic living room. "To create that ambiance, I place shells and coral on every surface, and most of the art on the walls reflects some far-flung beach locale."

See more tips in 3 Stylish and Simple Ways to Dress Up Your Walls.

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Incorporate Personal Heirlooms

Neutral Living Room
Photo by Aubrie Pick

Everything is personal in the San Francisco showhouse by Decorist elite designer Simone Howell. "The living room is a place where you should feel totally at ease, whether you love a calm neutral palette or something vibrant. Layering objects like coffee table books that represent your family's passions in addition to travel trinkets such as blown glass votives bring an additional layer of intimacy to a space."

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Curate Your Throw Pillows

Vibrant living room with sofa and bold artwork
Lauren Bradshaw for Pencil & Paper Co.

To perk up a plain (or outdated) sofa, try adding throw pillows that fit your style. For a traditional style, opt for an even number of symmetrically-arranged pillows. For a more casual aesthetic, choose an odd number.

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Arrange the Seating Strategically

Couch pillows

Create a cozy conversation area by grouping seating around a large window, taking advantage of light and views.

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Pick a (Removable) Pattern

Tropical Living Room

Whether you love palm leaf prints or polka dots, consider adding a splash of pattern to the living room. Looking for a low-commitment option? Try temporary wallpaper.

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Choose One Colorful Statement Piece

Colorful living room
Photo by Lily Glass for Oh Joy!

Add an easy pop of color with a bright chair, just as blogger Oh Joy! did in this sitting area. Complete the room with a gallery wall, plenty of plants to bring the outdoors in, and chunky knits to make things cozy.

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Brush on a Bold Color

Joy Cho Green Living Room
Photo by Lily Glass for Oh Joy!

Go all-in on a specific color scheme, like blogger Oh Joy! did here in this green living room. Balance out the green by incorporating two shades, as she did with the sofa and wall color.

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Divide the Room

Open Living Room
Photo by Thomas Heinser

Designers Cecilia Sagrera and George Brazil of Sagrera Brazil Design created zones in this open-plan living area. "Using a curved sofa with a curved console behind it helps to separate the living and dining areas. Using a few curved pieces of furniture like a coffee table helps to break up the hard angles of the architecture." If you have an open-plan living room, consider incorporating some curved pieces of furniture.

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