30 Easy and Unexpected Living Room Decorating Ideas
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 Whether you haven't redecorated in a decade or just want an easy trick to perk up an outdated sofa, these unexpected living room decor ideas will update your space.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.
Celebrate the Architecture
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.
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.
Play with Pattern
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.
Take a Seat!
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 foot rest.
Up the Contrast
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. A simple living room design can be elevated by throwing in one element that feels unexpected.
Make It Personal
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.
Hang a Statement Light
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.
Try a New Sofa Shape
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.
Add Unframed Art
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 whole living room from Banner Day Interiors feel a bit brighter, more fun, and a little less formal.
Fresh Accent Wall
Want a low-budget, high-impact living room decor idea? Add an accent wall, like Dabito did here in this colorful living room.
Hang a Collection
Hang an eclectic collection of baskets to serve as eye-catching ornament like blogger Dabito did here in this New Orleans home.
Bring the outdoors in with a large plant as focal point on a table, like designer Alison Pickart did here.
Bring in Nature
For this living room designed by Taniya Nayak, right on the water in Florida, comfort is key. Instead of bold colors, create visual interest through layers of soft textures and subtle, naturally inspired patterns throughout the room, as shown here.
Feature a Wild Print
Create a bold accent wall with paint, as homepolish designer Megan Crawley did, to add some contrast to a simple sofa.
Make Furniture Symmetrical
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.
Pick the Right-Size Rug
Designers Heather Brock and Jennifer Wundrow of Nest Design Co. used a rug larger than the overall seating to make the room feel bigger. "This is often a misconception we find in people’s homes. They are of the mindset 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.
Invest in Classic Pieces of Furniture
Designer Courtney Heaton recommends sticking to tradition with larger pieces and adding in trendier pieces 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!"
Let Pieces Work Together
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.
Create Intimate Conversation Areas
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 is harmonious in the space. This configuration also maximizes seating and creates multiple intimate conversation areas."
Create Visual Interest
Use a patterned room divider to add visual interest, like Homepolsih designer Ariel Okin did here.
Welcome Pops of Color
Give emphasis to a neutral room by adding a few smart hits of color like lifestyle blogger Ashley Stringfellow of Modern Glam did her with these adorable pillows.
Add a Mirror (or Two)
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.
Perk Up a Bare Wall
Bring the outside in with pieces that takes 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.
Incorporate Personal Heirlooms
In the Decorist's San Francisco showhouse, by Decorist elite designer Simone Howell, everything is personal. "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."
Curate Your Throw Pillows
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.
Arrange the Seating Strategically
Create a cozy conversation area by grouping seating around a large window, taking advantage of light and views.
Pick a (Removable) Pattern
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.
Choose One Colorful Statement Piece
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.
Brush on a Bold Color
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, like she did with the sofa and wall color.
Divide the Room
Designers Cecilia Sagrera and George Brazil of Sagrera Brazil Design created zones in this open-plan living area. "Using a curved sofa with curved console behind it helps to separate the living and dining areas. Using a few curved pieces of furniture 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.