How to Design a Living Room in 4 Easy Steps

Whether you’re moving into a new home or you’ve decided that your current home needs a fresh update, it’s important to have a design plan in place before you start setting up your living room. Anyone can toss in a couch and a few decorative items, but knowing how to design a living room that draws people in with its warmth and sophistication is pretty much an art form.



You may be thinking, “I got a ‘C’ in art class, so this isn’t very encouraging,” but have no fear. If you’re looking for living room design help, you’ve come to the right place, as this easy-to-follow guide will help you to create an Instagram-worthy space that emanates style, class, and sophistication. Here are four steps on how to create a sophisticated living room for your home.


1. Determine Your Color Scheme and Design Style

If you’re not sure where to start when decorating your living room and choosing a color theme, your furniture can be a great place to start. Whether you have a name-brand set or a collection of mix-and-match furniture, it’s important to base your color scheme around those pieces.



This particular living room has mix-and-match furniture — a microfiber beige couch, a beige leather recliner, and a dark brown microfiber recliner. (As a side note, if you’re going to go with a mix-and-match theme, knowing how to mix and match your couches and chairs properly is an important first step, and it’s easier than you might think!)



Since these colors are warm and neutral, an earth tone color scheme seems appropriate for this room. Brown, tan, and beige with pops of red, turquoise, green, and a few metallic pieces will bring the warm and inviting tone that’s desired. Most people prefer traditional décor with a modern twist (instead of being overly contemporary), and that’s the style that we’ll mix with our earth tone colors.


2. Create a Focal Point and Arrange Furniture Around It

As with most homes, the television is usually the focal point in the living room. This room has an ornate fireplace with a mantle, which provides the perfect spot for a flat-screen TV.



Since the TV is in the middle of the wall, it lends itself to a fairly easy setup when it comes to furniture arrangement. The couch is directly in front of it, and the two recliners are on either side of the couch, angled slightly inward to provide a comfortable line of sight for the TV.



3. Add an Area Rug for Visual Interest

Now that you’ve determined your color scheme, established a focal point, and arranged your furniture accordingly, it’s time to get to the fun part: décor! Visual interest is an important component of interior design, as it removes the “boring” element of a room when done correctly. It helps to break up the monotony of a bland space by adding statement pieces that provide attractive patterns, textures, and colors to a plain backdrop.


Since this room has neutral, solid-colored furniture as well as a neutral-colored carpet, an area rug with an eye-catching pattern will really liven up the space. When choosing an area rug with the perfect design for your living room, it’s important to consider not only the size of the room, but also the placement of the furniture.



If your living room already has carpeting like this room does, there’s no need to have an area rug that extends underneath the furniture. Instead, find an area rug that fits perfectly in the middle without covering too much of the floor. This area rug is the perfect size, and its rectangular shape and vertical angle break up the monotony of the beige carpeting that runs horizontally. A small, tastefully-decorated coffee table completes the look without taking up too much space.


4. Add Accent Colors with Vibrant Décor Pieces

If you’re wondering how you should decorate your living room so that it emanates an elegant and sophisticated tone, the sky’s the limit when it comes to home décor. Throw pillows or bench cushions, wall art, wrought iron décor, flowers, and photos are just a few of the ways that you can bring a chic look to your space. Adding a few décor items that have a reflective, shiny hue or rich metallic tones like copper and gold are the perfect way to make the room feel rich and sophisticated.



If you’re concerned about overdoing it or aren’t sure where to place things, a great way to avoid a cluttered look is to implement built-in shelves. The clean white background on this wall is the perfect place for decorative items, and the built-in shelving on either side of this fireplace provides a level of symmetry. If you’re looking for other ideas to decorate a living room that don’t involve shelving, wall art and wrought iron décor are also a great way to bring character to your living room.



If you’re looking for a two-for-one type of deal (who doesn’t love that?), functional items can also be used as statement pieces. As seen here, a wrought iron fireplace screen can also double as a decorative item because the ornate pattern and metallic hue bring some vibrancy to an otherwise boring fireplace. Magic!



Designing a sophisticated living room isn’t as hard as it seems. If you create a design plan before you start, you’ll have smooth sailing during your setup (and happy guests when you throw your awesome dinner parties).


Images used with permission, courtesy of Kelly O'Roark

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