20 Living Room Looks We're Loving

From well-traveled collections to sophisticated menswear patterns, experts share which living room looks are topping the list this year.
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April 16, 2015
By: H. Camille Smith and Karin Beuerlein

Photo By: David A. Land (Styled by Christina Wressell)

© Photography by Aaron Leitz

©Design by Emily Henderson

Photo By: Jim Bastardo

Photo By: ©iStockphoto.com/KristianSeptimiusKrogh

Photo By: David A. Land (styled by Charlotte Safavi)

Photo By: Sarah Wilson/ Getty Images © 2013, HGTV/ Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Hyde Evans Design

Photo By: Suzi Q

Wow With Wood

Repurposed wood walls are popping up everywhere — from formal big-city living rooms to cozy country dens. Kitchen Cousins host John Colaneri put old barn boards to work to give the living room in his new home a rustic, timeworn aesthetic. See more of John's trendy-savvy home, that was featured in HGTV Magazine

Engage in Pillow Talk

If you aren't using pillows to add color and texture to your living area, you're missing a great opportunity. More fabric and pattern options are available now than ever before. "The secret to combining different patterns is to pay attention to scale," says designer Robin Callan. "Mix a big pattern with a medium or small one." In this living room, the gray-and-white patterned pillow is a bit more subdued, allowing the pink floral pillow to really pop. Photo courtesy of Romo.

Try a Boomerang Style

Whether your favorite design period is the high-style Art Deco of the '20s and '30s or the sleek sculptural minimalism of midcentury modern, throwback looks are all the rage. Including even one vintage piece is an easy way to take your living room's style from cookie cutter to trend setter. 

Mix Old With New

Designer Sarah Richardson keeps it cozy in her farmhouse living room by shopping antique stores and auctions to uncover one-of-a-kind finds like the weathered trade sign over the mantel and antique grandfather clock. Paired with new upholstered pieces, the room is warm, welcoming and full of charm. 

Double the Functionality

Today's living rooms need to serve multiple functions and have the ability to accommodate large groups of people, so versatile pieces are a must, says designer Kerrie Kelly. Oversized ottomans that double as a coffee table and provide hidden storage are a smart choice for hiding away kids' or pets' toys. "You can have all sorts of trendy pieces at your fingertips for an affordable price," she says. "Crate & Barrel, CB2 and Room & Board offer versatile pieces that will stand the test of time." 

Open It Up

Open-concept kitchen/living rooms have been growing steadily in popularity over the last few years and this hot trend shows no signs of cooling off soon. A great option for families with children or people who entertain often, open-concept rooms also feel much more spacious than similarly sized spaces that are separated by a wall. 

Put Your Travels on Display

Global design, whether collected for years or curated on the spot, is a look that's certainly on trend. Designer Kerrie Kelly likes to feature the art and pottery collections of well-traveled homeowners rather than replace them with new accessories that have no real meaning. "In the past, we might have bought everything new for a living room," says Kerrie. "These days we feature what homeowners have already collected through their heritage or world travels. Books, artwork, rugs and earthenware can be used in an authentic design that also tells the family history." 

Go Crazy for Color

Filling your living room with shades of your favorite hue is a surefire way to create a room you’ll love living in. Blue-and-white is a no-fail color combo; mix in a few sunny splashes of yellow to energize the look. Our friends at HGTV Magazine share more ways to create a colorful living room

Focus on the Fireplace

A fireplace is the living room's natural focal point — give it its due with a surround and mantel that fits your home's style and decor. For instance, the soft hues of the matte glazed tiles surrounding this firebox are right in step with the home's midcentury modern vibe. 

Dramatically Light It Up

The right light fixture can not only add a big dose of style to your living room, it can also improve the room's functionality while making a small space feel larger. When choosing light fixtures, think of how the space will be used. If the answer is for entertaining, choose a single large fixture with a lot of wow factor, then add in smaller fixtures throughout the space for ambient lighting.  

Add Built-Ins to Work In Storage

Maximize functionality in even the smallest living room with built-in storage. Flanking a fireplace with custom- or ready-made bookcases lends a classic look while making the most of the space you have. Highlight the architectural addition with a cheery paint color, like the dreamy blue used in this small space featured in HGTV Magazine

Belly Up to the Bar

Wet bars were a must-have living room fixture in the '70s while bar carts are enjoying an explosion in popularity today — but what do you do if you're short on space? Upcycle old wood pallets into this hanging bar that folds up when not in use, then cleverly provides ample display and serving space when open.  

Or, Add a Different Type of Bar

If cocktails aren't your thing, treat guests, family (and yourself!) to a coffee bar instead. Stocked with mugs, fresh-ground beans and a variety of flavored syrups, everyone can whip up their favorite cup o' joe in a flash. 

Try a New Twist on Nature

"Natural patterns and colors create an approachable look," says designer Kerrie Kelly. "It's also a classic look that never goes out of style." Give nature a modern twist by incorporating natural patterns, like the zebra print here, in playful, saturated shades. Balanced with plenty of neutrals, the tangerine animal print feels contemporary, not kitschy. 

Go Coastal

Whether you live seaside or miles from the nearest body of water, incorporating just a few beachy touches can give even land-locked living rooms a laidback, vacation vibe. 

Focus on the Floor

A bold rug is a great way to add a lot of pattern to a large, and often overlooked, area of your living room — the floor. If you're concerned that a bold pattern is something you'll tire of quickly or if your home is filled with pets and kids and you're worried about the wear and tear, try replaceable carpet tiles instead of a single large rug. 

Make Your Art Pop

Big dramatic pieces of art are this year's focal points, especially when hung above the fireplace. The standout feature in HGTV Dream Home's great room is the giclee Ikat artwork above the mantel. "A subtle background provides a gallery-like backdrop to allow artwork to sing," designer Kerrie Kelly says. Here, the natural stone wall provides a stunning background to allow the prints to make a strong statement. 

Go Gray All the Way

Gray has steadily earned the title of designers' neutral of choice. Whether dark and stormy or whisper soft, gray is the perfect complement to pastels, primary colors and every hue in between. 
From: James Rixner

Don a Pinstripe Suit

The menswear look is hot, and you can dress up almost any piece of upholstered furniture with a GQ attitude. Kerrie Kelly designed this bachelor's space with pinstripe-covered chairs and a "pocket square" — the dash of red on the accent wall. "For fabric patterns, you can also go with herringbone, houndstooth or Glen plaid," she says. "Just think Ralph Lauren and you'll nail it." 

Play Up Contrast

Here's another take on how to handle outsized artwork. Rather than mute the backdrop, designer Robin Callan drew colors from the piece into the room for her client, the owner of Austin's Art on 5th gallery. "We needed something that had a lot of style but was very simple so as not to distract from the art," says Robin. "One easy way to do that is to use contrast so that it feels bold without feeling busy." The sofa adds a dark punch without the chatter of patterned fabric, a quiet addition to an eye-catching wall. 

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