35 Living Room Looks We're Loving Now

From bright, sunny spaces to moody lounges to cheery chambers filled with color, our living room ideas will turn your den or family room into a stylish spot you'll love living in.

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May 14, 2020
By: H. Camille Smith and Karin Beuerlein

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Save Space With a Sectional

The ultimate in cozy comfort, sectionals offer up max seating in minimum square footage. This midmod-inspired lounger invites up to 10 adults to cozy up for a chat or relax with a favorite movie.

See More Photos: Sofa Secrets: Tips for Selecting a Comfy Couch

Try a Boomerang Style

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

Learn More: Trending Now: The Eames Lounge and Ottoman

Take It Outside

There's no hard and fast rule that your living room must be indoors. If you're lucky enough to live in a clime that supports outdoor living, bring cozy indoor furniture out to turn a screened-in porch into an easy-breezy outdoor living room.

See More Photos: Tour a Beautiful 160-Year-Old Home Filled With Pattern

Wow With Wood

Repurposed wood walls are popping up everywhere — from chic, urban living rooms to cozy country dens. Kitchen Cousins host John Colaneri put old barn boards to work to give the living room in his own home a rustic, timeworn aesthetic. See more of John's trend-savvy home, as featured in HGTV Magazine, below.

See More Photos: John Colaneri's Expertly Designed Home

Or, Make Wood Part of the Design

Who knew kindling could be so chic? In this soaring living room, a custom-crafted niche stores stacked firewood that adds a rustic element to this sunny, contemporary living room.

Make It Furry Functional

For the majority of Americans, pets are family so figure them into your plans when planning your living room. For upholstered pieces, opt for easy-to-clean fabric that features indoor/outdoor durability, like Sunbrella, or performance fabric that resists stains, moisture and odors, like Crypton.

Learn More: 9 Tips for a Chic, Pet-Friendly Home

Make It Family Friendly

Any parent will tell you that kids = stuff. Lots and lots of stuff. And it's easy to let their toys take over the house. Minimize the mess with dedicated storage solutions, like lidded baskets or chests, storage ottomans or built-ins. Also, opt for durable fabrics like leather that's easy to wipe clean when the inevitable spills happen.

See More Photos: 30 Tips for Creating a Family-Friendly Living Room

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.

See More Photos: Pros and Cons of Open-Concept Floor Plans

Or, Close It Off

Barn doors have moved inside — and for good reason: They're a stylish solution for adding privacy to any size of door opening. Without the cost and hassle of a major remodel, just a push takes your living room from open and free-flowing to private and secluded.

See More Photos: How to Use a Barn Door in Any Room

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.

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, she creates a timeless space that's warm, welcoming and full of charm.

See More Photos: Sarah Richardson Turns a Farmhouse Into a Retreat

Cue the Color

Filling your living room with shades of your favorite hue is a surefire way to create a room you’ll love living in. Fuchsia and orange bring the drama to this cheery living room while black accents keep it grounded.

Or, Stick to a Single Shade

A rhapsody in blue, this boho-inspired living room feels serene and cheery, thanks in large part to layered shades of blue. From the batik-dyed shibori fabric panels in crisp white frames, to the preppy striped sofa piled with pillows in assorted watery shades, this living room's tone-on-tone approach is pitch perfect.

Wow With Wallpaper

Whether you opt to add just an accent wall or go all-in, wallpaper is a can't-miss fix for boring walls. Removable papers have come a long way, too, making wallpaper a realistic option for renters and those among us who like to frequently refresh our look.

Invest in a Classic

Speaking of wallpaper, grasscloth may be costly but it's a timeless wall treatment that never goes out of style. Unlike installing other wallpapers yourself (looking at you, removable paper) grasscloth is definitely a job for the pros: matching up the seams can be tricky, the paper needs to be soaked to allow the natural fibers to expand and grasscloth is typically unpasted so it requires extra prep work before hanging. But, the finished result is uniquely beautiful, natural and oh-so sophisticated. No other wall treatment looks — or feels — like textural grasscloth.

See More Photos: 20 Trendy + Texture-Rich Grasscloth Wallpaper Looks

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." 

Display Your Travels

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," Kerrie says. "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."

See More Photos: 20 Mantel and Bookshelf Decorating Tips

Curate a Gallery Wall

A wall is another great way to show off your passions, put your favorite photos, paintings or prints on display. For a streamlined, modern look, use frames and mats in the same color or embrace eclecticism with a mix of antique or vintage frames in a variety of finishes.

See More Photos: 5 No-Fail Gallery Wall Looks to Try at Home

From: Bea Pila

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.

Style the Coffee Table

Trays are indeed handy-dandy things — equally useful for turning assorted coffee table tchotchkes into a vignette as they are for serving cocktails when guests arrive. Purchase or craft your own decorative tray and fill it with TV remotes and decorative items, like colorful books, decorative accessories and a live plant or blooms clipped from the backyard.

See More Photos: 15 Designer Tips for Styling Your Coffee Table

Go to the Dark Side

From home exteriors to high-end appliances, charcoal colors have definitely be trending for the last few years. Moving into spaces meant for relaxing, like this cozy lounge, was a natural next step. Moody and dramatic, the saturated walls and midnight-hued sofa combine to create a cocoon-like effect, perfect for enjoying your favorite flick.

See More Photos: Paint It Black: The Glory of Dark Interiors

Or, Make It Pretty in Pink

... Or blue ... or green ... or yellow. It's your living room, so make it a reflection of your own unique design and color sensibilities. Throw out the rule book and truly individualize it by filling it with your signature shades. After all, home should be your happy place.

See More Photos: 30+ Design Tricks to Make Your Home Your Happy Place

Pop In a Plant

Or two or three ... when it comes to adding plants to any space, more is definitely more. In addition to cleaning the air of common indoor pollutants, houseplants have been proven to reduce our stress levels and increase our overall sense of well-being. Plus, they bring the outdoors in beautifully, helping us to feel more connected to Mother Nature.

Learn More: How to Care for a Fiddle Leaf Fig

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.

See More Photos: 12 Expert Tips for Lighting Your Great Room

Or, Rely on the Power of Paint

Bright white paint, that is. HGTV designer Leanne Ford is known for her love of white paint and this sunny living room is a shining example of white done right. Painting out not just the wall's wainscoting and window trim but also the ceiling and crown molding in the same reflective shade draws attention to the room's stunning focal point: the century-old Carrara marble fireplace surround.

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 powder blue used in this small space.

See More Photos: A New Home Packed With Old-Fashioned Charm

Make the Most of Odd Corners

This curving staircase is a stunner on its own but turning the space beneath it into a cozy reading nook takes it to a new level. Designer Bria Hammel maximizes the storage space with bookcases while custom, curvy bench seating provides a soft spot to curl up with a good book.

Take Living Down a Level

As in, to the basement. Designer Sarah Richardson made the most of this home's available square footage by finishing the basement with waterproofed, insulated walls and digging out to turn the formerly dark space into a sunny walk-out. Large windows and a sliding glass door flood the space that now serves as a den and game room, with sunlight.

See More Photos: Sarah's Suburban House: New Home, Classic Style

Make Art Pop

Oversize pieces of art are this year's focal points, especially when hung above the fireplace. The standout feature in this sunny living room is the abstract painting above the mantel. "A subtle background provides a gallery-like backdrop to allow artwork to sing," designer Kerrie Kelly says. Here, the natural grasscloth walls provide a neutral backdrop so the painting can draw your eye.

Belly Up to the Bar

Wet bars were a must-have for living rooms a few decades ago but bar carts, with their streamlined mobility, are having their moment now. Invite guests to help themselves at a well-stocked bar. Providing an assortment of sodas as mixers, spirits — gin, vodka, rum and whiskey — and liqueurs — vermouth, orange liqueur and bitters — will ensure anyone can mix up their favorite cocktail.

Learn More: Bar Cart Essentials for Every Style

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. 

Go Coastal

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

See More Photos: 30 Cool, Coastal-Inspired Living Rooms

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. If damage isn't a concern, go all-in with a vintage Oriental rug to give your living room a big boost of one-of-a-kind charm.

See More Photos: Oriental Rugs 101

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. 

Be Fashion Forward

The menswear look is hot, and you can dress up almost any piece of upholstered furniture with a GQ attitude. Here, clothing-inspired patterns — plaid and stripes — nod to the trend while still keeping it classic. "For fabric patterns, you can also go with herringbone, houndstooth or Glen plaid," says designer Kerrie Kelly. "Just think Ralph Lauren and you'll nail it."

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