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Living Room Décor 101: Beginners Guide on How to Decorate a Living Room

by Michael Webster

Modern living room with brick walls and contemporary furniture.

If you’re thinking about decorating your house to create a more soothing and appealing living space, the first place to check off the list should be the living room. Not sure where to start? Don’t sweat it ― we’ve got you covered. Before you start putting up your favorite home décor all over your space, you should consider color, furniture, and how you want to arrange and accessorize your living room. This will help you create a seamless design that flows well and transitions through the rest of your home. A truly functional design makes for the ultimate piece of mind, so follow along with our complete guide to discover how to decorate a living room and bring your interior space back to life.

At a Glance:

Make a Game Plan

Put Your Ideas into Action

Finishing Touches

Make a Game Plan

Since your living room is the focal point for all sorts of activities, from get togethers to movie nights, you should design your living room home décor with real life in mind. Envisioning how you want your space to look beforehand is a crucial step because if you start decorating or rearranging furniture without any rhyme or reason, your living room will feel incomplete. You don’t want your living room to feel stuffy or outdated ― we spend a huge chunk of our lives in our living rooms, and the aesthetic should reflect that. That could mean an array of different things depending on the person; it might mean a place to read, a place to nap, or a place to host gatherings with family and friends. Regardless of the event you frequent the most in your living room, develop a layout and furniture plan that takes your needs and lifestyle into account.

Couple choosing the right color for the walls, while renovating their living room.

When designing your space, there are several living room decorating tips to keep in mind in the early phase that will greatly benefit you in the long run.

  • Color scheme: What colors do you like? What colors will really help make this room pop? Color can be the primary factor in the overall feel of your living room and can help when it comes to a room’s size. If it’s small, brighter colors help open a space up and vice versa for larger spaces that could use a more intimate feel.
  • Room layout: How do you want the room to flow? It could be creating a conversation area or somewhere to eat to create balance amongst your other furniture.
  • Make sure to measure: The last thing you want is to come home with furniture or décor that won’t fit your space. Be sure to take the proper measurements of your living room and furniture beforehand to ensure a perfect fit.  
  • Current furniture: Are there current pieces in your living room that you plan to incorporate in your new arrangement? If so, make sure to plan accordingly when adding new furniture, accessories, or deciding on a color scheme.
  • Adding furniture and décor: Depending on your budget, you’ll need to decide what you plan on adding to your living room space to create the ideal look you’re going for. Prioritize what you’ll need to complete your aesthetic and what might flow nicely with the rest of your furniture.

Put Your Ideas into Action

Now that we’ve spilled the beans on a few tactics of how to design a living room space, it’s time to execute your vision into reality!

Start with Bigger Pieces

As with all great living room décor ideas, we recommend starting with your bigger furniture pieces to set the tone. Position your sofa and accent chairs first. If you need an easy way to decorate your living room, or your hardwood or tile floors need some attitude and warmth, an area rug can be the perfect solution. Rugs come in a wide variety of colors, prints, shapes, and sizes, and they can be an excellent way to add some texture and personality to your space.

Woman crouching down to pet dog on a large area rug.

If you have all your main furniture pieces but it still feels like something is missing, end tables, coffee tables, console tables, or table sets can help fill the gaps in your living room and help give your space a refined and finished look. An additional table provides a convenient place to set beverages or snacks and can become a focal point in your living room as the eye is drawn to the shape.


With having the bigger, key pieces of furniture taken care of, now it’s time to decide how you want to your modern living room décor to shine. Lighting can be a complex aspect of any room, especially in a space where there’s heavy foot traffic and activity. Lighting can warm up your space or cool it down, depending on the type of light you choose. There are several different types of lighting such as ambient, task, and accent lighting that can be placed at different levels throughout the room to highlight different areas without interrupting your space. We recommend adding overhead chandeliers, floor lamps, table lamps, or elegantly-styled pendant lighting like this rectangular pendant light from Signature Design by Ashley to give your living room a contemporary, yet relaxing ambience.

Modern living room with hardwood floors, a long wooden table, several chairs and other furniture, as well as ample lighting throughout.

Finishing Touches

Don’t Forget the Walls

Empty walls are a sign of an incomplete and unfinished room (and we all obviously want to avoid that). You don’t need to fill every inch of wall space, however, incorporating decorative art to fill the bare space is a great way to decorate your living room. Be sure to incorporate a living room wall design with art pieces that speak to who you are and what you want the room to embody. Choose art or prints that express your interests. Or try dimensional wall art like these StyleCraft black burts, Just be sure to find something that will capture your unique style.

Plants, Plants, Plants

You don’t have to be a diehard greenthumb to know that plants make every space they dwell in a more soothing and peaceful surrounding. Plants make for the perfect finishing touch in any living room and will make it look fresher and more inviting. If you need some inspiration for displaying your green beauties, this four-tiered plant stand from Denman is an ideal way to showcase your cascading greenery, unique succulents, or any other plant you want to display in your living room. And if you’re looking for something with a little more structure to show off your green side, this plant stand from Powell will instantly add remarkable style to your living room.

Scandinavian interior designed living room with beige colored furniture and wooden elements.

Time to Accessorize

Now that we’ve essentially covered all the basics of home décor ideas for living rooms, it’s time to take a look and see what accessories could make for the perfect complement to your living space. One of the best options to accent your living room décor is with stylish and comfortable throw pillows. Throw pillows come in a huge variety of colors, prints, sizes, fabrics, and styles making them a great way to add a little flair or color to your living room.

Living room with openwork metal table, grey sofa, and bookcase.

And if you’re looking to give your home a more personal touch, incorporate decorative home accents to help complete your living room look. Include pieces that complement your overall design aesthetic, whether it’s a tasteful cock, decorative jars, or candle holders.

Shop Top-Rated Furniture Brands at Colder’s 

At the end of the day, remember, it’s your living room — have fun with it. Choosing furniture and decoration pieces should be an exciting experience and a welcomed opportunity to reflect your true uniqueness. Furniture and home décor are an expression of the personality and give you the chance to choose your own path.

And if you’re ready to take the leap and start designing your new living room, you can browse our furniture catalog to check out the best name-brand products our catalog has to offer to complement your freshly designed space. If you have any questions related to our inventory or delivery timelines, don’t hesitate to call us at 1-414-476-1574 or visit our Colder's experts at any of our four Southeastern Wisconsin locations. More accessible than ever, we can also be reached via chat!