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How To Fill Empty Spaces in the Living Room: 16 Ideas

A collage of living spaces.

If you are faced with the struggle of trying to furnish a large living room, look no further! We’ve created a list of sixteen different ways to fill the space, and make your living room feel cozy and liveable.

1. Use Luscious Large Indoor Plants

While some of us have the green thumb, and others do not, there are many plants that are very easy to maintain indoors, with just a little bit of love every month. All you need are hardy plants that will grow regardless of what you do to them.

Aside from Cacti and Terraniums, try the Sweetheart plant or Devil’s Ivy. They’re pretty indestructible. Plants can bring calm to any room but they also act as air conditioners to purify and improve the air quality. Some plants release oxygen at night, which can help you get a more restful sleep.

These include orchids and aloe vera as well as the peace lily. With larger plants, you can even use them to break up different areas of your home, to create privacy screens or to add a wow factor or focal point to a large room.

Try the bushy fiddle-leaf fig for greening up a corner or Chinese windmill palm. Hanging plants also add a lot of depth to a room, without actually taking up floor space. There are many beautiful ones, like spider plants, that hang out over the pot and create a beautiful cascading effect.

See more living rooms with indoor plants here.

2. Add An Office Nook

If you have a large living room, it can potentially be multi-functional. Creating a little area on the wall with a desk and chair can be the perfect place to sit and do work, write letters, or draw, while still being able to interact and be part of a larger social space.

The desk can be standing or floating, depending on the aesthetic you want, and the amount of floor space you want to take up. The space behind the sofa is usually underestimated and not used but it’s ideal for a home office nook!

Place a desk that you like there – it can be matching for the space or different for a contrasting look, the latter is a great idea to visually separate the spaces. Yet if you want a calmer and more unified look, integrate the desk into the space and find matching chairs.

If you WFH daily now or just spend a lot of time on projects at home but don’t have a designated home work space, a living room office is the solution you might be looking for.

A home office carved out of a family room or common living area can benefit from the comfort—and oftentimes extra space—that comes with this room. You don’t have to renovate, and very few furnishings are required to make this shift.

So if you’re lacking a spare room, here’s how to create an office-friendly environment with what you already have. To set up the best environment for a living room office, you’ll want to ensure that your shared spaces strike a balance of blending into one another while still retaining their separate functions.

This solution will not only look prettier from a stylistic standpoint, but it’ll also keep work from bleeding into your home life and vice versa. You can do this easily with a few key pieces of furniture and tweaks to your existing layout.

Bring in a desk and file cabinet then set up a chic divider to section off this area, or designate an empty corner as your new living room office.  

While you probably couldn’t tell your corporate boss that you hated those gray desk chairs and partitions, you have full control over office decor this time around.

You can pair you mid-century modern couch with a desk from the same era or distress your wooden file cabinets to match your rustic farmhouse entertainment center.

Novogratz Computer Desk with Storage, White Marble

3. Use Large Bookshelves

Depending on your book collection, you may be able to fill a lot of space with books alone. Their spines are often a really beautiful design to showcase, and can create an awesome display.

Getting the right bookshelf is essential: you want something that supports the weight of all those books, and is also aesthetically pleasing. There is everything available on the market, from minimalist shelves with zigzag patterns, to traditional wooden frame bookshelves with carved embellishments.

The books can be arranged in various different ways, from colour, to alphabetically by author, subject or even by year. If the bookshelves are deep, you can also push the books all the way to the front of the shelf and support them with weights behind, so that they are showcased, and the bookshelf appears full.

This visually creates a sense of plenty, and fills the space with worn objects that make the space feel lived in: like a home. Bookshelves can also house other objects, flowers, sculptures, and any other pieces you would like to put on display.

Rolanstar Bookshelf with 2 Wooden Drawers, Rustic Wood Bookshelves, Free Standing Book Shelf Industrial Shelf Free Standing Storage Shelf for Bedroom, Living Room, Home Office, Rustic Brown

4. Create separate Zones

Breaking up a large space into distinct visual rooms, with distinct functions, can really make it feel complete. It also can be difficult to create seating areas that aren’t disrupted by the flow of traffic.

A simple, yet great way to distinguish areas in a large living room is to install half-walls using columns. Half-walls are powerful enough to restore the charm lost by building conventional walls to divide space, and it is probably the most modern solution for large and open rooms. 

As a traditional homeowner, you probably think curtains are meant to do nothing more but to cover windows and doors. Modern interior design, however, prescribes them a different purpose. Curtains are by far the simplest and easiest means to divide space, and will therefore help you define the area in a snap. 

Furthermore, they won’t cost a fortune, and you’ll count on the fact that you can remove them whenever you decide. At the same time, curtains can be closed to give you some privacy, or wide open to restore space for bigger events.

On the other hand, freestanding wooden cubes placed inside metal frames make for the most interesting room dividers, being at the same time a recognizable motif you can repeat through your entire place.

A couch or chair, or even a console themselves can act as dividers, keeping the room open, but creating separate spaces to lounge, play games, watch TV, and eat.

5. Go Big

One simple way to fill space is to choose large furniture pieces for all of your needs. If you’ve got the space, why not? A large couch can be so luxurious, and pairing it with large side tables, coffee table, and accent pieces can really make a large room feel grand, and not empty. 

Great rooms or large living areas can end up feeling cluttered if you put too many small pieces in the room without at a couple of anchoring pieces.

A sectional, large sofa, large coffee table and even built in bookcases or a piano will help anchor a room so smaller pieces can be tucked in here and there as accents if necessary.Do you have tall ceilings that makes your room feel out of balance? Opt for taller furniture whenever possible.

If furniture is all short, your ceilings will feel too tall and your furniture will be dwarfed. Consider a taller bookcase, an armoire, taller backs on chairs and sofas and taller accessories.

Walker Edison Modern Wood Glass Door Buffet Sideboard Living Room-Entryway Serving Storage Cabinet Doors-Dining Room Console, 60 Inch, Dark Teal

6. Play With Wallpaper

While there are many ways to actually fill a space with physical objects, there are ways to visually fill it without adding any objects that clutter it. Wallpaper is a really beautiful way to create texture and depth in any room.

While it was traditionally used on all the walls in a room, wallpaper can be just placed on an accent wall, to create a pop, while not overwhelming the room and making it feel crowded. Accent wallpaper has become extremely popular over the last few years.

The latest temporary wallpapers can give you a designer look without a long-term commitment. Look for wallpaper with pretty designs and colors for a chic style. For renters, temporary wallpaper is a clever way to personalize your home.

NextWall Morris Flower Botanical Peel and Stick Wallpaper (Denim Blue & Salmon)

7. Use Floor Lighting

While overhead lighting is the norm, as well as lamps on tables, you can also play with standing lamps that will add depth and character to a room. There are some very well crafted and beautiful large-scale standing lamps, from mid-century modern style, to gothic, and even to farmhouse.

If you live in a place where you can’t add windows or add/replace lights that are hard-wired, floor lamps are your new best friend. They can brighten up a room without a big price tag. They can also make a really big statement about your style because they are BIG.

Choose one that complements your style. Their large size often means they hold multiple bulbs or higher wattage bulbs. Floor lamps can really lighten up every room. Arch floor lamp work well over a chair or over a couch.

These lamps are large enough that they can add height to a space and act like a sculptural element in the room. They can also add lots of light at a desk or a workspace that needs task lighting.

Artiva USA Micah - 5 Arc Brushed Steel Floor Lamp w/ Dimmer Switch, 360 Degree Rotatable Shades - Dim Options - Bright & Attractive - Solid Construction - Stainless Steel - Industrial & Mid-Century

8. Use An Area Rug

The greatest and easiest way to add warmth to a room is to add an area rug. It will automatically make the room feel more full, and pull together all of the different furniture if you get the right one.

When selecting an area rug, make sure that it extends under all the key pieces of furniture in the room. In a living room, for instance, all of the furniture should be on top of the rug. If this isn’t possible, it’s okay to have the front legs of major upholstered pieces on the rug and the back legs off.

However, all the legs of smaller pieces should be on the rug. Area rugs are a great way to inject playfulness and fun into the room, so embrace color and pattern while shopping.

There are many inexpensive options available, so if you decide you don’t like it after a couple of years, it’s easy to change.

Loloi II Loren Collection LQ-15 Traditional Terracotta / Sky 2'-3" x 3'-9" Area Rug

9. Create Shelf Partitions

Standing Shelves can be a great way to separate a living room into multiple distinct areas, which can be necessary if you have a very large room, or it is in an elongated shape.

You can find ones that can be installed into the wall, framing it and creating a porous boundary where light can still get through, but there is a sense of distinction. 

A combination of closed units for the base and open shelves at the top is a practical choice that allows for the unobstructed flow of light and a visual connection between the living area and the rooms next to it.

There are many different arrangements you can choose, from how solid the partition is, to its height, to how far it extends into the room. It can be in the centre of the room, or on the edges, or just one side. The room is your oyster!

Loloi II Loren Collection LQ-15 Traditional Terracotta / Sky 2'-3" x 3'-9" Area Rug

10. Try A Sectional

A sectional is usually the largest option out of all the couches. The sectional is definitely worth your consideration if you have a large family or regularly host a crowd—or even if your sofa style just leans more to lounging than perching.

And while past options may have been a little over the top, today’s sectionals are much more sophisticated, ranging from streamlined versions upholstered in velvet to slipcovered linen styles.

On top of that, sectionals can be much more versatile than they appear, working as well in a small study as they do in a cavernous living room. Read on to discover everything you need to know about sectionals and why they’re the ultimate in functional seating.

Sectionals these days can also be broken up into segments, and arranged around the room as you please. It’s really modular furniture design, which can be a lot of fun!

CosmoLiving Strummer Modern Reversible Sectional Couch Upholstered in Green Velvet Fabric with Floating Ottoman

11. Use Lounging Chairs

Lounging chairs create a space in the living room that is distinct, separate from the area of the couch and coffee table, for someone to sit at and read a book, or maybe even take a nap. I love a good lounge chair, and there are so many interesting designs out there.

It is important that the chair is comfortable, but it can also be a visual feature of the room. With a small side table with a lamp, you can curate it as the perfect place to sit and read a book or magazine. The fainting couch above is also referred to as a chaise lounge though they are slightly different.

In this piece, you can see the back runs along about halfway before dipping down. On a true chaise, the back would not extend in such a manner. A bay window alcove is a delightful spot to place a chaise lounge.

It frames the piece of furniture and practically begs you to come, stretch your legs, and watch the birds flit between tree leaves. These types of household nooks and crannies are often awkward areas to find furniture for, which makes the chaise such an ideal choice.

Mid Century Lounge Chair and Ottoman, Modern Chair Classic Design, Top Grain Leather Palisander Wood, Heavy Duty Base Support for Living Room, Study, Lounge, Office (Standard, Style 1-7)

12. Create a Music Corner

Are you a music nerd? do you have a collection of hundreds of records on vinyl? The living room can be the perfect place to show off your collection, and play it for company with your record player.

So, creating a little spot with shelving for the records and a display table for the player is a great way to fill the space, with something meaningful to you. There are many custom shelving units made just for records, which can either be installed on the ground, or hanging on the wall.

Record players themselves can add a lovely vintage touch to any living room, and depending on the table you pair it with, can feel modern, or entirely a blast from the past.

If you don’t have a record collection, you can do the same thing with your collection of CD’s or cassettes, and create a nice arrangement with your sound system to make it look like part of the decor.

Novogratz Concord Turntable Stand, Double, Walnut

13. Use a Decorative Console

Color, line, texture, and scale of items such as table lamps, objets, artwork, and books are all important considerations when considering how to style a console table, whether it is located in a contemporary or more traditional space.

The space between a console table and floor can look a little awkward when empty, especially in a super collected and thoughtful space, like the hallway in the home of designer Mally Skok.

So she decided to fill the gap with two decorative baskets that complement the tabletop antiques while also adding a more casual twist.

Console tables can fill a wall space with three dimensional texture, and create a great surface for displaying some of your favourite items. From flowers, to books, to your collection of seashells: whatever you choose, you can make it your own.

Walker Edison Modern Farmhouse Accent Entryway Table Entry Table Living Room End Table, 52 Inch, Marble and Walnut

14. Choose a large Coffee Table

A large coffee table is also a great display table, but this one especially for your favourite and most prized art books. I love to constantly re-arrange my coffee table, putting on new flowers, changing out books, and moving everything around to create something new and fresh.

That is the beauty of the coffee table. It is also perfect for putting your morning coffee on, or any other beverage for that matter. Different spaces and layouts call for different shapes, but here’s something to think about.

For a layout that’s more closed off, square or rectangular works perfectly. If your living room is a pass through, and you’ll frequently be walking around the coffee table, round works well.

Aesthetically, it’s nice to balance round and square shapes in a space, so if most of your furniture pieces are square (think a sofa with tuxedo arms, square fireplace, and square side tables), a round coffee table adds balance.

Alternatively, if you have curvy arms on your furniture, a big round mirror, and round side tables, a square or rectangular side table works beautifully. It’s all about balance.

COZAYH 2-Piece Modern Farmhouse Living Room Coffee Table Set, Round Natural Finish with Handcrafted Wood Ring Motif

15. Artwork

Art is really the ultimate way to fill space. It can come In the form of paintings, sculptures, wood carvings, ceramics, and anything else you consider art. Placing it strategically in your living room can fill the space with beauty and interest, and give you so many stories to tell when your friends come over.

Each piece has its own history, and that is added to the overall ambience of the room. A menagerie of artwork is just the cure for a wall that’s feeling less-than-fun.

All the pieces you couldn’t find a place to hang will fit perfectly when arranged together into a mini gallery wall, completely amping up a space that’s lacking vibrancy. Wall hangings are another form of art that really add texture to a wall: Macramé, loom weavings, felting—you have quite a few options. 

These are the masters of adding texture and color, and they quickly taking a wall from blah to brilliant without very little handiwork or planning. It makes for easy seasonal decorating, too.

While not on walls, sculptures of any size can add a lot of dimension to a space. Some do well sitting on a table, while others, if large enough, you can place directly on the floor.

16. Put a Throw on it!

Finally, the ultimate cozy factor to any living room is a good throw blanket. A couch, especially a large one, can feel empty and uninviting without pillows and a good throw blanket or two.

They are very functional, allowing everyone to get cozy and watch a movie under the warmth of a blanket, but they are also aesthetic. Throw blankets come in so so many different colours, patterns, textures, and materials.

You can choose one that pops from the colour of your couch, or you can choose one that compliments it. Throw blankets can also go on chairs, especially a good lounge chair.

They can be styled in any way you want: folded neatly on the cushion or back of a couch, or draped casually after having been used.


Photo: Wayfair

There are so many options of beautiful materials and colours that can be used to fill even the largest living room, making it feel like home. This list should give you an idea of the variety you have at your fingertips: so, get started decorating, and you’ll be glad you did!