Welcome to our epic formal living room design gallery.
Browse all of the hundreds of formal living room designs below. We add new living room designs regularly.
Some of My Favorite Formal Living Rooms
See 1,000’s of Formal Living Rooms in our Formal Living Room Photo Galleries
Living Rooms with Pendant Lights
This is a gorgeous living room with a couple of pendant lights hanging over the sleek black coffee table. These pendant lights are covered by a spherical black woven material that filters lights. This matches quite well with the black sofa set.
Blue Living Room Ideas
This is an elegant living room with a chic quality to its light blue walls and a tray ceiling that is adorned with a majestic golden chandelier hanging over the wooden coffee table. This is paired with a set of comfortable sofas that match with the beige patterned area rug.
Living Rooms with End Tables
The red cushioned sofa that stands out against the beige walls and light gray carpeted flooring is adorned with a wooden end table that bears an antique-style table lamp. This matches well with the wooden coffee table facing the fireplace with a white mantle.
Medium-Sized Living Room Ideas
The gray stone textured wall of the fireplace is the highlight of this medium-sized living room. It matches well with the gray cushioned sofa across from it facing the dark wood coffee table that sits in the middle of the furry beige area rug.
Living Rooms with 2-Story/Cathedral Ceilings
This living room may have a small floor space but it makes up for it with a high white ceiling that spans two floors. It goes well with the tall beige walls and the brown panel accents. These set a nice background for the pair of beige sofas on the dark hardwood flooring.
Brown Living Room Ideas
This charming living room has brown walls and a brown cathedral ceiling that makes the white exposed beams stand out as well as the white molding. These matches with the white leather sofa and the white mantle of the fireplace on the far wall.
Living Rooms with Woodworks
The beautiful dark wood coffee table is the highlight of this formal living room. It has a glass-top that complements the wooden boxy frame with elegant details and finish on the side. This goes well with the colorful patterned area rug across from the fireplace.
Shabby-Chic Living Rooms
This shabby-chic living room has an elegant beige sofa and armchair that goes well with its pink and light blue patterned cushions. These are complemented by the light blue walls with subtle intricate details on its finish paired with white low wainscoting a white-mantle fireplace.
Elegant Living Rooms
This is an elegant living room that is beautifully decorated with dark earthy wall artworks that give complexity and depth to the light beige walls. This is also complemented by the potted plants and the black furniture that goes well with the dark hardwood flooring.
Multi-Colored Living Room Ideas
The various vibrant colors of the living room create a unique aesthetic that complements the hardwood flooring and the matching brown cabinet. This is topped with a large colorful abstract painting that is mounted on the blue wall contrasted by the red ceiling.
Living Rooms with Sectional Sofas
This charming Contemporary-style living room is accented by the various potted plants scattered all around. It gives color and contrast to the beige area rug, glass-top coffee table and the L-shaped sectional sofa that has colorful patterned pillows.
Orange Living Room Ideas
This is a chic and dynamic living room with bright orange walls accented by the white frames of the windows, white ceiling and the white built-in cabinet that also acts as a room divider. The white sofa matches this brightness as it contrasts the dark wood coffee table and the colorful area rug.
Country-Style Living Rooms
This is a country-style living room with off-white shiplap walls that pair well with the ceiling and its exposed beams. From the middle of this hangs a simple chandelier. The walls are also complemented by the pinstriped green sofa set.
Purple Living Room Ideas
This eclectic living room is dominated by the different sources of purple like the intricate purple line details of the wallpaper, tufted velvet wall panel and the purple curtains of the tall window. These set a contrast to the unique brown sofa set on the hardwood flooring.
Large Living Room Ideas
This large living room has a massive vertical space thanks to its tall and bright ceiling that hangs a couple of contrasting dark chandeliers. These go well with the colorful patterned area rug and the dark earthy tones of the sofas as well as the marble mantle of the fireplace.
Cottage-Style Living Rooms
This Cottage-style living room has a bright and cheerful demeanor with its tall white wainscoting paired with sunny yellow upper walls that are brightened by the white cove ceiling. These are complemented by the beige floral area rug that covers most of the hardwood flooring.
Yellow Living Room Ideas
The bright yellow walls of this charming and cozy living room complements the white mantle of the fireplace as well as the white window frames and white sofa. This is paired with a small folding black coffee table and a simple gray area rug over the redwood flooring.
Living Rooms with Skylights
The bright ceiling of this living room is mostly made of skylights forming into a large glass ceiling with white frames in between. The natural lights coming in complement the light tones of the beige walls, pink sofa set, and the matching light flooring tiles.
Farmhouse-Style Living Rooms
This is a farmhouse-style living room with a charming homey demeanor complemented by the colorful patterned area rug of the hardwood flooring and the warm fireplace with a white mantle. The area rug matches well with the floral curtains of the windows flanking the fireplace.
Living Rooms with Dark Wood Floors
The dark hardwood flooring of this lovely living room contrasts the light gray walls and white molding as well as the white ceiling with exposed wooden beams. These are brightened by the natural lights coming in from the wide arched windows.
Red Living Room Ideas
The warm yellow light coming from the majestic chandelier and its matching wall-mounted lamps complement the red coffered ceiling and the red walls. These set a dynamic background for the complex cushions of the elegant sofa set.
Living Rooms with Light Wood Floors
This is a simple living room with a touch of modern-style flair to its two coffee tables made entirely of glass. This goes well with the light hardwood flooring that is complemented by the light beige sofa, white walls and the low cathedral ceiling with skylights at the far corner.
Eclectic Living Rooms
This is an eclectic living room with a metallic square panel in the middle of the salmon pink wallpaper. This then flanked by two bright windows with pink patterned drapes that bring in illumination to the dark large coffee table contrasted by the light tones of the sofas.
Living Rooms with Earth Tones
The earthy tones of the walls go well with the accent of the potted plants as well as those decorative creeping plants above the wooden housing of the TV. This is beside the fireplace with an elegant gray mantle topped with a large animal fur tapestry.
Celebrity Living Rooms
This celebrity living room has a hallway of groin vault ceilings leading to the living room area. This has a tall wooden ceiling that has dark wooden exposed beams that match the dark hardwood flooring and the dark mantle of the fireplace contrasted by the large white sofa.
Living Rooms with Curtains and Drapes
The beautiful shabby-chic light blue walls are complemented by the fabulous colorful beige curtains of the two bright windows. This also complements the light blue sofa that is paired with a beige cushioned armchair and a cushioned ottoman coffee table.
Beach-Style Living Rooms
This living room has the spirit of the sea within its brilliant blue patterned area rug and blue pillows that go quite well with the light gray sofa and pair of woven wicker armchairs. These are all brightened by the brilliant white ceiling that hangs a decorative woven wicker pendant light.
Living Rooms with White Couches
The large white sectional sofa of this bright and spacious living room blends well with the bright white walls and white cathedral ceiling. These are further lightened by the abundance of natural lighting coming in from the transom windows and the open walls.
Asian-Style Living Rooms
This charming Asian-style living room has uniform brown wooden tones on its hardwood flooring, low wooden coffee table and the brown sofa that is paired with it. These brown elements are contrasted by the bright red tones of the pillows and a couple of cushioned sofas flanking the table.
Living Rooms with Accent Walls
This elegant living room has a low cathedral ceiling filled with windows and its colorful curtains that give complement to the white L-shaped sectional sofa in the middle of the hardwood flooring with a brown area rug. These are all then elevated by the accent walls and bright chandelier.
Living Rooms with Gray Couches
This living room is part of a great room that also houses the dining area and the kitchen on the far end. The living room has a gray sofa that matches well with the other gray elements of the dining area and kitchen. These are then complemented by the grayish tone of the hardwood flooring.
Living Rooms with Leather Furniture
The brilliant dark red leather sofa with a tufted finish is the highlight of this cozy living room. This is contrasted by the white cushioned ottoman coffee table and the pair of cushioned chairs with white slipcovers flanking the large stone textured fireplace.
Transitional-Style Living Rooms
This Transitional-style living room is made of different textures and tones all coming together with the brightness of the tall white walls and windows that bring in natural lights. This goes well with the gray sofas, silver end tables, and glass coffee table.
The modern white tray ceiling of this living room is lit with beige tray ceiling lights giving it an ethereal glow complemented by the pair of ceiling fans hanging over the pair of woven wicker coffee tables in the middle of the surrounding built-in cushioned benches.
Green Living Room Ideas
This eclectic living room has green walls and green exposed beams forming into a coffered ceiling with contrasting orange squares in the middle. This is also contrasted by the golden chandelier hanging over the floral red and white area rug.
Living Rooms with Kitchen Openings
This is a great room that houses the large and spacious living room beside the dining area along with a large arched opening that leads to the kitchen. These are all dominated by the wooden elements of the flooring, log beam walls and wooden cathedral ceiling with exposed wooden log beams.
Victorian-Style Living Rooms
This charming and elegant Victorian-style living room is surrounded by the classic paintings and murals on the walls that it seems as if the rest of the living room is a painting with its earthy hues and patterned area rug complemented by the yellow lights of the large crystal chandelier.
Living Rooms with Fireplaces
The highlight of this warm cozy living room is the fireplace that is embedded into a large textured stone structure with a wooden shelf and lit with a spot light mounted on the beige cathedral ceiling. This sets a gorgeous view for the comfortable cushioned sofas complemented by the table lamps.
Southwestern-Style Living Room
This Southwestern-style living room has a couple of dark leather sofas that go well with the earthy tones of the wooden coffee table, decorative jars and the frames of the windows complemented by the beige walls. These are then elevated by the patterns of the pillows, cushioned armchair and area rug.
Living Rooms with Coffered Ceilings
The bright white coffered ceiling of this living room connects with the white panel of the fireplace that is flanked by a couple of dark wooden bookshelves. These are a match for the light gray sofa set with a cushioned ottoman coffee table.
Tropical-Style Living Rooms
The brilliant potted plants stand out in this Tropical-style living room with beige walls and terracotta flooring tiles mostly covered by the woven area rug underneath the square tufted ottoman coffee table. This is paired with a couple of woven wicker armchairs and a large brown sofa.
Living Rooms with Exposed Beams
The dark chocolate brown ceiling of this living room has a shiplap plank finish adorned with exposed wooden beams of the same tone. This dark ceiling contrasts the light beige walls but matches with the shuttered windows and the cushions of the curved sofa.
Pink Living Room Ideas
The lovely pink walls of this living room match well with the pink patterned area rug of the hardwood flooring and the patterned cushions of the tow sofas flanking the fireplace with a white mantle. This mantle is topped with a classic painting.
Living Rooms with TV
The modern fireplace of this living room is inlaid with shiny black tiles that stand out against the light gray walls topped with a wooden floating shelf. This is mirrored by the TV that is also topped with a floating shelf that has decors.
Industrial-Style Living Room
The high white ceiling is filled with exposed pipes, tubing, and wiring for the brilliant white lights that make the ceiling and walls glow in this Industrial-style living room. These walls are adorned with a large painting and large open shelving that gives the cushioned sofa set a nice complex background.
Black Living Room Ideas
The black walls of this living room are counterbalanced by the brilliant glass walls in between them. This is mirrored by the dark hardwood flooring and the charcoal gray L-shaped sectional sofa paired with a white coffee table and a white area rug.
Spanish-Style Living Rooms
Beige leather sectional sofas surround a round glass top coffee table that sits on a vintage rug in this Spanish-style living room. This is paired with a beige panel that houses the fireplace adorned with tiny alcoves with bright tiles inside.
Living Rooms with Chandelier
The spherical decorative chandelier stands out against the light beige walls and bright tall windows. It’s dark brown tone matches well with the dark hardwood flooring and the modern woven wicker chair that stands out against the light hue of the area rug.
White Modern Formal Living Rooms
This white modern formal living room shines with a wintry beauty. It has a silver sofa paired with a white furry area rug that looks like snow. This is topped with a glass-top coffee table that is adorned with various glass decors that are brightened by the natural lights coming in from the bright windows.
Living Rooms with Houseplants
The potted plants stand out against the bright red walls of this living room that is brightened by the natural lights coming in from the tall windows. This also makes the light gray sofas lighter as they contrast the dark wood coffee table.
Craftsman-Style Living Rooms
The colorful patterned area rug stands out against the hardwood flooring that complements the dark wooden structures surrounding the area. It can be seen on the window frames, fireplace mantle and the built-in cabinets that also serve as room dividers.
Living Rooms with Tall Ceilings
The tall beige ceiling of this living room hangs a round wrought iron chandelier over the glass-top coffee table paired with a beige sofa and a pair of beige cushioned chairs. This angle allows for a view of the second floor indoor balconies with wrought iron railings contrasting the beige walls.
The simplicity of this Scandinavian-style living room is the source of its beauty complemented by the natural lights of the tall glass sliding doors and windows. The gray sofa and light wood chairs are a nice complement to the white walls and ceiling.
Living Rooms with Exposed Ceiling Beams
The triangular exposed ceiling beams of the cathedral ceiling matches well with the wooden mantle of the fireplace, hardwood flooring and the frames of the tall windows. These are contrasted by the light gray sofa set and complemented by the yellow lights of the chandelier and wall lamps.
Contemporary-Style Living Rooms
This Contemporary-style living room has bright yellow walls paired with hardwood flooring and gray cushioned armchairs that complement the dark coffee table in the middle of the beige area rug. This matches well with the beige sofa facing the TV.
Living Rooms with Brown Couches
The brown leather couch of this elegant living room goes quite well with the charcoal black walls and window frames. This is paired with a fireplace inlaid within a black arch surrounded by intricate details on its mantle that is topped with a small clock.
Modern Living Rooms
This Modern living room has gray cushions on its two L-shaped built-in benches forming a G shape to surround the pair of woven wicker coffee tables that stand out against the light hues of the flooring, walls, and ceiling that has tray ceiling lights.
Living Rooms with Piano
The beige L-shaped sectional sofa faces the brilliant and warm fireplace that is embedded into the large brown wall this is complemented by the hardwood flooring that matches well with the brown elegant piano sitting a little on the right of the sofa.
Formal Living Rooms
This is a formal living room for accepting guests. It has a circular glass-top coffee table with a dark wood frame that stands out against the white area rug but matches the dark hardwood flooring. This flooring is contrasted by the white sofa and the white cushions of the pair of cushioned chairs.
Living Rooms with Antique Furniture
The terracotta flooring of this charming living room is a nice complement to the antique-style sofa covered with a large red scarf. This matches with the red cushion of the small stool of the dark brown piano that contrasts the off-white walls.
Rustic-Style Living Rooms
This is a Rustic-style living room with a warm fireplace that is housed within a large stone column that reaches up to the beige cathedral ceiling. This beige ceiling matches with the beige walls adorned with the large wooden beams that match the hardwood flooring.
Living Rooms with Exposed Brick Walls
The modern white coffee table of this living room is paired with a white and black modern leather sofa that stands out against the exposed red bricks of the wall behind it. This is then adorned with a frosted glass wall decor that has a light within.
White Living Room Ideas
This is a brilliant and white living room that almost glows with the complement of the natural lights coming in from the large glass windows. This is contrasted by the dark hardwood flooring that makes the light pink sofas stand out as well as a couple of patterned green armchairs.
Living Rooms with Carpet Flooring
This charming living room has a beige carpeted flooring that goes well with the beige walls and the light brown velvet sofa facing the fireplace embedded into the wall. This has a dark inlay that matches with the black wooden coffee table.
Traditional-Style Living Rooms
This Traditional-style living room has a bright patterned area rug contrasted by the chocolate brown sofa set that matches with the tone of the dark hardwood flooring. This is then contrasting the bright walls and ceiling lightened by the row of surrounding windows.
Living Rooms with Chaise Lounges
The large charcoal gray L-shaped chaise lounge stands out against the light tone of the walls and the bright glass wall adjacent to it. This is mirrored by the black wooden coffee table that also stands out against the beige furry area rug on the tiled flooring.
Gray Living Room Ideas
The bright white ceiling and hardwood flooring of this living room are complemented by the gray walls that are adorned with a row of framed artworks behind the charcoal black sofa and a black panel above the white mantle of the fireplace.
Living Rooms with Area Rugs
The intricate elegant details of the gray patterned area rug give the aesthetic a complexity that complements the gray velvet tufted sofas and the gray mantle of the fireplace that matches with the gray frames of the tall windows bringing in an abundance of natural lighting.
Great Room Living Rooms
This great room houses the living room, dining area and kitchen all on the same hardwood flooring that blends well with the kitchen island, dining table and the wooden beams that houses the fireplace. This is across from the brown leather sofa set.
Living Rooms with White Furniture
This is an elegant formal living room with white leather sofas and cushioned armchairs paired with contrasting black and blue pillows that go well with other accents of the room with a blue tone like the paintings on the light gray walls and the large one above the white mantle of the fireplace.
Mansion Living Rooms
This mansion living room has a brilliant indoor balcony with a large circular part of the ceiling open to the next level. The beige ceiling matches with the beige walls that have arched glass windows and the beige marble flooring complemented by the light green sofas.
Mediterranean-Style Living Rooms
This is a bright and spacious Mediterranean-style living room with a large fireplace that has intricate details on its elegant mantle. This is brightened by the large glass wall with curtains matching the cushions of the armchair adorned with a tall potted tropical plant.
Living Rooms without Fireplace
This comfortable and quirky living room has a large gray cushioned sectional sofa paired with a round wooden coffee table. This is then topped with a set of colorful pendant lights that hangs from the tall white cove ceiling brightened by natural lights.
Beige Living Room Ideas
The elegant beige walls of this small living room are complemented by the stark white coffered ceiling and contrasted by the dark hardwood flooring. This also pairs well with the bright cushioned sofa that is contrasted by the dark wood coffee table.
Living Rooms with Tile Flooring
This beautiful living room has black tiles that are mostly covered by the contrasting light beige area rug. This matches well with the beige modern cushioned armchairs and the slightly darker cushions of the wooden built-in bench.
Open Concept Living Rooms
This living room is part of a great room in an open concept that also houses the dining area and the kitchen on the same dark hardwood flooring and under the same brilliant white ceiling with recessed lights. This is complemented by the floral cushions and pillows of the sofa set.
Living Rooms with Hardwood Flooring
The dark hardwood flooring of this living room is adorned with a dark patterned area rug and brightened by the tall glass windows behind the dark gray sofa. This sofa is flanked by a couple of standing lamps with a brass bead design topped with a black hood.
Small Living Room Ideas
This is a small living room that is placed right beside the staircase that has intricately wrought iron railings. The small area is covered with a light gray area rug that goes well with the modern glass coffee table. This sits in the middle of the beige sofa and the two light gray cushioned armchairs.
Living Rooms with Ottoman Coffee Tables
The square cushioned ottoman has red patterned cushions that match the pillows on the gray sofa and the four woven wicker armchairs that flank the coffee table. This sits in the middle of the beige carpeted floor that matches the beige walls adorned with various potted plants.
Mid-Century Modern Living Rooms
This Mid-Century Modern living room is surrounded by the brilliant scenery of the sunset and the sea featured by the glass walls. These scenery is matched by the blue velvet armchairs and the pillows of the large gray L-shaped sectional sofa.
Living Rooms with Table Lamps
This charming living room has a large bulbous beige table lamp on the wooden dresser by the light gray wall that casts out yellow light onto the patterned tapestry. This matches well with the standing lamp at the far corner by the tall windows.
Living Room Design Info
In recent years, living room design has moved toward a more casual and comfortable style and away from the stuffy “drawing room” designs of past centuries. In fact, in many homes (big and small), the living room serves as both the entertaining space for guests as well as the family room.
Our gallery, while it includes living rooms on the formal side, you’ll notice that while these rooms are more often than not from luxury homes, they’re designed to be used regularly, are inviting and comfortable… many featuring plush sofas, sectionals and comfortable armchairs.
Nevertheless, the move toward a more casual living space hasn’t diminished the aesthetic appeal. In fact, I much prefer an inviting and comfortable living room over a stuffy and formal space loaded down in ornate design and uncomfortable furniture.
Another interesting design element to note is room size. Living rooms can be incredibly beautiful in both big and small spaces.
In fact, a large cavernous space doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a nicer room. Our gallery below features many smaller living rooms that are beautiful, functional and no less inviting than the larger rooms.
While at first glance it may seem designing a kitchen or bathroom is much more difficult than creating a beautiful and functional living room due to the technical requirements, that isn’t necessarily the case.
The reason designing a living room can be challenging is the many elements that must be considered – from floor to ceiling … and then furniture selection. It’s not an easy task to turn an empty space into a spectacular living, but it’s done all the time and our gallery is evidence of it (even if you don’t like some of the designs – we’re confident you’ll find some that would be perfect for you).
A living room can serve several functions in a home including a formal space especially if you have a separate room. Many have the luxury of two places, the more classic style and the casual family living quarters. According to the National Association of Home Builders, 52 percent of new homes have a dedicated living room.
You often see these spaces in front of the house as the room you’ll see from the outside. That makes it an obvious choice for a formal style to showcase your home to passersby. Check out our gallery of living rooms to see what possibilities you can explore.
A. Preliminary Formal Living Room Planning
You may think that formal living room design ideas mean an expensive price tag. While that may be true sometimes, you can also find options to fit any budget. The right piece or change, even if it is a small one, can totally change the mood of a room. The essential thing is to do your homework with several considerations in mind including:
- Your budget
- List of possible changes/additions to research
- Purpose of the room
With these things in mind, you can come up with a plan that will work for you.
B. Formal Living Room Cost
Your budget will undoubtedly be your biggest consideration. To avoid any nasty surprises, you should look into everything involved with a change. For example, the average cost for a building permit is $1,237, enough to throw a wrench into your plans. And remember, most additions fall into a range of prices so that you can stick within your limits.
1. Cheap Formal Living Room Design
Don’t discount the impacts that little things like a fresh coat of paint can have on a room. White, for example, is the most popular choice for wall color in over one-third of living rooms. It brings a sense of spaciousness and sophistication that would certainly be right at home with formal living quarters. You can easily update the room’s look at less than $400.
2. Mid-Range Formal Living Room Cost
You also have some excellent options at the $1,000 to $2,000 range. The average cost of remodeling an existing room is under $5,000. Again, simple things can make a big difference. You can install built-in shelves for about $2,000. Or how about a change in the flooring? Hardwood is the favorite type in over 70 percent of living rooms.
3. High-End Cost
For a set of new furniture, drapery, and accessories, budget between $10,000 and $20,000. (Source: Realtor Mag)
Of course, if you’re willing to do a lot of renovation work yourself, or make concessions in price in the right places, you can get your cost down quite a bit.
C. Formal Living Room Layout Ideas
When it comes to layouts, while there are many options, they kinda boil down to all being similar – seating, a few tables and perhaps some storage and decor elements throughout the space. Toss in a TV and/or fireplace which becomes central, but otherwise, it’s pretty much the same concept.
That said, given there are sofas, loveseats, sectionals, and chairs – you can lay them out in various formations. We put together a few living room layout diagrams. Check them out.
D. Formal Living Room Styles
There are dozens of different styles out there, but we’ll lay out the basics of some immensely popular styles.
Craftsman – Otherwise known as ‘arts and crafts’, craftsman style living rooms focus on furniture with simple, natural beauty. You’ll see a lot of wood in a craftsman living room, and never painted. Oak is the most iconic wood used in this style.
Modern – Shape and form are the most important aspects of modern living rooms. Ridged squares and geometric shapes are common, along with smooth, clean lines. Furniture should be unembellished and simple. Wood and plastic are common, although wooden pieces are often painted to cover the wood grain. Stainless steel is also heavily favored, as is glass.
Traditional – Traditional designs reflect the classic, elegant European decor, with deep wood tones, unique architecture details, and elegant furnishings. Wing-backed chairs, claw-footed tables, and curved furniture are hallmarks. You will often see antique pieces in traditional living rooms.
Cottage – Cottage style living rooms are comfy, casual, and lived-in. The fabrics are forgiving, and small treasures and mismatched furniture are welcome. Cottage style living rooms are welcoming and full of heart.
Rustic – Rustic designs vary quite a bit. They’re eclectic and emphasize natural materials. Furniture and accents in rustic living rooms are homespun, timeworn, handcrafted, distressed, and natural. Architectural features include wooden beams and columns, as well as a large stone fireplace.
Mediterranean – Mediterranean style living rooms consist of a few different styles; southwestern, Moroccan, Tuscan, Spanish, and Italian villa. Warm, earthy, and rich textures are common, with wrought iron, patterned tile work, arched windows, and rustic wooden beams.
Country – like the Mediterranean, the country is a varied style, consisting of French country, English country, and American country. A country style home is humble and homey, with an emphasis on handmade furnishings and textiles. Soft, cheerful colors, mixed with plenty of white, will get you well on your way to a country living room. Tableware and pottery are popular accent items.
Asian – Asian design takes cues from Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, and many other Eastern cultures, and can vary widely. Look for lacquered boxes, tatami mats, futons, or shoji screens for a Japanese aesthetic, or choose red lacquer and paper lanterns to lean more towards Chinese style.
Shabby Chic – Shabby chic is far from looking messy; it’s a feminine design style that embraces the romantics of vintage pieces. The difference here is that the timeworn, distressed furniture keeps it from looking like a genuine period design.
Examples by Style
When picking a color for your living room, don’t be afraid to go bold. While it’s probably not wise to paint your entire living room a neon green, you don’t have to stick with neutrals either.
Finding the right balance is key. When done right, color, bold or subtle, can look utterly gorgeous and appeal to just about anyone. So don’t be afraid of color because you think you’ll be trying to sell your house soon.
Invest in color, but do it smartly. Accent pillows, rugs, and other items are a great way to add splashes of color without turning off potential buyers.
See our gallery featuring living room color ideas for more ideas and designs.
In a traditional, elegant living room, a warm butter yellow on the walls contrasts with the white wainscoting, crown molding, and furniture. White can seem uninviting sometimes, but a warm color on the walls is a great way to keep the space light and bright. It also draws out the warm undertones of the wooden furniture.
A warm beige on the bottom section of the walls is accented by darker stripes of purple that draw color from the pale lavender chairs on one side of the room. In rooms with tall ceilings, adding treatments to the upper portion of the wall can make a room feel cozier.
This earthy green color is a great example of using color in a living room. A darker color will work great in a room that gets a lot of natural light but should be avoided in small, dark living rooms.
A soft, yet vibrant blue is used on two of the walls in this lengthy family room. While a bright color like this might get oppressive in a very large room with a lot of open wall space, this room features a lot of built-ins that help break up the color.
Even a rusty brick red can look great in the right design. When paired with light furniture and a rich light honey oak floor and tables, the red is warm and inviting.
E. Formal Living Room Furniture Ideas
You’ll also want to pick the right furniture for how you’ll use your living room space. A sectional isn’t always appropriate for a small living room that you won’t be spending a lot of time in. If you’ll need storage space, bookcases and end tables with storage are a great option.
Like to put your feet up? An ottoman might be great for you.
We have an entire gallery dedicated to living room furniture ideas.
Every living room needs a sofa! They come in all kinds of styles and materials, so it’s easy to find the perfect match for your design vision. Check out some of the best living room sofas!
A sleek brown leather sofa with accent pillows. When paired with dark wooden tables, a lighter brown rug and light, neutral walls, the rich chocolate color stands out in an elegant way.
If painting the walls a bold color isn’t for you, but you still want a splash of color, try choosing a sofa in a bold accent color, like this button tufted sofa with curved arms in a rich royal purple.
Whether it’s a coffee table or end tables, a table or two will help round out your seating areas. Place lamps on them for additional lighting or use them to set down drinks while watching your favorite tv show or a movie.
There are tons of different ways to set your living room up with end tables, coffee tables, and even console tables!
If storage is at a premium in your living room, invest in a coffee table and end tables with storage. This large coffee table is actually two narrower tables placed together. Lower shelves ensure that any blankets or books may be stored out of sight.
If you’re less interested in having a place to set your magazines and more interested in having a place to set your feet, a coffee-table ottoman might be a better option. Just be sure to pair it with a couple of functional end tables.
Ottomans are best for putting your feet up after a long day at work, but they are also invaluable storage products, with many having space inside for blankets, pillows, or other sundries you don’t always want laying around. They can also double as coffee tables.
When choosing an ottoman, if you decide to go with fabric, choose a fabric that can be echoed in a chair or in accent pillows to help tie the seating arrangement together.
If you like the look of an ottoman but also need a traditional coffee table, this is a great way to have the best of both worlds. Each of the four ottomans can be pulled out for extra seating and then put back under the coffee table so that they’re stored out of the way.
For living rooms with an odd shape, you may need to add chairs in place of loveseats or sofas. Whether it’s a recliner or a gliding rocker, a chair is always a great pick for living room seating. Check out some incredibly comfy options!
In front of a fireplace, these matching red armchairs with a subtle swirl pattern provide a satisfying pop of color in contrast to the white mantle. They’re wide enough to curl up comfortably with a book next to the fire.
Perhaps you’re looking for something more modern. This colorful, sleek chair is just the thing for modern homes, featuring black and white leather, a unique silhouette, and plenty of colors.
Storage always seems to be at a premium in any house, whether it is large or small. Store your books or accent pieces in a lovely bit of shelving, whether that ends up being built-ins on either side of the fireplace or floating shelves.
You’ll want to take a look at our extensive guide to living room shelving ideas.
This living room is filled with seating, so a wealth of storage was built into the walls on either side of the elegant screened fireplace.
For a more modern, minimalist look, upper wall cabinets and floating shelves can easily corral books and magazines and keep them from cluttering up lower shelving and table tops.
F. Formal Living Room Decor Elements
Furniture is important, but before you even get into buying your furniture, you’ll need to make sure your room has an attractive, well-designed skeleton. The right flooring, ceiling architecture, lighting, and focal points can really make or break your living room renovation.
Be sure to check out our guide to interesting living room decor ideas!
Carpet, stone, wood, or laminate, picking the right flooring for your home is important. The battle lines between carpet and wood are pretty well defined, so you probably already know exactly what you want. The next trick is to figure out what color you want.
This is a great example of low pile carpet, which doesn’t attract as much dust and hair, but still keeps the warmth. This deep charcoal color is the perfect accompaniment to the light beige walls, white dining table, and pale orange sofa.
A light hardwood is great for creating an open, spacious feeling room, and it’s easy to match with almost any furniture. However, if you’re looking to create a traditional style room, light wood might not be for you.
If your living room happens to be sharing space with a dining room or kitchen, consider installing a stone tile. Stone is easy to keep clean and is not damaged by any accidental water leakage in a kitchen, or spills in the dining room. Installing tile throughout an open space is a great way to create continuity.
While a plain ceiling isn’t exactly a bad thing, adding detail to a ceiling or bumping it up to create a dome, tray, or even cathedral ceilings is a great way to add value to your home. Potential buyers will love the attention to detail.
A slightly arched vault in this living room is coupled with skylights and a few exposed beams to give height and natural light to this otherwise slightly dark living room.
This elegant living room may not have a skylight, but additional rope lighting was placed inside the tray ceiling to add a gentle illumination to the room.
Coffered ceilings are a great way to add elegant architectural detail to any room, but look particularly impressive in living rooms and dining rooms.
Your ceiling design is really only limited by the scope of your imagination. This modern living room has an incredible glossy ceiling design with colors abound. In the center is a low profile but glittery chandelier.
Ensuring your living room isn’t too dark is a huge step towards great design. Light can come from large windows, skylights, lamps, chandeliers, or recessed lighting. You’ll just want to make sure your lighting sources are layered, so you’re not relying on one source all the time.
For an extensive look, see our complete list of living room lighting ideas.
This is a great example of layered lighting. Sunlight pours through the enormous windows, lighting the room during the day, while a large chandelier brightens the space as the sun begins to fade. Lamps and candles can be used for softer mood lighting as the night wears on.
This elegant living room has exterior windows that face a covered porch, limiting the amount of natural light that the room gets. Lamps and a trio of chandeliers fill in the gaps.
The combination of lamps, daylight windows, and recessed lighting are enough to ensure that this tall room is well lit all day and night long.
A single skylight can mean the difference between a light and dark room. The skylight is rimmed by recessed lighting for dark days.
As we’ve mentioned before, storage is necessary for any room, but you have some great, creative options for living rooms.
Storage can be found in a multitude of places, including in small drawers located in your coffee table and end tables. Fight the clutter!
Attractive small cabinets are a great place to store DVD players and sound systems. They keep cords hidden and aren’t bulky like typical entertainment centers.
The ambient flames of a fireplace are something that many people enjoy, and why not? The warmth emanating from a fireplace is the best place to snuggle with a loved one.
This slim gas-burning fireplace sits neatly below the television in a stone encasement. This is a great option for those who love the sound and look of a fireplace but don’t want to deal with the mess of an open hearth.
If you prefer the traditional look of a wood burning fireplace, a raised hearth is necessary. The scent and crackling are well worth it though.
In an open-concept space, a dual-sided fireplace is a perfect addition, so you can get the atmosphere in both a living room area and in the dining room.
6. Wall Ideas
Decorating your walls tastefully can help define your style in any room, but this goes double for living rooms.
Be sure to check out our complete list of stunning living room wall ideas.
Family photos in a neat collage are a great way to make your living room feel welcoming and homey, but there are other ways to make an impression. Wallpaper is used in this living room to define the dining room from the living room.
If traditional is your style, a tapestry might look great in your living room. Just be sure you can explain it if it has any significance!
Sometimes bare walls look great, and in this case, the shiplap ceilings and walls really make this attic living room look unique.
Animal hides are another way to decorate the walls, but they should be used sparingly, as to not overwhelm the room.
G. 101 Living Room Design Tips
Planning a Focal Point and Furniture
1. The first thing to consider is the focal point of the room. You can have a single focal point or even two: the fireplace, the entertainment center/bar or both.
2. Basic elements in living rooms include a sofa and a coffee table. The rest depends on function and desired tone.
Formal Hosting/ Entertaining Room Furniture Tips
3. Formal entertaining areas can gain a touch of elegance from a sophisticated, eye-catching fireplace mantel. This can be your focal point for a formal living room used for entertaining and hosting.
4. Formal furniture works best, like Chesterfield sofas, wingback armchairs.
5. Mahogany works well in coffee tables and bookshelves for formal rooms.
6. A matching bar cart can be a useful addition.
7. If you own a grand piano, it can fit in well here as a talking point and for musical guests.
Family Room turned Entertainment Room Furniture Tips
8. If you have a single room for lounging with family and guests, it can still be sophisticated, but it should be more like a TV room with a sofa sectional, a gaming spot and media console. Remember that if you have small kids, they are more likely to use it as a playroom, so keep the needs of everyone in your family in mind.
9. Choose sofas that are modern and comfortable. You can find some examples at the source linked at the end of the article. 
10. Family rooms that double as entertaining areas for guests should have plenty of shelves, bookcases, drawers, and cabinets.
11. Bookcases can store your picture frames, books, and other knickknacks.
12. Built-in media consoles and TV centers take up less space and can house your movies, music, games, electronics, and TV.
13. A table or desk is also useful for family nights together when homework help is needed. It can also work as a craft station.
14. Decide the type of storage based on the tone you want to achieve. Cabinets and built-in shelves for books and decorative items work in all living rooms, no matter how formal. Mahogany is more formal. Lighter colored wood furniture adds a more informal feel.
15. Make the most of window seats. Convert them into a reading station or an area to take a short nap. 
Playing with Lights
16. The lights you use will again depend on the tone you are trying to achieve. They can be hidden and functional or they can become decorative statement pieces and focal points of the living room. They also add warmth to a living room, depending on the color you choose and the color/texture of the ceiling.
17. Do not exaggerate the lighting if it is a family room. If you decide to rearrange the room in the future, statement pieces may no longer be fully functional. The idea behind contemporary living rooms is to keep it simple.
18. If you have plenty of natural light entering the room in the daytime, focus on simple, recessed lights near the windows for the night and light up the darker areas of the room with more visible lighting.
19. Recessed lights are functional and work well in simple living rooms. Depending on the color and texture of the walls, they can lend warmth or coolness to the room.
20. Use recessed and concealed lighting in key areas, over accent wall paintings, against indoor stairs and lend character to a room like in the example in the reference below. 
21. Hidden lights in the corners of rooms, on shelves and sideboards, can lend spaciousness to a room.
22. Suspend a series of mini pendant lights or decorative bulbs to add interest to a textured ceiling. 
23. Place contemporary, modern chandeliers centered above the sofa sectional for adding a point of interest in an otherwise simple living room. Clean crystal chandeliers or multi-light chandeliers on wooden frames work well in large, formal living rooms.
24. Chandeliers should be placed in a way so as not to create too much shadow.
25. Use directional spotlights for throwing focus on accent pieces in the room, such as an interesting painting or a textured wall.
26. Multi-light pendants add interest to corners above plants or statement side tables.
27. Arco lamps and similar minimalist, modern lamps work well to complement simple furniture in a semi-formal room.
28. When placing large floor lamps in corners, remember that it can create large shadows as well. Work in other lights accordingly.
29. Illuminate posters and photographs with low-voltage lamps mounted on the frames or just above it on the wall to send a beam of light across the surface.
30. To achieve a romantic ambiance, use wall lights with candles or LED bulbs.
General Tips for Painting a Contemporary Living Room
31. White, cream and other neutral colors are great for living rooms as they allow you to work with furniture and accents.
32. Remember that white walls combined with cool temperature lighting can create a cool ambiance. This is typical for minimalist rooms and for rooms that want to appear larger.
33. Warm buffs, creams, olive and beige stains on walls, when combined with warm lights, make a living room cozy and comfortable. Mood lighting can add a greater atmosphere to such living rooms.
34. Family rooms with themes can make more flexible use of color. A beach theme, for instance, can combine sea blue with neutral shades and complementary accents to create the experience of a beach-side holiday. 
Paint, Color and Lighting Tips for Rooms Based on Location of Room and Natural Light
35. White walls are best in reflecting light and they complement furniture of any color. But depending on the direction your living room faces, the paint or colors you use can appear different. Plan wall paints and furniture colors depending on whether your room is south, north, east or west facing.
36. Rooms that are south facing and let in plenty of natural light can be painted with both cool and warm colors since all colors look great. Use pale tones and a limited color palette to create an airy and light space. Pale blues can create an airy ambiance while red-based light neutrals lend warmth and sophistication.
37. Bright white lighting on woodwork and walls can add crispness to south-facing rooms.
38. East facing rooms can be bluish, so a blue or green color palette should be used. Keep the colors pale and watch them come alive in the morning sunlight.
39. Light in east-facing rooms can change throughout the day. Darker tone furniture helps to make the walls appear lighter.
40. Blue or green-based whites can be used in east-facing rooms.
41. North facing rooms can be difficult to create space and light in. Dark, strong colors that work best with nature should be used in these rooms. Shades of chocolate and purples create intimacy and drama.
42. Lighter tones can also be used in north-facing rooms with some restrictions. Stick to creamy neutrals and yellow-based colors that allow natural and electrical lights to reflect.
43. Avoid gray or green based colors on walls in living rooms that face north.
44. West-facing rooms look great with white walls and give an airy ambiance.
45. Use gray neutrals that are light in rooms that face west.
46. Soft pinks can also work to add warmth through the afternoon. Remember that the colors will change dramatically throughout the day in west-facing rooms.
Accent Walls, Wall Art, Window Treatments and Ornaments
47. Wall art can be a great focal point in a living room. Choose a huge canvas mounted on an invisible frame and hang it on a wall. Surround it with modern furniture and ornaments, taking care not to overcrowd.
48. If you do not have a fireplace, you can create a point of interest with a large piece of unique art such as a modern sculpted or faux taxidermy ornament. 
49. Create a natural look by leaving brickwork, ceiling beams and other original features exposed. You can whitewash brickwork and varnish or stain the beams. Mix with large, comfortable sofas and cushions for a cozy yet contemporary family room.
50. You can use accent rugs in all sizes to add interest to the floor. But you can go one step further by placing a bold, patterned wall to wall carpet of a complementary color.
51. Unusual, patterned floor tiles in clean, contemporary designs can work as great alternatives to rugs for simple rooms.
52. Use patterned drapes instead of rugs to achieve a similar effect.
53. If you want to mix patterns such as floral and stripes, be sure to adhere to a similar color palette.
54. Use cellular blinds or shades for a clean, contemporary look in place of drapes in minimal living rooms. 
55. Cellular cordless shades are best for family rooms with kids, as they are safer than corded ones.
56. If a living room is too crowded, skip the drapes and choose tall, ceiling-high shades or blinds for a clean look. 
57. Use bold drapes only when you lack other points of interest. Otherwise, stick to neutral shades.
58. Combine shades and drapes for greater flexibility in how much light is let in throughout the day.
59. If you have darker furniture, light window treatments are recommended.
60. If you have interesting window treatments, such as carved oriental screens, remember that they will draw the eye. So be sure to keep the rest of the window area and furniture neutrally decorated.
Special Tips to Make a Living Room Appear Larger
61. Make a small living room appear larger by placing a large mirror in place of wall art. It can have a simple frame or be frameless.
62. Use shades of white wall paint (keeping in mind the location of your room) to increase the reflection of natural light.
63. Pastel colors for windowless rooms or those with few windows also work well.
64. Use sophisticated modular furniture to keep furniture compact yet comfortable.
65. Clear furniture such as glass end tables, consoles, and chairs add spaciousness.
66. Clear glass or Lucite coffee tables with clean hardware can work best in a small living room. Low platform-style coffee tables also create the illusion of a larger space.
67. Woven furniture and coffee tables also make a room appear airier.
68. Keep your windows unobstructed if you can.
69. Wall-mount the TV in a small family room to save space.
70. Have a wall niche build to store electronic equipment.
71. Push back the furniture against the wall and leave the center of the room as open as possible. Balance the look with a large accented lighting in the center of the ceiling and round-edged rugs to offset the appearance.
72. Use sectionals to make a small room appear larger. Neutral wall colors that blend with the furniture can make the room look more spacious than it is.
73. Offset a small room with more vertical lines, such as with a floor lamp.
74. Use recessed and built-in shelves and cupboards to display ornaments, books, and photographs.
75. During the day, draw the curtains or shades open to extending the space by extending the view.
76. Keep the coffee table in the center of your room and arrange the furniture around it as close as possible to avoid bumping into them.
77. Small area rugs that match the floor and are surrounded with furniture can trick the eye into believing there is a lot of floor space.
78. Window seats can help to create additional seating arrangements and leave space for storing a radiator or cabinet underneath.
Tips for Contemporary Living and Dining Room Areas
79. A room that combines living and dining rooms in the same open space can work well with or without sectionals. 
80. When using sectionals, place a large area rug in the living area with the furniture around it. You do not need to separate the dining section with a partition in that case. Keep the rug bold and the dining room furniture complementary to the living room furniture. 
81. You can also use lighting and accent walls to visually separate the dining and living room area for a small narrow room. 
82. Use glass panels as a partition to separate the two areas, and mood lighting for a contemporary, luxurious ambiance.
Tips to Using Red and Bright Colors in Minimalist Living Rooms
83. Add a spot of color and contemporary chic to an all black and white room with pieces of bright red furniture.
84. Balance reds with pops of white.
85. Gray and red make great combinations and add class. Limit the reds to wall panels, rugs and cushions or lampshades.
86. Red can be used as a primary color for furniture in a large room with otherwise neutral shades and lighting that focuses on the walls rather than on the furniture.
87. You can mix patterns with colors but stick to minimalist color palettes. Let the patterns be in neutral shades if mixed with bright colored furniture.
88. Earth tones work well together. Mix browns, coffee, beige and white for a chic living room.
89. Keep details like cushions in mind when choosing lampshades in an otherwise neutral room.
90. Make a room simple but classy by sticking to a warm or cool color palette for furniture, walls, and lighting.
91. Gray and black in furniture, carpets and rugs and accent walls add a touch of class. Another idea is incorporating zebra prints into your living room decor.
92. Use modular furniture for minimalist living rooms and play them up with contemporary accents.
93. Make your small, few-windowed living room appear larger and brighter by using all-cream furniture and wall color. Use a similar shade on wall-mounted cabinets. Use concealed lighting in key areas, and add some interest with patterned or textured walls.
94. A simple trick to add color to an otherwise all-gray living room is to add a large, brightly colored pendant light at the center.
95. When using all-white furniture, add a patterned area rug or bright drapes.
96. Introduce different textures in an all-white room with a crocheted sofa throw, a nubby rug, rough linen, etc.
97. Condo living rooms look great with minimal, contemporary furniture and some spots of color.
98. Old furniture can be updated for a contemporary living room. Keep the upholstery in solid, supersaturated colors and match with some modern pieces like a glass coffee table and simple, cream or white neutral walls and drapes.
99. For a family room, use an extra-large coffee table that can double as a game table.
100. If you want to be able to change the accents with the seasons, keep the basic room neutral. Add pops of seasonal color through cushions, throws, and paintings.
101. Cool metals can make great accents to add to a room’s sophistication – in mirror frames, coffee table and furniture legs and silvered andirons in the fireplace.
Have fun planning and doing up your living room!
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