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A Beginner’s Guide to Decorating Your Living Room

guide to decor


Your living room is just that — a space where you sit, lounge, entertain, relax, and hang out. It’s the center of where you live! Given its importance in your home and daily life, your living room is also one of the most important (and fun) to decorate. But where do you start?

If you’ve ever struggled with choosing colors and fabrics, coming up with a design theme, arranging furniture, or just picking out furniture in the first place, this short living room decoration guide will help. 

1. Identify your needs

Start by answering this question: What sort of activities will this room host? What sorts of things do you use your living room space for? Your list might include:

  • Movie nights
  • Watching sports
  • Games
  • Yoga or other workouts
  • Dinner or cocktail parties
  • Fireside chats
  • Reading and listening to music
  • Relaxing, taking naps, or just lounging

Your living room should serve your needs. By considering the activities the space will support, you’ll be in a better mindset to start furnishing and decorating to meet your style of living.

2. Find your style 

Chances are you already have some personal preferences on how you want your space to look. The trick is to figure out how these preferences translate to an interior design style.

Here are a few tips for identifying your decoration style:

  • Look at magazines, interior design websites, or social media sites like Instagram and Pinterest for inspiration. Bookmark the photos of styles that catch your eye.
  • Pay attention to your friend’s homes, noticing the things you like and, more importantly, what you don’t like.
  • Take an interior design style quiz — there are dozens of them online! Like this one from HGTV, or this one from
  • Go look at different styles of furnishings and decor, noting your favorite pieces and their style.

You may find that you have a traditional or classic style, or maybe your preferences are more contemporary and modern. Whatever your style is, once you’ve decided the direction your living room style will go, everything else will follow.

3. Choose a color scheme

Use some of the same strategies from finding your style, to help choose your living room color scheme. Looking for inspiration and taking note of what others are doing is the best way to define your own look and the mood or vibe you want to evoke. Here are a few tips:

  • Does your room have nice natural light? If not, choose lighter colors to brighten the space
  • Relax the living room space with cool tones
  • Consider darker tones in large rooms
  • Follow the color scheme in other parts of your home to create cohesion
  • Avoid peppering the space with too many colors 
  • Use the color wheel to figure out which colors and tones look good together,

When in doubt, we recommend choosing a neutral tone for your walls and using throw pillows and other accent details to add colorful pops in the room. Still can’t decide for color? When all else fails, 3 white walls and 1 accent color wall can be simple, yet amazing! 

4. Buy a couch

In nearly every living room, the couch is the centerpiece. It’s the foundation for the style and color scheme of your living room and perhaps the most-used furniture item in the room. That’s why we always recommend making your couch the very first purchase for your living room.

If you’re still not sure what your decor style or color scheme is, choose a couch you like and base the rest of your living room decor around that piece.

Here’s how to find the right couch for your space:

  • Measure your space so you have the dimensions in mind when looking at sofas
  • Go look at couches in person to get a better feel for the color, texture, and comfort
  • Choose a couch that can stand the test of time and is a quality piece
  • Don’t forget your functional needs — things like how many people can sit on the couch, or whether or not you have kids that might require a darker color (or taupe), and how durable is the upholstered material? 

We recommend talking to a furniture expert to help you choose the best couch for your space and needs.

5. Build on your foundation

Now that you have a couch, the rest of your living room is a blank canvas from which to build on. We recommend building on your foundation with accent furniture, lights, and rugs. But remember: add items strategically to meet the needs of your family and the size of your space.

  • Functional accent furniture — A well-decorated space is purposeful and beautiful. For example, a coffee table can serve as a focal centerpiece and also a place to set a coffee cup or drink, set up a board game, or rest your feet. A few cozy chairs or floor pillows provide extra seating when you have guests.
  • Lighting — Layered lighting in the room allows you to adjust the amount of light for reading, watching a movie, or just setting the mood. Aim for 1 floor lamp and, if there’s room, 1 side table lamp.
  • Rugs — An area rug is an excellent way to bring a space together while adding a cozy, homey feeling. This is especially true if you have wood or another flooring material besides carpet.

Don’t forget to leave room to breathe! The last thing you want to do is add so many furniture pieces and accents that it makes the space feel small and closed off. 

6. Add embellishments to bring it all together

Now that you have all the staples, it’s time to zhoosh it up and make it your own. This includes adding accessories, artwork, and cozy accents. 

  • Decorate through art — You don’t need to fill every inch of your walls with photos and artwork, but hanging some special pieces will help make your living room feel complete and add a personalized element.
  • Layering — Use different textures to help create an inviting and comfortable space. Items like throw blankets, pillows, and tapestries are great accent pieces that add personality and warmth. And don’t forget curtains and blinds that fit with the aesthetic and style of your room and home.
  • Accessorize strategically — Don’t forget to add items and decorations that add joy to your life. That may be plants, trinkets from loved ones or past travels, candles, or other cozy pieces. Just remember to be strategic about the items you choose to embellish your space with. There’s a fine line between tasteful decor and clutter.

Ready to start shopping for your living room?

When searching for living room furniture and decor, you have a lot of options. At Furniture Plus, our goal is to earn your business through high-quality pieces, excellent prices, and amazing customer service.

We’re open 7 days a week and have hundreds of top-of-the-line living room furniture options for you to choose from. Visit us in the trendy Gateway District — whether you’re just looking for inspiration, have some questions, or are ready to make a purchase, we’re here to help.