wikiHow to Decorate a Living Room

Your living room is the nucleus of a home, where you can relax, unwind, and spend quality time with friends and family. Decorating a living room from scratch may seem overwhelming, but it can also be very rewarding as your plans become realized. Read this article to learn how.


  1. Image titled Decorate a Living Room Step 1
    Determine how the living room will be used. This will help you decide what furniture to buy and what theme/color scheme to choose. Determine how many people will be using the living room on a regular basis so that you can buy the appropriate sized couch and include the right number of seats, if applicable.
    • Account for the practical as well as the aesthetic uses of the room. Consider how you will use the room as well as how you want it to look. Keep both in mind as you plan your decorating budget.
    • Decide whether or not you want to have a television set. If you do, then decide on where the television set will be placed before decorating; avoid placing it in a spot with excessive window glare. You may also need to buy an entertainment system or armoire to hold the television.
  2. Image titled Decorate a Living Room Step 2
    Choose a color scheme and style. Having a theme in mind is important when picking out new furniture so that you can achieve your desired aesthetic. You might also want to consider changing the color of your walls to match your preferences. Consider the following ideas for living room themes:
    • Warm tones. Paint your walls cucumber-green and buy yellow and orange accent pieces, which include arm chairs, throw pillows, and pieces of artwork.[1] This color scheme creates a warm, playful environment that is both colorful and settled.
    • English country. This includes green, blue, red, or gray toile-patterned wallpaper, chintz-patterned accent pieces, shabby-chic furniture, and elegant china.[2] Offset the splashes of color with neutral tones to avoid a living room that is too busy.
    • French country. Like English country, this style combines colorful patterns like stripes and checkers with neutral tones. Find vintage neutral-toned French-provincial pieces, and add deep red and blue accents.[3] For a more formal look, add elegant drapes and a glass chandelier.
    • Modern/contemporary style. Modern design is very minimalist; stick with neutral tones like beige, gray, and dark brown, and choose furniture with straight lines and smooth surfaces (stay away from detailed embroidery or carvings).[4] Try a long, L-shaped couch in beige with dark gray throw-pillows and a dark wooden rectangular coffee table.
  3. Image titled Decorate a Living Room Step 3
    Take measurements. Before buying any furniture, you should measure the length and width of your living room. Determine where you want to position each piece of furniture and the proper measurements for that area.
    • You should also measure the height of your ceiling if you plan on buying a bookcase or armoire.
  4. Image titled Decorate a Living Room Step 4
    Get the essentials. Regardless of what style or color scheme you choose, you will need the following items to complete your living room:
    • A couch. Consider getting one longer couch (seating 4-5) and one smaller one (seating 2-3). Place them perpendicular to one another.
    • Coffee table. This will serve as the centerpiece of the room, and can be used for magazines, books, television remotes, etc. The couches should be placed around the coffee table.
    • Accent chair(s). These add splashes of color and provide additional seating.
    • Television or fireplace. These serve as points of reference to determine what direction to point your furniture in. If you don't have either of these items, then face your couches and chairs toward one another with a coffee table in the middle.
  5. Image titled Decorate a Living Room Step 5
    Add embellishments. Once you have gotten the essentials, you will need to add some smaller, decorative items. Find artwork for the walls, and decorate your mantelpiece with figurines, candles, and picture frames. You might also need one or more lamps to provide additional lighting.
    • Other items include a bowl of fruit for the coffee table, potted plants, vases with flowers, and various books or magazines.
    • Consider hanging window drapes or getting blinds for your windows, particularly if windows face out into the street.
    • If you have wooden floors, consider getting a large rug to cover your floors.


  • You don't have to buy all of your furniture from the same store. Mix and match, and consider buying both new and old (second-hand) furniture.
  • If you are going for a vintage look, then shop at your local thrift store for unique, one-of-a-kind finds for super low prices.
  • Scour different home design magazines and websites for style inspiration.
  • Consider hiring a decorator to help you find the style you want.

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Categories: Home Decorating