How to Design a Living Room
Our editors select 39 best living room sets, for every budget and style.
1) Classic Living Room Furniture Set | 2) Poundex Bobkona Colona Mircosuede 3 Piece Sofa | 3) Furniture of America Leather Match Recliners Set | 4) Classic Ultra Living Room Sofa | 5) Signature Design by Ashley Darcy Living Room Set | 6) Signature Design by Ashley Darcy Sofa Chaise | 7) Flash Furniture Signature Design by Ashley Commando Set | 8) Divano Roma Classic Bonded Leather Sofa | 9) Poundex F7855 Bobkona Aria Sofa | 10) Poundex Bokona Miter Bonded Sectional | 11) American Eagle Furniture Living Room Set Sofa | 12) Serta RTA Copenhagen Collection 73″ Sofa | 13) Cream Leather Living Room Miniature Set | 14) DHP Charleston Vintage Futon | 15) Signature Design by Ashley Darcy Living Room Set | 16) Epic Furnishings Sofa Sleeper Bed | 17) Poundex F7858 Bobkona Aria Sofa and Loveseat Set | 18) Wynn Black Leather Sectional Sofa | 19) Homelegance Nail Head Accent Sofa | 20) Poundex F7857 Sofa and Loveseat Set | 21) Poundex F7878 Bobkona Shelton Sofa and Loveseat Set | 22) 5 Piece Living Room Furniture Set | 23) Dorel Living Marley Sofa | 24) Poundex F6904 Bobkona Windsor Loveseat Set | 25) Poundex Bobkona Colona Chair Set | 26) American Eagle Furniture Living Room Leather Sofa Set | 27) Baxton Studio Callidora Sectional Sofa | 28) Flash Furniture Purple Velvet Sectional | 29) Poundex F6903 Bobkona Sofa and Loveseat Set | 30) Poundex Bobkona Sherman Sofa and Loveseat Set | 31) Modern Two Tone Bonded Living Room Set | 32) 3 pieces Faux Linen Sectional Sofa | 33) Poundex Bobkona Viola Chaise SECTIONAL Set | 34) Light Grey Aspen Leather Loveseat | 35) AC Pacific Crystal Collection Living Room Set | 36) Outsunny 4-Piece Patio Furniture Set | 37) Poundex 2 Pieces Faux Leather Chaise Sofa | 38) Divano Roma Classic Living Room Furniture | 39) Modern Convertible Sofa Bed Chair Furniture Set |
Buying your first house is an exciting milestone. It can provide you with a blank canvas on which to make your creative design mark. By having a permanent place to live, you can make more enduring decisions when it comes to the furniture and décor.
The living room is a great place to start when it comes to decorating your new grown-up pad; it’s one of the most-used areas of the home and the perfect starting point for deciding your style. Say goodbye to college-era purchases and ratty hand-me-downs and hello to quality pieces that fit your design aesthetic.
Knowing where to begin when it comes to living room furniture and décor can be an overwhelming prospect. But it doesn’t have to be! In this design guide, you’ll learn what core pieces you need, where to splurge and where to skimp, and how to fit everything together for a sophisticated living room that’s totally you.
Decide on the Vibe
To start, decide what kind of feel you want your living room to embody. Is it a fun, friendly space where you can host football parties, a sophisticated and classy sitting area, a place where kids can have free rein, or a cozy book-reading sanctuary?
Let your answers to these questions drive the rest of your design and planning. If you’ve already decided the living room is a comfy family space, you might think twice before buying a beautiful, white custom couch and antique coffee table.
Start with the Walls
One major mistake new homeowners make is neglecting the walls in a room. Decide how you want your walls to look before you move in all your furniture. Think of colors that would fit your vibe and settle on a color palette. You should also choose a focal point: will it be the TV? The fireplace? A big picture window?
Once you’ve decided on your color scheme and focal point, give your room a fresh coat of paint. Even if you aren’t changing the color, a nice fresh coat of paint will brighten up a room. Make sure to do this before you move anything in (it’ll be a lot easier!). If you have the time and talent, install baseboards and crown molding for a classy touch.
Measure Twice, Shop Once
Once you have your ideal tone set, measure your space to see what furniture will fit. It’s much easier to plan the furniture layout if you know the exact dimensions of the room. This will save you time and backaches from moving all your furniture.
If you have a standard rectangular room, measuring is quite easy: Use a large tape measure to measure the length (the longest side) and the width (the shorter side). To get the perimeter (the border around the room), add the length and the width together. To calculate the area or square footage (the space you have inside the room), multiply the length by width.
Measuring an oddly shaped room is a little more challenging. For instance, if you have a bay window, measure your room as if it was a rectangle, excluding the length and width of the bay window. Use these numbers to get the main area of the room. Calculate the bay window area by measuring the length and width of the bay window. You can then add together the areas of the main portion and the bay window to get the total area.
While it may seem like a lot of math, measuring a room is important and doesn’t take more than a few minutes. When you’re in the furniture store picking a new sectional, you’ll be glad you have measurements to help you make a decision.
Make a List and Check it Twice
A great living room always has places to sit and lounge, places to set drinks and magazines, furniture for holding all your favorite things (whether that’s a flat-screen TV or a library’s worth of books — or both), lighting to set the mood, and lots of cozy textures.
Take a look at your lifestyle and determine what sort of pieces will help you do what you love. Will you need a large sectional to fit the whole gang on game days or a coffee table with rounded edges so baby doesn’t injure her head?
Make a list of must-haves and things that would be nice to have if you have leftover funds. Work with your partner to make note of any dislikes and non-negotiables — this will make your shopping experience so much smoother. Read: less fighting!
Be sure to browse online before going into stores. This will give you a chance to see other options that might not be available in showrooms. Even if you are planning on only buying online, still go to furniture stores and try out some pieces. You never know, what looks like the perfect settee might be horribly uncomfortable.