What should I put in a living room?

The living room is one of the most important rooms in a home. It’s usually the largest room and serves as the main gathering place for family and guests. Deciding what to put in your living room can be an exciting yet daunting task. There are so many options to consider from seating and lighting to décor and electronics. The living room sets the tone for your home’s style so it’s important to choose pieces that reflect your taste and personality. Follow these tips to create a warm, inviting living room your family and friends will love.

Determine Your Needs

Before shopping for living room furniture or accessories, consider who will be using the space and what activities normally take place there. Here are some key questions to ask yourself:

– How many people do you need seating for? Is the living room used for entertaining large groups or mainly immediate family? Plan seating accordingly.

– What do people do in your living room? Watch movies? Read? Play games? Understanding usage will inform your layout and furniture choices.

– Do you need space for a home office area or children’s play area? Decide if you’ll designate zones within the living room.

– How much natural light does the room get? More windows means you can get away with less lighting. Northern exposure may require supplemental light.

– What is the size and layout of the space? Be sure to measure accurately when shopping to ensure pieces fit.

– What is your decorating style? Choose furniture and accents that complement your overall aesthetic.

– Do you need extra storage? Coffee tables, ottomans and cabinets can provide concealed storage solutions.

Taking the time to analyze your living room needs will pay off tremendously when it comes time to select the right furniture and decor. Don’t forget to consider traffic flow and conversational groupings when laying out the space as well.

Essential Living Room Furniture

While living rooms can contain a variety of furniture pieces, there are a few basics that every living room should have:

Sofas and Chairs

Comfortable seating for relaxing and conversing is a must. Leather or upholstered sofas provide plush seating. Look for quality construction with sturdy frames and durable fabrics. Make sure cushions are comfortable yet supportive. Include a few matching armchairs or loveseats to accommodate additional guests. Slipcovered pieces make redecorating easy.

Coffee Table

Coffee tables anchor living room seating. They provide a convenient spot to set drinks, books or decor. Look for a style and size proportionate to your sofas. Lift-top coffee tables double as storage units.

Side Tables

Flank sofas and chairs with side tables to hold lamps, small decor and tabletop items. Round, square and rectangular shapes work well. Opt for similar colors and finishes as other wood pieces in the room.

TV Stand

The TV remains a focal point in many family living rooms. Choose an appropriately-sized TV console with enough space for your television, video players, video games, streaming devices, cable box and other AV equipment. Look for interior shelves and drawers to keep media components organized yet concealed.

Floor Lamp

A floor lamp placed next to a sofa provides both ambient lighting and a task light source for reading. Look for adjustable height and pivoting heads for maximum utility.

Living Room Storage Solutions

Living rooms tend to accumulate clutter quickly. Improve organization with these storage furnishing ideas:


Bookcases not only hold books, but can display decorative items and house media components. Look for laterally open shelving to use bookcases as room dividers.


Cabinets offer enclosed storage to conceal electronics, gaming consoles, DVDs and more. Opt for low-profile media consoles and hutches.


Entryway cubbies provide storage for gloves, shoes, bags and other items near the front door. Wall-mounted or freestanding options available.


Upholstered ottomans often open up to reveal hidden storage space. Use as a coffee table or extra seating.


Floating shelves create display space for decorative objects. Mount to walls or hang from the ceiling.


Vintage-style trunks offer character along with storage. Use as a coffee table or tuck next to chairs.

Living Room Lighting Tips

Proper living room lighting creates an inviting ambiance. Mix different lighting sources throughout the space:

Ambient Lighting

Installing recessed lighting or pendant lights ensures the living room has soft, even ambient lighting. Dimmer switches allow you to control brightness.

Task Lighting

Desk and floor lamps provide directed light for tasks like reading. Use bulbs with appropriate lumens and color temperature.

Accent Lighting

Use track lighting or picture lights to highlight artwork and architectural details.

Natural Lighting

Maximize sunlight through ample windows and glass doorways. Install sheer curtains to diffuse light as needed.


A classic living room centerpiece, fireplaces emit a warm glow along with heat. Electric options available for flexibility.


Grouped candles of varying heights add flattering ambient light and scent. Use flameless versions for safety.

Blending light sources creates dimension, visual interest and enough illumination for both tasks and relaxation. Don’t overlook lighting when designing your living room.

Small Living Room Ideas

While a spacious living room is nice, you can still create a stylish, functional small living room. Use these tips to make a little living room feel larger:

Go for Multifunctional Furniture

Look for furniture that can serve more than one purpose like ottomans with storage space inside or coffee tables with lift-tops to store accessories. This cuts down on clutter in tight spaces.

Use Wall-Mounted Fixtures

Install sconces or shelving on walls instead of standing lamps and bookcases which take up floor space.

Use Mirrors Strategically

Mirrors reflect light and create the illusion of more space. Hang on walls or look for mirrored furniture pieces like coffee tables.

Keep Furniture Scale Small

While a dainty sofa or chair may look out of proportion in a large room, small-scale furnishings will fit a compact living room best.

Declutter Aggressively

Only keep essentials in a small living room to avoid clutter which makes the space feel cramped. Store little-used items elsewhere.

Use Pale Color Palettes

Neutrals and soft hues show less visual contrast, creating a seamless flow in a small living room. Bold patterns and dark colors tend to shrink the space.

Living Room Decorating Ideas

Decorating a living room requires balancing functional needs with aesthetic appeal. Follow these tips:

Incorporate Artwork

Make artwork the focal point of your living room. Hang large scale pieces or gallery wall groupings to establish visual interest.

Add House Plants

Plants like snake plants or orchids liven up living rooms with natural elements. They also improve indoor air quality.

Design a Focal Point

Draw the eye to a specific area like the fireplace or large window using surrounding furniture and lighting.

Layer Textiles

Use pillows, throws and area rugs in coordinating colors and patterns to create depth and dimension.

Display Meaningful Items

Personalize your living room with treasured mementos, family photos, travel souvenirs or collections.

Include Unexpected Accents

Inject character through unique details like an architectural salvage mantel, sculptural vases or eye-catching easel.

The right mix of colors, textures, lighting and furnishings transforms a living room from merely functional to an invitation for relaxing.

Budget-Friendly Living Room Ideas

Updating your living room doesn’t have to drain your wallet. Follow these budget-savvy tips:

Shop Discount Stores

Check stores like Target, Ikea, Costco and Best Buy for affordable furniture and home goods. Compare prices online too.

Mix High and Low

Invest in a couple statement pieces like an elegant sofa or chandelier then complement with more economical tables, rugs and accent items.


Give dated furniture new life with a fresh coat of paint or slipcovers. Turn a vintage trunk into a coffee table.

Check Resale Shops

Browse consignment furniture shops, thrift stores, antiques malls, estate sales and online exchanges for deals on unique finds.

Prioritize Multifunctional Pieces

Opt for furniture like ottomans and storage benches that serve multiple purposes. Cubbie units work as wardrobe space and room dividers.

Embrace Neutrals

Cream, beige and gray backgrounds keep things simple yet sophisticated. Then use trendy accent pieces for color pops.

Savvy living room updates are possible even on a limited budget with resourceful thinking and shopping. Focus your dollars on flexible staple pieces.

Living Room Refresh Ideas

If your living room feels stale and outdated, implement some of these easy refresh tactics:

Rearrange Layout

Experiment with different furniture configurations to give the room a fresh perspective. Switch focal points.

Update Accessories

Swap out accent pillows, throws, area rugs and other accessories for more current colors and patterns.

Edit Furnishings

Remove unused furniture to open up space. Donate pieces that no longer fit your style or family’s needs.

Change Lighting

Just switching light fixtures, adding a floor lamp or installing a dimmer can make a lighting feel updated.


A new wall color instantly transforms the look of a room. Trending neutral hues include greige, alabaster and rustic taupe.

Switch up Artwork

Take down outdated framed prints and replace with eye-catching contemporary pieces that reflect your current interests.

Slipcover Sofas

Crisp white slipcovers give sofas and chairs a beachy relaxed vibe. Custom-fit options available.

A few strategic changes can work magic on a stale living room. Focus on pieces that make the most visual impact for your time and money.


Designing your ideal living room requires balancing style, function and budget. First determine how you want to use the space and who will be enjoying it. Then incorporate comfortable, durable furniture suited for both relaxing and entertaining. Don’t forget decorative accents that express your personality. Proper lighting and sensible storage solutions make the room both attractive and practical. With some creativity, even small spaces can become beautiful, well-appointed living rooms. The right furnishings coupled with personal touches turn a living room from boring to fabulous.

Living Room Item Budget Option Mid-Range Option High-End Option
Sofa Ikea Friheten Sleeper Sectional West Elm Andes Sloping Arm Sofa Restoration Hardware Cloud Sofa
Coffee Table Target 3-Tier Wood Coffee Table Crate & Barrel Straight Line Walnut Coffee Table West Elm Terra Slabs Coffee Table
Rug Loloi Anastasia Power Loomed Rug West Elm Crackled Wool Rug Masland Diverse Splendor Rug
Pendant Light Amazon Basics 1-Light Pendant West Elm Orbital Pendant Schoolhouse Electric Edison-Style Beacon Pendant
Throw Pillows (Set of 2) Target Threshold Velvet Pillows West Elm Velvet Embroidered Geo Pillow Covers Frontgate Resort Stripe Pillows
Floor Lamp Target Threshold Arched Floor Lamp Urban Outfitters Adelaide Floor Lamp Rh Exclusive Jasper Floor Lamp
Chair Ikea Poang Chair Lulu and Georgia Oren Accent Chair Design Within Reach Eames Lounge Chair
Side Table Target Square Wood Side Table Crate and Barrel Parsons Rectangular Side Table West Elm Mid-Century Side Table
TV Stand Ikea Besta TV Unit Crate and Barrel Anford Media Console Arteriors Home Hancock TV Stand
Bookcase Ikea Billy Bookcase Crate and Barrel Shelft West Elm Rustic Storage Bookcase

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