Decorating 101: The ultimate guide to living room decor

The 7 rules of living room décor

1. Be true to your own style

“Be faithful to your own taste, because nothing you really like is ever out of style,” said Billy Baldwin, New York-based interior designer. In your living room, choose colours, fabrics and furniture that you truly love, because then you’re guaranteed to have a room that not only makes you happy, but is uniquely you, and that will never go out of style.

2. Find a focal point

Every living room has a focal point, be it a dominant wall, television, art work or fireplace. Find the focal point of your room and orient the rest of your living room décor around it. It’s important that your room have an identifiable centre.

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3. Layout the room according to function

It’s incredibly important that this room be functional, so take the time to really plan the layout of your living room so that it effectively serves every purpose you need it to. Make sure it’s laid out in such a way that encourages conversation, that there’s an area the children can play and everyone can see the television.

4. Pick multifunctional pieces

For living room décor that serves every purpose, multifunctional furniture is the way to go. Choose a hardy coffee table so you won’t worry about the children if they use it for drawing. Pick ottomans with extra storage to hide away board games or throw blankets, and choose furniture that can either be easily moved around, or comfortable accommodate the whole family and guests.

5. Make sure you living room décor uses scale

For a living room that looks perfectly styled, make sure you pick pieces of furniture in different sizes and height. This way, you’re living room décor will loom interesting and balanced. Think a low coffee table, a tall floor lamp, some medium-sized indoor plants with heavy pots. Try a pendant light to draw the eye towards the ceiling and the centre of the room.

6. Add texture and depth

Interior design David Hicks said “The best rooms have something to say about the people who live in them,” and that’s incredibly true when it comes to picking your living room décor. You need to add texture and depth by way of accessories and soft furnishings such as cushions, throw blankets, rugs, lighting, and decorative items. Try to incorporate different fabrics and textures. Look for velvet, linen, wool and leather, and combine it with quilted, crocheted or patterned finishes.

For lamps and decorative items, now is the time to pull out those beloved trinkets and family photos and put them on display.

7. Pick your colours wisely

Picking the paint colours for your living room décor is a highly personal choice. If you live in a home with kids and pets, you might be best choosing a colour that is easy to maintain, and will hide minor dirt or fur. If you’re looking for a timeless palette, neutrals such as white, grey, cream, beige and navy are classic selections. If you want to make a personal statement about your style, be bold and try bright colours that reflect your energy.

5 Living room décor trends to try

If you want living room décor that is very ‘now’ but has a timeless twist, try incorporating these new living room trends with timeless furniture and a classic colour palette. Interior designer Lydia Maskiell has seen many interior design trends come and go, but these are her favourite from the past 12 months.  

1. Curves

“I love the integration of curves into living room decor as opposed to the straight edges that we’ve previously seen. People tend to feel naturally more relaxed around curved surfaces. The busier we get, the more we look to our home as a sanctuary, and with that I’m finding we’re gravitating towards the softness of curves. Items such as circular coffee tables, circular pendant lights and round trays have a soft sophistication and organic shape. I’m seeing a surge in more shapely furniture from curved sofas through to curved side tables as key pieces.”

2. Dark Timber 

“Blonde timber that are popular in Scandinavian design are very popular here in Australia, but I’m really enjoying the return of dark timbers,” says Lydia. “There is a certain prestige and perceived level of quality with darker timbers. Dark timber is best paired with jewel tones.”

3. Jewel Tones 

“I’m definitely on the jewel tone bandwagon, I love its moody opulence. These tones are great to create a space of quiet reflection and total luxury,” says Lydia. “Don’t be afraid to use deep moody tones in a room. Deep burgundy, violets, navies and forest greens paired with dark timbers and darker coloured natural stones such as black marble work beautifully with accents of brass. This look speaks to a space of utter sophistication and elegance. The jewel tones in velvet is a look I’m particularly drawn to.”

4. Black Marble 

“We’ve seen so much white carrara marble and similar variations of it in recent years, but as we move toward a more timeless, classic style in our homes, black marble is just gorgeous. Try a nero marquina-look marble coffee table or smaller decor accents of sculptured black marble.”

5. Wallpaper 

“I’m a huge wallpaper fan,” says Lydia. “I’m finding that more and more clients are wanting to use wallpaper, and it’s so much easier to use than it ever was before. We’re seeing more bold statements with botanical patterns and watercolours used in an oversized art print. My clients are looking for more colour, which is often reflected through their wallpaper selections.”

You might also like:

How to decorate your living room like a professional

How to do Hamptons style interiors

6 trendy decor items that are already dated 


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