25 best-ever living room ideas

Let these gorgeous living room ideas inspire you, whatever your style or budget...

Living room ideas
(Image credit: Ikea)

A living room update can be so easy and yet, so satisfying. And, our roundup of living room ideas will inspire you to transform your lounge in an instant. With so many different looks and living room layout options to go for in this room that really is the heart of most homes, it's clear why this is one of our favourite spaces to decorate. 

We have put together our edit of all the latest living room trends, colour schemes, styling tips and more to help you add personality to your space. No matter what your style or budget, or your room's size, you will find plenty of inspiration here. And, if you are after more practical advice on living room design, make sure you check out our guide too. 

1. Change your living room layout for a budget revamp

Living room ideas

(Image credit: Ikea)

Before you buy anything new, re-envision what you already have. Refocusing the layout could allow you to update your living room, without splashing out. So, rather than following the same traditional layout in your living room – coffee table in the middle, sofas pushed up against either wall, TV at one end – why not try something more interesting, like pulling your furniture away from the wall; or using a piece of artwork as a focal point (rather than the TV); or even just de-cluttering and clearing out some furniture to make the living room feel larger? 

For more tips on living room layouts head over to our feature. 

2. Go for a modern take on traditional with paint ideas

traditional living room idea with green walls in London home

(Image credit: Malcolm Menzies)

A really quick and easy living room idea is to get experimental with paint. And when we say 'experimental', we mean anything from painting the room a cleaner shade of white to painting polka dots all over the ceiling. Whatever your style, paint can transform a room really quickly.

We love this green living room, it's such a cool, unusual colour that looks fab with the pops of blue and orange – a colourful space in a very not-too-much kind of way. For more living room paint ideas, check out our feature. 

3. Go bold with a dark living room 

Living room idea with black wall and wooden floor

(Image credit: Jemma Watts)

You can always use paint to live out your dark living room dreams. We love this room because, yes, the walls are very dark, but the space doesn't feel dark at all – the light floors and bright high ceilings (made to look even higher because the dark colour only goes up to the picture rail), keep the space light and airy. 

If you are after a similar colour, you can't go wrong with Farrow & Ball's classic, Railings. Find more dark and dramatic interiors over in our gallery. 

4. Or keep things light with a Scandi living room

Ikea living room ideas

(Image credit: Ikea)

Not tempted by the dark side just yet? Keep things really light with an all-white living room colour palette. You can add interest with textures rather than colours and different neutral hues. Obviously, this colour palette works especially well in small living rooms, as choosing lighter and brighter colours is only going to expand the space.

5. Mix and match contrasting colours alongside texture

Living room idea using pink and green velvet

(Image credit: Katie Lee)

If you are after living room ideas that are instantly going to add something different to your space, choosing new colours to incorporate is a great place to start. If you have got the budget, a new sofa or armchair (see our pick of the best sofas before you buy) can be the start of a whole new look. And be brave with the colours you choose – see how this dark green works with the pink? Not a colour combo we would have instantly gone for, but the result is really luxurious.

6. Get inspired by neutral living room ideas 

cream sofas in cottage living room with fireplace

(Image credit: Amanda Hamilton)

How lovely and cosy does this traditional living room look? It's an easy style to copy too, just keep everything very muted and soft. Eyeing up that wall panelling too? It is a nice way to add another pale colour to the room and add to that rustic feel. You can actually DIY panelling if your home hasn't got any originals: B&Q have a guide you can follow easily. 

7. Add texture with an exposed brick wall

Exposed brick wall in a Scandi living room

(Image credit: Katie Lee © Future)

Now if you are lucky, you will find beautiful bricks under your plaster and it can be a straightforward, if not slightly messy, DIY project to expose them. We have a guide to how to create an exposed brick wall if you want a step by step, but it basically goes like this: strip back layers of plaster until your get to the original brick; once you've got to that and it's in good condition you can do what you like with it; leave it bare (but coat it with a suitable clear finish to stop it shedding), paint it, hang shelves on it. 

8. Go for a simple, Mid-century modern living room

living room

(Image credit: Vanessa Arbuthnott)

Another simple living room idea, what could be more inviting than a Mid-century modern inspired lounge? From low-key furniture, to clean-cut storage, muted colours and really subtle decor, this is a trend that isn't going away in a hurry, and it is the perfect way to create a sophisticated space. 

9. Add life with house plants

Living room ideas

(Image credit: Ikea)

A quick and cheap living room idea to add life (literally) and greenery to your space is to add plenty of house plants. Invest in a mixture of small and large indoor plants and then dot them around the room over shelves, sideboards and mantlepieces. The plants you choose will add to the style of your living room too – a palm will add an exotic boho feel, while a bonsai will add a polished and more structured look. 

Not sure where to start with caring for houseplants? Check out our guide.  

10. Create a coastal feel with stripes and panelling 

Beachy living room idea with panelled walls and striped sofa

(Image credit: Argos)

Coastal interiors are such a classic, and the beachy look works so well in living rooms because it's clean and bright, but really inviting and cosy, too. To get this look, start with a blank canvas, paint the whole room white, cream or a lovely pale blue (try Farrow & Ball Light Blue). Then you can add the details and accessories; soft muted coloured furnishing, add the occasional striped thrown in for a proper coastal look.

If you want to copy the shiplap wall in the living room above, check out Wickes they have a DIY kit that will achieve a similar look. 

11. DIY your own panelling!

chair arts and crafts panelled living room

(Image credit: Jody Stewart)

And if shiplap is a bit too beach house vibes for you, DIY some traditional wall panelling using beading. This living room might have original panelling but you can achieve a very similar look just check out our guide to DIY wall panelling

12. Mix modern furniture with vintage finds 

Grey living room with a mix of modern and vintage decoration

(Image credit: Colin Poole)

We love living room designs that mix old and new, it just makes them so much more... liveable. A velvet upholstered 18th-century French chaise longue might look wonderful but you can't get comfy on that to binge watch Netflix, now can you? So choosing new pieces, like a sofa, and mixing them with your original vintage finds, not only looks fab but is practical, too. (P.S. put the chaise longue in the hallway...)

Gallery wall used as a living room idea to add colour

(Image credit: Homesense)

Ah, the humble gallery wall. We have sung your praises so many times, but really you are just such a great way to bring colour and pattern into a living room. Once you have curated your collection of prints and photos, they are really quick to get up too – you could have a totally new feature in your living room in just an afternoon.

For more tips and gallery wall ideas check out our feature. 

14. Go for cool pendant lighting in your living room

Living room with grey sofa, original fireplace, large mirror and rug

(Image credit: Fiona Murray)

Stopped noticing your living room lighting? It's time for a change! Pick out a statement pendant light to be the new focus of your living room. It doesn't have to be your ceiling light either, if you are on a budget and don't want to get an electrician in, switch up your side lamps instead. Or it could be a case of adding more light into your living room to make it feel like it's had a refresh. 

We have loads of living room lighting ideas to get your inspired over in our gallery. 

15. Add gilded touches for a luxury living room 

Living room ideas with gold accents

(Image credit: Philip Lauterbach)

Believe it or not, this living room isn't huge (yes, okay, it's not tiny either) but the layout and the huge mirror above the fireplace really help this small living room feel more roomy and more luxurious. Of course, the lovely gold accents help too – if you are after an instant living room glow up, you can't go wrong with adding a touch of gold. 

Take a tour of the rest of this gorgeous period terrace for loads more inspiration. 

16. Hang mirrors to create the illusion of space

Sofa in living room at the house of Gabrielle Blackman

(Image credit: Gabrielle Blackman)

For a living room idea that is going to add light and space, mirrors are always going to work. It may be Interior Design 101, but if you have a small living room, or a dark living room, adding a mirror is only going to help things by expanding the space and bring in more light. Magic, we know. 

17. Go big with beautiful living room storage

black sofa and checked sofa in living room in front of bookshelf with lots of books

(Image credit: Bruce Hemming)

It might not be as fun as painting your living room, but getting your living room storage sorted can be just as effective. Totally decluttering your room will not only give you more space to get decorating, it will obviously make your living room feel bigger too as there won't be stuff covering every surface.

You can also make storage a key feature of your living room design. Floating shelves, bookcases, sideboards, all of these can be decorated beautifully. See, storage isn't so boring...

18. Layer texture to emphasise cosiness in a small living room 

Small cosy living room

(Image credit: Katie Lee)

Before we go on to talk about the many amazing living room ideas going on in this space, can we just appreciate the artful layering in this living room? That's how it's done, people! 

Along with the masterful layering that adds so much cosiness to this small living room, the mural also works towards adding texture. Murals are also a fab option if you are decorating a rented home, because you can choose to hang a mural rather than paste it permanently to your wall. The use of a mural also expands the space as it stops an expanse of white wall making the room feel boxy.

Love this living room? Well you are going to want to check out our grey living room ideas feature too.  

19. Create interest with a feature wall or mural

Sandberg wallpaper

(Image credit: Sandberg)

One up from wallpaper, a mural will create even more of a feature wall. Yes we know, murals don't always get the best rap but you can find some really cool ones that will add style to your room rather than a wall of snowy mountains or a New York skyline. Check out Sandberg for some gorgeous options. 

20. Go chic with shutters

Shutters as a living room idea

(Image credit: California Shutters)

Choosing the best living room window dressing can be tricky, because you want both the softness of curtains and the privacy of blinds – especially if your living room is at the front of the house. We have found what works best is a combination of the two. Layering a curtain over a blind. We have a whole guide on choosing living room curtains so if you want more advice be sure to check that out.  

But, of course, we can never resist the look of shutters and if you are after a clean, simple look, cafe shutters like the ones above, are a great option for living rooms too.

21. Add an area rug to lift a tired floor 

Neutral living room with black accents

(Image credit: Design: Bobby Berk; Photography: @marisavitalephotography)

If your current carpet is looking a bit worse for wear, a super easy living room idea is to cover it up with a massive area rug. And we mean massive – pick one that's going to go at least slightly under your furniture too so it looks almost like the rug is the carpet. 

We think jute rugs look best as area rugs and they are great for layering too, so you can pop a patterned rug over the top to add some texture. 

22. Pick interesting seating options

New Nordic style living room by John Lewis

(Image credit: John Lewis)

Investing in new furniture is always going to give your living room a bit of lift and if you are on the look out for a new sofa, or a new armchair, it's a great opportunity to find something more funky.

Pick a piece you can move around the room, too, for practicality more than anything else, but also because moving furniture around can be an easy way to keep a space feeling fresh.

23. Add detail with patterned wallpaper 

Farrow and Ball wall paper in a small, traditional living room

(Image credit: Farrow and Ball)

Second only to paint, we think wallpaper is one of the easiest living room ideas out there. Just one roll of wallpaper could totally change the style of your space. Wallpaper can look great on every wall, but we love it as just a feature wall – stops the space being too busy and gives the room a focus.  That means you could just add a feature wall, treat yourself to a couple of rolls of your dream wallpaper and hang it yourself. An update for under £100! 

If you want to learn how to wallpaper just head to our guide.

24. Create a maximalist living room 

Green velvet sofa in front of a gallery wall

(Image credit: Katie Lee)

Start with one roll of wallpaper, and it might lead to something bigger... We love this maximalist space: colour on every wall, including the floor! But it really doesn't look too much, the white walls and relatively neutral sofa colour keep the room looking fresh and not too full. 

25. Use lighting to create impact

Living room ideas

(Image credit: Ikea)

Living room lighting isn't just about the ambient, the task and the accent lighting (although that's a must to sort when designing a living room lighting scheme), it's also about the impact of the fittings. While pendant lighting in a living room should be used with caution (overhead fittings used alone will make the space feel soulless and bland), they should definitely be chosen and positioned for maximum effect. Loving how these are positioned over a coffee table to create a real focal point around the social zone of the space. And the lit glass cabinets are a real bonus...

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