How to decorate a living room in 7 easy steps

Our living rooms are often where we spend the majority of our downtime at home, so it’s important to create a space that is relaxing, inviting, and works for your needs.

Whether you’re considering a full living room revamp or want to refresh your space for a new season, there are a few simple steps to follow that will ensure your lounge not only looks good, but is well-designed to maximise space and natural light, creating a cosy sanctuary you’ll love for years to come.

Discover how to decorate a living room in seven easy steps with our expert tips from Alysha Alli, Head of Interiors at premium housebuilder, Redrow, from how to find the perfect layout to choosing your colour scheme.

1. Find the best layout for your living room

How to decorate a living room in 7 easy steps© Redrow
The positioning of your furniture can have a big impact on how your living room looks

“The layout of your home is almost as important as the architecture itself,” Alysha says. “Redrow homes are designed to offer the perfect mix of open plan areas – social spaces that are made to be the lively hub of your family home. Placing a mirror on the correct wall or a coffee table positioned at the perfect angle, can all enlarge and bring a breath of fresh air to your key living space.”

SHOP: 8 best corner sofas for your living room in 2023

The interior designer suggested zoning your living room could also be an effective way to design your space.

“Home-zoning is the new trend which allows you to maximise each living area or space. By placing an L-shaped sofa around a focal point, like a wall-mounted TV, and fitting a rug that sits snugly within the space, you can create an intimate, cosy area that’s clearly designated for relaxation. You can then create a ‘reading corner’ by the window with the addition of an accent occasional chair and a large plant. This may still leave some space such as a small alcove, but you can utilise this by adding a lamp to brighten up the corner or even a standalone bookshelf.”

2. Choose the correct dimensions for your space

 A common mistake people make when decorating their living rooms is to choose furniture or accessories that are either too big or too small for the space, so taking time to consider the correct dimensions for your living area can make a big difference to its overall look and feel.

 “Before purchasing your furniture or rug, use tape to create outlines of the size in your room so you can envision how it’ll translate into your space,” Alysha says. “To maximise your room and make it feel spacious, consider adding an oversized feature rug underneath the sofa to instantly open up and elevate the space. For the most affordable solution, select various smaller rugs and layer them for a deluxe feel.” 

3. Prioritise quality and comfort over fast interior fashion

Your living room is a space where it’s important to invest in pieces that will stand the test of time, whether it’s a luxurious sofa or accent chair, or an eye-catching piece of artwork.

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“Your living room should be a safe haven and immediately make you feel at your most peaceful. However, it can be tempting to purchase matching sets which make your room look uninspired,” Alysha says.

Artwork can be an effective way to transform your living room© Redrow
Artwork can be an effective way to transform your living room

“Using different pieces and injecting various colours and textures will transform a modest room into a statement piece. Redrow show homes often feature bespoke items and artwork, and this can be recreated in your own home by finding local markers or choosing handmade pieces over those that are mass-produced. Incorporating an oversized piece of art will also help bring your room to life – often second-hand pieces work better and are much more cost effective.”

4. Think about lighting

 “The most crucial element in decorating your living room is paying attention to your lighting. Instead of having one feature pendant in the centre of the space, placing smaller lamps dotted around to create a cohesive space that is both calm and tranquil rather than stark and bright will help emulate an opulent environment. Whether that be reading lights, smaller side table lamps or candles – designers always play with lighting to transform a space.”

MORE: 8 tricks to make small living rooms appear bigger

5. Use The 60/30/10 rule to choose your colour scheme

Following the 60/30/10 rule can create a cohesive and effective colour scheme© Redrow
Following the 60/30/10 rule can create a cohesive and effective colour scheme

According to the interior designer, there is a science to selecting the perfect colour scheme for any room, including your living room.

“Before choosing your colour scheme, it’s imperative to learn a splash of colour theory. A classic décor rule for those looking to layer colours is the 60/30/10 rule – the perfect ratio in creating harmony across your space,” Alysha says. “60% of your room should be a dominant colour, 30% should be the secondary colour or texture and the last 10% should be an accent. This a fail-safe way to pick your colours and understand how to balance the hues throughout your home.”

MORE: The ultimate best sofas guide for 2023 – the big trends and top brands to choose from

 6. Add surprising accents

 “It’s important to not continually layer neutrals with neutrals, but to also have an accent which will give real personality to your space. Deep burgundy imparts a sense of sophistication and luxury with purple-cast tones, whilst pairing pure black on an organic surface dimension will create provocative statement pieces,” Alysha recommends.

“Don’t fear breaking the mould and going with amber – by incorporating rich yellows and oranges, your home design will be infused with a solar glow. Enriched browns will also uncover deep earthy tones to create warm and welcoming environments.”

Accessories such as mirrors and artwork add character to your living room© Redrow
Accessories such as mirrors and artwork add character to your living room

7. Experiment with 2023/4 colour trends

If you want to add a nod to current interior design trends, then colour can be the way to do it, using soft furnishings such as cushions as an accent piece.

“Looking further ahead, Apricot Crush is looking to emerge as a trending colour due to its restorative and energetic hue that is perfect for achieving a calm and optimistic home. Sophisticated and gender-neutral, tonal pastels are used in an elevated way either as a singular accent colour among neutrals or as a palette of warmth across interior schemes.”

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