Living room design ideas, inspiration & pictures

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Living Room Design

How do I design the perfect living room?
Every individual has a different image in mind when they envisage the living room of their dreams. However, there are a few basic rules you can follow to ensure that you make the most of any room, regardless of the style or theme you’re going for. While taking into account the actual space you have to work with in terms of dimensions and shape, it’s important to stay true to personal preferences and ensure that a little bit of that individual touch is present. The living room is usually the centre of the home, so while we all want a stylish space, we should also maintain a cosy feeling and just the right amount of individuality. 

How to decorate a room easily: Although you need an element of creativity when decorating a room, keep in mind that this space needs to fit in with the rest of the home. The first step is to pick a theme you want to go with, but this can itself be a challenge, so we recommend first working with the items you already have, then building around them with fresh, on-trend pieces. When everything matches too much, it can result in an unappealing look, so try to acquire items from a variety of places including stores, online, markets and even the side of the road. A mixture of classic items and cool, newer pieces will result in a balance that will be appealing to people with tastes of all persuasions. 

Ideas and inspiration for living rooms
Whether you settle on a modern, classic, extravagant, rustic, Scandinavian, country or minimalist style or a combination of two, we have endless images and guides to help you get inspiration. Before choosing any furniture or decorative pieces, ask yourself what the primary function of your living room will be. Are you distinctly looking for something comfortable? Do you need the space to be practical and multi-functional? Is the actual “look” of the room the most important thing to you? Or do you want a space that masterfully finds the line between all these concepts? Determine how much space you have, find a room that inspires you and start making your own plans. Planning, after all, is often the most fun part. 

Which colour should I choose for the wall?
Before choosing the colour that you would like to paint your walls, consider whether the room needs to be completely done over, or whether a simple feature wall would suffice. This is one of the decisions that will largely relate to the size of the room, but as usual it’s all about personal preference as well. If your room is small, it’s usually the best idea to stick to whites, creams and pastel colours, as they can make a space seem larger. If your room is quite big however, bright colours and shades that pop are probably a better choice. We suggest painting a trial section before completing the entire room, as the way the sunlight moves throughout the home during the day will result in different shades and tones appearing, and you’ll want to be sure that your new colour lives up to expectations in all lights.  

Which type of floor should I choose for my living room?
This is often a difficult decision, as each option comes with a swathe of pros and a a couple of cons. Wooden floorboards are perhaps the most timeless and striking choice as they evoke a sense of nature, warmth and a welcoming vibe… but they are easy to scratch and dust shows up on them very quickly. Tiles are a top option in warm climates like South Africa because they tend to stay cool throughout the day and they are super easy to clean. This is particularly good if you’ve got pets, as well all know the annoyance of trying to clean fur and hairballs out of carpet. Carpets bring an unparalleled sense of cosiness to a space and as they’re available in so many colours and fabrics, the options for customisation are extensive. The key problem is maintenance and upkeep; if you’ve got pets of kids, carpet can be nothing short of a nightmare to keep in good condition. The floor that you choose will depend on your specific requirements and what is most practical for your home. You might choose to go with tiles in the kitchen and bathroom, floorboards in the living room and common areas and carpet in the bedrooms. This way you get a nice mix… but you also have to take care of three different materials. 

Which living room decor style should I choose? 

Country style: Characterised by soft fabrics, cream colours and classic patterns, the country style exudes comfort above all else and the most important element here is wood. Whether you incorporate wooden pieces via a coffee table, sideboard or even a built in cupboard, to achieve this style it’s vital that wood is present. As for accenting, small details play an important role; from a pillow with a chequered print to candles to white fabrics, make sure you find the balance.
Minimalist: Clean lines, simple colours and everything understated. That’s pretty much all you need to know when it comes to minimalist design. If you think you need it, you probably don’t… but it’s not quite that simple. Those living in a minimalist home don’t go without, they just know exactly which items are necessary and exactly those that would kill the flow of relaxing, positive energy that their super-cool homes are renowned for. Let’s be realistic though, not all of our stuff can be thrown away, so if you want a minimalist look, be sure to have adequate storage space to keep all of that clutter out of sight and out of mind. 
Classic: Timeless, elegant pieces define the classic living room. Instead of trendy, colourful, striking colours and eclectic decorative pieces, stick to what is simple and what has been tried and tested. Typical combinations are present in classic rooms, such as the blending of black and white tones with shades of grey, mahogany tone furniture pieces, old-fashioned style frames and plenty of cosy fabrics. You might even find a chesterfield sofa, a few books and a bottle scotch situated in front of a fireplace… that you will almost never have to use in South Africa… but it’s about the look!
Eclectic: More or less the opposite of classic, eclectic style living rooms adhere to the idea that individuality and energy are the two most important elements in home design. When it comes to colours, shapes, patterns and fabrics, there are no limits here. In fact, the most you clash, the better. Think a pop-art piece next to a blow up sofa with a country style wooden coffee table in front of it and a pink flamingo statue next to it. There’s only one rule here: what we like is allowed, and the more colourful and flashy, the better.
Modern: Refined, mature and with a touch of class, modern living rooms follow the latest trends but do so with a sense of timelessness. If you want to design a modern space and ensure that it remains modern over time, you will naturally have to commit to making updates quite regularly, which can be an arduous and costly task. We recommend opting for modern takes on classic items and updating small pieces such as wallpaper, accents and wall art over time.
Industrial: The ability to pull of an industrial look will depend heavily on the style of your home. If you’ve got an old converted warehouse, factory or a loft to work with, then you’re on your way to the coolest, rustic space in town. If not, you’re better advised to integrate rustic elements into a room instead of attempting to make the whole space appear as something that it’s not. This might mean adding a red brick feature wall, some exposed copper pipes or a concrete floor. Generally speaking, industrial style is quite cold and simplistic, but it can be combined with carpets, cushions and curtains for a warmer result.
Scandinavian: Having been on trend for several years at this stage, we’re all familiar with the beauty and simplicity of the Nordic, Scandinavian style decor look. Featuring plenty of white and wood and borrowing from the minimalist and modern branches, this style is characterised by geometric shapes, natural elements and delicate patterns and tones. Sticking to a theme throughout a room is usually advised, and while a statement item is a great option to top the space off, clashing is strictly off limits. You want a calm, relaxing space with just the perfect touch of cosiness.
Mediterranean: While France, Italy, Spain and Greece are usually the countries that come to mind when we think of Mediterranean design or style, there are actually an additional 17 countries to consider, and that’s what makes the look so stylish, varied and appealing. Whichever country you use as your primary springboard, you’ll find that terracotta tiles and the combination of different shades of brown will likely permeate the space. Due to the warm climate and proximity to the sea of the Mediterranean nations, materials like natural stone and colours include white or light blue will also play a key role. Whether it’s in the selection of furniture, textiles or wall paint, you should think of a very specific lifestyle when piecing this room together: Dolce Vita aka the good life. 

How do I decorate a small living room?
The decoration of any small space can be a serious challenge, but there are plenty of solutions and we actually find that the smaller the space, the more fun it is to find hacks and design tricks. With the right approach, the square metres will have no influence on how comfortable, stylish and welcoming that the space will be. In principle however, small living rooms should avoid using daring designs and should rather focus on colours that will visually enlarge the space. Think Scandinavian, classic, modern or minimalist. If the furniture selected is the same tone as the floor or the walls, this can create an optical illusion that will compensate for the lack of space in a discrete way.