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Living room ideas

Living room, lounge, sitting room - whatever you call it, this room has one main purpose in your home: to be a comfortable space where the household can relax. These living room ideas will help you create your dream space - whatever your budget.

Whether you're looking for inspiration to completely redecorate or just want to give your space a quick refresh, we've got living room decorating ideas, styling tips and the best shopping advice to help you choose the perfect sofa or find the ideal colour for your walls.

Love pattern? Then check out our pick of the best living room wallpaper ideas. From alcove shelving to stylish media units, keep clutter at bay with some clever living room storage ideas and give rugs, cushions and other decorative accessories space to shine.

Even if you’ve got a tiny square footage to work with (if so – check out our small living room ideas) or particularly love a specific style (modern living room ideas, anyone?) we’ve got a huge amount of beautiful inspiration and expert advice to guide you through the living room design process.

So what are you waiting for? Get started on these living room décor galleries before you even pick up a paintbrush.

Living room decorating ideas

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Before and after: paint and wallpaper have totally transformed this living-dining area

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Living room colour schemes brimming with character

A little colour in your life reflects your personality and lifts your mood, so why not chose one of these…

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This look blends traditional country elements, like rugged flooring, sheepskin throws and wooden furniture, with a modern colour mix of denim blues…

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Planning and decorating your living room

A good starting point is to think about how many people you need to fit in your living room on a regular basis. This will help you to choose the right living room furniture. A large family will need a sizeable sofa and a couple of armchairs  at least to make sure everyone has somewhere comfortable to sit. If space is tight, beanbags and poufs are a smart way to sneak in extra seating, and can be stowed away easily at times when there are fewer people in the house.

If you like to entertain in your living room, it’s a good idea to have a few lightweight side chairs that can be moved into more sociable arrangements when people come to visit. Small side tables or nesting tables are another handy addition, giving guests a place to perch their drinks.

How to position your living room furniture

This depends on the size of your living room and what the room is most commonly used for. Small living rooms may require you to place furniture against the walls to ensure there’s enough space for people to move about without sidling around chairs or banging their shins on the coffee table. Ideally you need at least 50cm between each piece of furniture to allow for optimum traffic flow.

If you have a bit more space to play with, bring the furniture away from the walls to create a cosy sitting area. This works especially well in open-plan living spaces, helping to zone the relaxation area from the thoroughfares or dining, cooking and study areas. If the back of your sofa isn’t much to look at, hide it behind a low console table topped with decorative objects.

A good rug can also help to zone a living space, making it feel more intimate. Place the front legs of sofas and chairs on the rug, leaving the back legs off, to give mismatched furniture a more unified feel.

If your living room is your main TV room, it goes without saying that seating needs to be positioned to give a good view of the television, and that it isn’t so far away that viewers need to squint. Living rooms without a TV give you the freedom to choose a more aesthetically pleasing focal point, whether it’s a period fireplace, an ornate mirror or a statement coffee table. If you do have a TV but don’t want it on show when you’re not watching it, you can always hide it away behind the doors of an attractive TV cabinet.

Living room storage ideas

Good living room storage  is almost as important as a good living room layout. Clutter can build up quickly in a space that’s used by the whole household every day, so it’s important that everything has its right place.

A coffee table with drawers or a hidden shelf is perfect for keeping remote controls within reach but out of sight. Footstools that open up to reveal a secret storage compartment are another neat tidying trick, especially in small living rooms. Open shelving is great for books and ornaments, but it’s useful to have some kind of drawer or cupboard storage in your living room as well, where you can tuck away things like laptops and other items that you don’t want on display. Remember to leave plenty of room for any furniture with doors or drawers to open properly.

How to light your living room

Living rooms are multifunctional spaces, so they need lighting for all the different tasks they need to perform. First, you’ll need a general light source – a ceiling pendant light, for example – that will light the room at darker times of day when the household are milling about. Wall lights and table lamps will give a softer glow when it’s time to relax. An adjustable reading lamp next to a comfy chair will allow readers to focus on their book without dazzling the rest of the room.

A formal, parlour-style living room demands decorative lighting to impress, whether it’s a statement standard lamp or a designer chandelier. You might also consider adding accent lighting, such as a picture light to draw attention to a favourite work of art.

It’s a good idea to have at least two electrical circuits for your living room lighting – one for the main light, and one for softer lighting – as well as dimmer switches so you can control the level of light to suit the time of day, task and mood.