Living Room Design 101

The living room. It’s the setting for game night with friends, dinner with your loved ones, and movie night when you want some quality alone time. But furnishing a space can be expensive, and too often your living space becomes the victim of overwhelm when presented with too many options and decisions that need to be made. Coming home becomes a chore when your living room is a seemingly endless to-do list.

Well ladies, get your checklists ready, because we’ve created the ultimate blueprint for designing a room that not only looks good, but functions perfectly with your lifestyle. No matter if you’re purchasing furniture for a studio apartment or a 4 BR house (just make sure you have enough seating for everyone who lives there, plus one guest!), we’re giving you the main ingredients to creating a space that you’ll love coming home to, starting with these 13 essentials. Whether you’re on a shoestring budget or ready to make a bonafide splurge, it’s an “Add to Cart” kind of day.

01. The Essentials

The basics are simple enough… they make the room functional. Seating, storage, lighting.

When it comes to seating, the math should add up to the number of people who live in the home plus at least one additional for a one guest. So if you live in a small space alone and only ever have your significant other or best gal pal over at a time, you should have enough seating to comfortably sit two. A loveseat or two cozy chairs is plenty. If two people live in the house, have enough room to seat at least three, and so on. Short on budget or space? We recommending bringing in a small bench, stool, or pouf which works as a seat! (But make sure you take the spare seat and give your guest the cozier spot.)

I've got...

  • Sofa
  • Coffee Table
  • TV Stand
  • Area Rug
  • Lighting
  • Pillows
  • Wall Decor

02. The Add-ons

what to measure

I don’t care whether you regulary adorn your coffee table with flowers and scented candles or use it as a substitute dining table while binging Stranger Things… heck-I mainly use mine as a footrest! – but the coffee table is the second essential piece of a living room.

I've got...

  • Side Table
  • Throws
  • Additional Seating
  • Coffee Table Books
  • Decorative Accents
  • Window Treatments

01. The Essentials


Skip the reclining sofa with cupholders — these are chic AND comfy.

Coffee Table

Can be used for as storage, to dine off of, or as a foot rest! The use affects the height, size, and material you should get. Know that marble stains easily and mirrored and glass surfaces show dust and smudges.

TV Stand

Because we love Netflix and we’re not ashamed.

Area Rug

Anchor your space and hide spills with a durable material.


Skip harsh overheads and use multiple light sources to avoid a doctor’s office vibe.


Rule of thumb: Use an odd number, and play with a variety of patterns and textures.

Wall Decor

Set the tone of the room with an elegant mirror or a cheeky graphic.

02. The Add-ons

Side Table

Perfect for a lamp, keepsake photos, or just your wine glass.


The main ingredient to a cozy night in.

Additional Seating

A pouf or bench is perfect for limited space or budget.

Coffee Table Books

Dressing up your coffee table one sleek book cover at at time.

Decorative Accents

The final layer that takes your home from catalog to magazine status.

Window Treatments

Hang them high and wide to make windows appear larger and ceilings taller.