You've heard us declare "It's all in the mix" countless times, and while cliché, you have to admit there's truth to the statement. The best spaces aren't one-note; rather, they are a little bit modern, a little bit granny-chic (or perhaps mostly minimalist, a hint flashy—you catch our drift). This is especially true when it comes to choosing furniture. Gone are the days when you would buy a matching set from the furniture store. Now it’s about creating a curated space with pieces that combine comfort and style, function and flair. To take your living room design to the next level, we’ve rounded up our favorite ideas that are sure to inspire your space.
1. Everything Is Better in Pairs
2. Don’t Be Afraid to Rearrange
If you’ve had your furniture in the same spot since the day you’ve moved in, it might be time to switch it up. Try moving the sofa to a different wall or turning it perpendicularly to create separate seating areas. It’s an instant (and free) redesign!
3. Embrace Slipcovers
A crisp white sofa works well in any space, but they have a reputation for being high-maintenance. Compromise with tailored, washable slipcovers (and also, get good at spot-cleaning).
A large custom-made sectional with a white linen slipcover in a Connecticut living room by Chango & Co.Photo: Raquel Langworthy
4. Add Color With Accents
For a cohesive look, stick to a single color palette when mixing-and-matching pillow patterns. Meaning, go ahead and toss the swirly throw pillow next to the thin-striped one as long as they are both blue.
Architect Frank Greenwald's living room in Sag Harbor, New York, overlooks Noyac Bay. Scott Frances
5. Play with Scale
If you’re working with a small space, you don’t have to limit yourself to small furniture. Try choosing a statement piece or two such as a sofa or sideboard that will command the room and offer more in terms of seating or storage.
The living room of Dinah and Bill Ruch's Los Angeles home, refurbished to reflect its 1940s William Haines design, features a sectional sofa upholstered in mohair, and a Tony Duquette table lamp (one of a pair); the cocktail table and ottoman, the latter clad in an Old World Weavers fabric, are both by Formations. Nikolas Koenig
6. Go Off the Wall
Instead of arranging your furniture around the perimeter of the room, try floating furniture in the center of the space. This trick can create seating areas that are better for conversation and helps keep the center of the room from feeling like an empty void.
Amy Stone's Brooklyn living room, featuring wicker chairs and a small velvet sofa. Photo: Tara Donne
7. Rethink the Cocktail Table
Sure, you need a spot to set your drink and maybe display a book or two, but that doesn’t mean you’re limited to the standard square or rectangular cocktail table. Try grouping smaller round tables or go for an ottoman topped with a tray for a comfy spot to kick your feet up also offers extra seating for a crowd.
Employing a monochromatic palette can help impart a sense of grandeur, as well as create a visually soothing resting place for eyes trained on colorful art and vintage furniture pieces. In this sitting area, Valle combined a family-friendly Cite sectional sofa and an RH rug, adding depth and dimension with a vintage Vittorio Nobili chair that ties back to the hardwood floors. Photo: Brooke Holm
8. Make Your Space Do More
A living room is more than a spot to watch television. Make the most of your space by adding pieces that will give the room another use. A cafe table and chairs can double as a dining area and a slim console instantly adds an office.
One of Sara’s flea market treasures, her bistro table creates a designated dining area without compromising too much of the open living room. “The glass top seems to just float on the base so doesn’t put much weight on the room,” she says. “I always like my space to be in harmony, so the black chairs balance the lightness of the table.”Photo: Martina Maffini