Living rooms serve as a prime space to unwind, relax, and entertain guests. But is your living room up to snuff for these tasks?
Odds are, it could use a few improvements, particularly during the winter months when cabin fever can easily set in.
Here are a few ways to liven up your living space so it will become (or remain!) your favorite place in the house.
1. More shelf space
More storage in the living room is always essential, and an open-style bookshelf ($109.61, walmart.com) also displays all your stylish accents, says Pamela Durkin, interior designer and owner of Pamela Durkin Designs, in Naples, FL.
“Since it is open, stack books, add family photos and any other pieces you want to see and enjoy every day,” she says.
A dual-function bookshelf, offering storage and display, is also a space-saver for items that are used frequently and need to be accessible, says Shelly Isaacson, an interior designer in Stillwater, MN.
2. A no-fuss fireplace
Nothing warms up a room like a fireplace—and these days, having one is plug and play! Stay warm as you binge-watch your favorite TV shows this winter with a media fireplace ($229, walmart.com). The multipurpose piece of furniture holds a 55-inch TV, includes lots of storage, and heats a 400-square-foot space.
“Multifunctional pieces are great, especially in small spaces,” Durkin says. “Storage, TV display, and ambiance are all packed into this piece.”
3. A pretty plant stand
Cold winter weather keeps us cooped up all season long; bringing some of the outdoors inside will help. Plants filter the air, so adding some greenery will add a calming, natural element to you living room to make you feel more relaxed.
Display your houseplants on a multitiered plant stand ($101.99, wayfair.com) to add an extra design element to your space.
4. More light
Floor lamps add lighting where you need it and won’t take up too much space on your side tables, Isaacson says. A tripod-style floor lamp ($65.99, wayfair.com) has open legs that fill the space without feeling too heavy, she says.
The classic, simple style of a tripod floor lamp is an essential for any living room and will coordinate with most design styles, says Karen Gray-Plaisted, decorator and home stager with Design Solutions KGP.
5. A swanky bar cabinet
Just about every home needs a place for barware, and a stylish bar cabinet ($1,798, anthropologie.com) goes well in the living room. This retro-style cabinet is small in size and includes doors, interior shelves, and a wine rack.
“I love the doors especially, because not everyone has beautiful barware or is interested in styling their cart at the end of a party,” says Shelby Whitfield, a digital interior designer in Fort Worth, TX. “The fact that they’re inspired by Japanese stitched Boro textiles is just a gorgeous plus.”
The cabinet could be used to add character and store almost anything, if a living room bar isn’t your scene, Gray-Plaisted says.
6. An alpaca throw blanket
Get cozy on your couch or favorite armchair with a beautiful and warm throw. This soft throw ($199, parachutehome.com) is made from 100% alpaca yarn, and is a well-made addition to any living room, Gray-Plaisted says.
Throws add both style and function to any living room, and a neutral gray color goes with any design scheme, Whitfield says. An extra benefit is that alpaca wool is often more sustainable and ethical than sheep wool.
7. Energy-efficient curtains
Curtains add some optional privacy to your living space, and these grommet single-panel curtains ($10.56, walmart.com) come in many colors. They are also energy-efficient to keep your living room warm and feature blackout technology so you can ward off glare while watching TV.
Flickering candles make any room feel cozier. Consider this hurricane set ($33.47, wayfair.com), which holds seven candles within glass enclosures so they’re safer than exposed tapers in terms of wax spillage or fire hazards.
9. Storage bench
A storage bench ($115.58 to $127.30, walmart.com) adds extra seating in your living room, while giving you a place to stash away items like toys and games, so the room stays clutter-free.
A storage bench is an especially good idea in rooms where space is limited and the room is multifunctional, Isaacson says.
“Instead of having shoes flung all across the floor, storage right inside the door is a great solution,” Durkin says, adding that the piece would also work well in a mudroom or laundry room.
10. Fuzzy pillows
You’ll want to snuggle up with a soft, fuzzy pillow as you watch TV or take a Saturday afternoon nap. These faux fur pillow covers ($28.99, wayfair.com) easily slip over your throw pillows to change up the decor for the season. They’ll make your couch warmer and cozier all winter, and add a pop of color to your space.
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