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How to Design A Living Room With Low Ceilings

We recently dished out our best tips for how to decorate a room with high ceilings. But what about the opposite problem? Rooms with low ceilings?

Just like high ceilings, it can be a challenge to decorate a room with low ceilings. You don’t want to overstuff it with furniture and the wrong decor, which will make your space feel cramped and even claustrophobic. And that’s definitely not what you want, especially these days when we’re spending so much of our time inside our homes!

All that said, there are some easy decorating ideas that can help make your room with a low ceiling appear taller and more spacious. From curtains to tall mirrors, here are our best designer tips for solving the low ceiling dilemma for any space in your home.

 

decorate a room with low ceilings

Tip #1: Add Reflective Surfaces

In rooms with low ceilings, using reflective furniture helps bounce light around and visually open up your space. It’s the easiest way to create the illusion of a more spacious room.

Consider all furniture and accent pieces in reflective materials and finishes, like mercury glass decor, mirrored tables and chests, and even antiqued glass pieces. And don’t rule out clear furniture either, which can minimize the visual clutter in a room.

In this low-ceilinged living room, an acrylic side table and a glass-top coffee table help to anchor the room while opening up the space with an airy, open vibe. It’s also a great idea to work in these hacks to make a room seem larger!

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decorate a room with low ceilings

Tip #2: Mix In Small-Scale furniture

Low ceiling rooms come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes, low ceilings are part of the home’s architecture that you have to work around, like a sloped or A-frame attic room. If that’s the case, you’ll want to lean into small-scale furniture that fits into your space without it looking cramped.

Try pulling in pieces with low profiles, which will in turn accentuate the height of the ceiling versus the size of the room. Small-scale furniture that’s proportional to your space is key.

In this attic nursery, the open-base dresser and crib bring an openness to the space. By hanging a large tapestry high up along one wall also helps draw attention to the vertical space instead of the compact, cave-like feel of the room. If you’re not sure what’s considered small scale in relation to your room, check out our guide to scale and proportion!

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decorate a room with low ceilings

Tip #3: Hang Tall Wall Decor

An entryway with a low ceiling can easily leave a claustrophobic impression. One way to make a ceiling look higher in a busy spot like the entryway is to hang wall decor high up, which will draw the eye up and elevate the focus in the space.

Center a tall mirror on a wall in your foyer to instantly add to the height of your walls and create the illusion of higher ceilings. Additionally, tall sconces that shine light upward or in both directions are also great for elongating your walls visually. Hang these accents closer to the ceiling, as in this entryway, to play up the vertical space in your entry and give it a more open look and feel.

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decorate a room with low ceilings

Tip #4: Keep To Minimal Patterns

Bedrooms with low ceilings are one of the most common challenges we tackle for Modsy homeowners. The trick is to minimize the focus on the size and height of the room, which means keeping colors and patterns to a minimum and finding furnishings that play up comfort.

Draw attention to the floors with one big neutral pattern and skip colorful prints everywhere else. In this bedroom, the geometric rug helps draw attention to the floor instead of the low ceiling. Meanwhile, the tall floor mirror reflects light, gives the look of more vertical wall space, and opens up the room as a whole. If you do want to add some color, go with two to three pops of soft neutral shades to avoid overwhelming the space.

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decorate a room with low ceilings

Tip #5: Paint A Dark Accent Wall

Similar to a room with high ceilings, an accent wall can change the perspective of size and space in a room with low ceilings. But the key is to always stick to a darker shade, like a black or deep gray, which will lend major cozy vibes and a spacious look.

The best way to balance a dark accent wall in a room that has a low ceiling is to mix in small-scale furniture. Small means it will feel more proportional to the room size and also work well in a space that already has a cozy dark accent wall. Keep to lower streamlined seats and pieces that are less bulky, like a deep reclining accent chair or a Mid-Century sofa. This will also prevent furniture from blocking light streaming into the room. If you’re working with an odd-shaped living room, start here with our awkward living room design solutions.

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decorate a room with low ceilings

Tip #6: Put Up Long Curtains

Low ceiling, long curtains. It’s a foolproof trick that always works. And it’s the easiest decor trick to make a low ceiling look higher. The key is to find the right length curtain that goes full floor to ceiling.

Start by hanging floor-to-ceiling curtains higher above your windows and closer to the ceiling as a way to draw the eye up. What this does is make the room appear taller and have more ceiling height than there actually is. The long curtains will also help elongate the walls and draw the focus upwards in the room.

Good tip: Be sure to hang your curtains at least 3”-4” above your window frame if you’re going for this look!

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Tip #7: Work In A Tall Bookcase

It might sound counterintuitive, but a bookcase that spans floor to ceiling is a great way to open up a small room with a low ceiling. Why? Just like a tall mirror and long curtains, it directs the focus vertically rather than horizontally, so it distracts from the size of the room.

Try a modern and more streamlined bookcase that’s almost ceiling height. The minimal style will keep the space from appearing cramped or bulky and it will create a more airy, open flow look in the space. Contrast your tall bookcase with smaller furniture. This way, you’ll have pieces that are proportional to the largest piece in the room, creating perfect visual balance. Check out our small space furniture guide for some tips on how to decorate compact spaces.

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Also, check out our gallery for small living room design tips!

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My Modsy Story: Creating a Place of Peace in a Season of Grief

After her mother’s death, Sandra wanted to redecorate her childhood home as a way to process her grief. Her Modsy designer helped transform her home, preparing her for the next phase of life.

 

Homeowner: Sandra

Spaces: Living Room, Family Room, Office, and Bedroom

Her Style: Mod Enthusiast

The Backstory

When her mother passed away, Sandra was overcome with a tremendous sense of loss. She found herself alone in the home they had shared for many years and was reminded of her mother everywhere she looked. She knew that making space her own with new designs would help her with the grieving process—but she had no idea how to get started.

“I wasn’t sure what my design style was, and I had given my brother most of the furniture. I was completely stressed and overwhelmed!”

The Design Dilemma

Since she had given away most of her mother’s furniture, the home was a blank slate. But thinking through how to fill and design the main rooms proved quite difficult.

“I have limited decorating experience and honestly didn’t know how to decorate a house. I was frustrated and overwhelmed and I couldn’t decide how to furnish the rooms on my own.”

“I was frustrated and overwhelmed and I couldn’t decide how to furnish the rooms on my own.”

Designer Insights:

“Sandra is slowly redecorating her childhood home and wanted to make this space truly her own. My goal was to provide her with personalized designs for her space that she could bring to life over time, as her budget allowed” –Ciara R., Sandra’s Modsy Designer

 

The Modsy Moment

Unsure of how to begin, Sandra was relieved to hand over the reins to her Modsy designer, Ciara. In the end, she was thrilled with how Ciara virtually transformed her space.

“I was in absolute awe when I saw my Modsy designs. It was so fun to see the actual rooms in my home, designed virtually with new furniture. I loved the results!”

Designer Insights:

“Sandra liked the idea of using a lot of whites in her design—but she wanted to make sure her space didn’t feel too cold. I added pops of colors through the rugs, pillows, and some golden decor accents. Incorporating some small wood elements also helped add some warmth to her space.” – Ciara R., Sandra’s Modsy Designer

The Real Results

Sandra’s designer kept her mother’s memory alive by working with the architecture of her home—but it got a stylish upgrade that reflected Sandra’s style and needs for the space.

“Modsy changed my life. My mother was my best friend. After she died, I was not only heartbroken and grieving, but I was overwhelmed with making my childhood home my own. Every room reminded me of my mother’s presence. My Modsy designer assisted me in transforming every room, giving me a home that feels personalized and special. It’s now a place of peace. I’m grateful for the inspirational design changes that have taken place and will continue to consult with my Modsy designer to enhance the environmental peace in my home.”

“My Modsy designer assisted me in transforming every room, giving me a home that feels personalized and special. It’s now a place of peace.”

Designer Insights:

“Using a white color palette in every room helped create a sense of cohesion throughout Sandra’s home—and definitely showed off her personality.

“In her home office, I added a fur rug to the reading nook to help separate this space from the rest of the office and make it its own cozy section. Since this workspace is in the basement and gets limited natural light, I also added some plants, which bring some life into the space.” –Ciara R., Sandra’s Modsy Designer

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How to Design A Living Room With High Ceilings

One of the most common design dilemmas we hear time and time again from Modsy customers is how to decorate a living room with high ceilings. It’s not surprising, since designing large spaces can sometimes be just as tricky as making the most out of small ones.

For starters, high ceilings are a great problem to have! ICYMI, we recently did a deep dive on how some studies have shown that high ceilings can stimulate creativity. Psychology aside, high ceilings are one of the best attributes you can have in a home; they open up your rooms and sometimes even give them a feeling of grandeur.

That said, the real challenge with high ceilings is that there’s simply a lot of vertical space to fill, which can be difficult. You don’t want your room to feel cavernous but how do you get the cozy vibe in such an open space? A lot of it comes down to scale and proportion: More than blank horizontal walls, high ceilings make rooms appear much larger and spacious than they are, so the trick is to play with that perception, which we touch on in our guide to scale and proportion.

If you’re working with a high-ceilinged room and not sure where to start, you easily see how color and furniture can work in your room with our online interior design service!

Otherwise, here are some tricks on how to decorate a living room with high ceilings, using scale and proportion in your favor to create a space that feels balanced and cozy.

1. Hang Curtains High

An easy trick to draw the eye up in rooms with high ceilings is to hang floor to ceiling curtains 6”–12” above the top of your window frames. In this living room, the high ceilings are “pulled down” by the curtains, which make the windows appear taller while filling up the space between the ceiling. Try a heavy curtain fabric like velvet to keep a large room insulated and cozy.

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2. Paint An Accent Wall

To make high ceilings stand out without your room feeling spare and empty, paint an accent wall in a warm color. In this living room, the inlet accent wall in yellow appears cozy and welcoming around the large windows. The yellow shade also helps soften the starkness of the tall walls on both sides of the inlet, giving them a warm undertone that warms up the overall space.

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3. Use Dark Paint All-Around

If adding an accent wall isn’t cozy enough for you, try painting all your walls in a dark color. It’s a surefire way to make any large living room with high ceilings feel layered and cozy. Dark color walls have a way of disrupting scale and proportion in rooms so that everything else in the space pops instead, like furniture and accents. It’s perfect for high-ceilinged spaces.

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4. Add A Large-Scale Mirror

How to decorate a living room with high ceilings without painting or breaking the bank? Anchor a large mirror over your fireplace to create a focal point that draws the eye up. This is an easy trick that both opens up the room by reflecting light and makes the space feel instantly elevated and lived-in. Think of it as the ideal mix of airy, cozy, and chic—all by adding a mirror.

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5. Line Up Tall Bookcases

What better way to balance out high ceilings than a row of tall bookcases that fill up your empty wall space. The living room shelves here function as practical storage while minimizing the cavernous look of the tall walls. It’s a great use of vertical and horizontal space, both as storage and as a focal point that connects the lower half of the room with the upper ceiling.

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6. Opt For A Sculptural Light

High ceilings are perfect backdrops for large decorative lighting fixtures, like a globe pendant or a giant chandelier. And the more sculptural and bold your fixture the better. It’s a sophisticated way to add personality in rooms with high ceilings. Here, the modern metal pendant in this living room makes for a cool design element at the ceiling level that instantly draws the eye up.

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7. Balance With Big Furniture

Bulky furniture can provide a solid foundation in a living room with high ceilings. They can ground the space, filling it up visually so that the room doesn’t feel as lofty. Consider furniture that’s proportional to your space still, meaning pieces that are wide and tall, like floor to ceiling curtains and shelving or a chesterfield sofa, so they fill out the room vertically and horizontally.

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8. Layer A Large Rug

The best way to contrast high ceilings? Liven up your floors with an equally bold look. A large rug (or two giant layered rugs) is a great visual counterpoint to tall ceilings. They’ll ground your space like big furniture pieces, but they’ll also minimize the scale of the ceilings so that they appear lower. Pick a rug with a bold pattern for a focal point that balances out the room’s height.

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9. Bring In Tall Plants

Trees and other tall greenery that add height will accentuate high ceilings in a living room. At the same time, they’ll act as a bridge that can tie together the overall space visually by drawing the eye from the floor to the ceiling. Additionally, tall plants are also a great way to add a touch of color and texture to the unadorned vertical space in a high-ceilinged room.

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10. Pull In An Oversized Floor Lamp

Another accent that can act as a visual buffer next to high ceilings is a large floor lamp. An arch lamp in particular can add sculptural appeal as well as serve as a light source that’s close to the ceiling without being a pendant light. In this living room, the curved floor lamp helps to fill out a corner area while adding height that eases the loftiness of the high ceilings.

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11. Stagger Wall Shelves

An easy way to trick the eye into thinking that your high ceilings are not that high is to stagger and hang wall shelves far above eye level. In this living room, the shelves are close to the ceiling and draw the eye up, accentuating the room’s height without it appearing or feeling sparse. You can also do this with a floor to ceiling gallery wall.

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12. Go Full Minimal

Minimal decor and walls can add a lot to a living room with high ceilings. So don’t be afraid to go with a pared-down approach. The key is to have a focal point that anchors the view in your space. In this living room, the abstract painting creates a bold focus that balances out the openness of the room and walls. If you’re feeling unsure, get our tips on how to decorate large blank walls to see how you can create a sense of coziness in spare, high-ceilinged spaces.

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window nook

13 Window Nook Designs Giving Us Major Nook-Envy

If your home happens to have a window nook—well, you should consider yourself very lucky indeed. Window nooks are one of those architectural features that makes a room feel unique and special. But, similar to a nook under the stairs, figuring out a design solution to make use of a window nook that doesn’t involve custom built-ins can be tricky.

To spark some inspiration, we rounded up some of our favorite window nook interior design ideas, showing you some of our favorite ways to make use of this type of space!

A Plant-Filled Reading Nook

If you already have a built-in window seat, transform it into a cozy seating and reading area that you’ll actually want to spend time in by adding in a bench cushion and lots of pillows. Layering in lush plants will create a sense of bridging the outdoors and indoors as you gaze out your window and bask in the sunlight.

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window nook

Curl Up & Get Cozy

If you’d rather use a window seat as a storage surface or shelf, you can still create a reading nook design by tucking a cozy chair in front of the bench. Pair it with a pouf for a footrest and a side table to place your favorite beverage, and you’ll be set for some solo relaxing time!

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A Petite Home Office

Turn a small window nook into a petite desk area by hanging a sturdy shelf in the alcove. By sizing the shelf to the window nook opening, you’ll get the feel of a custom built-in without the investment. Hang a pendant light and layer in some decor, and you have a lovely little working environment. This is a perfect solution for an at-home workspace when you don’t have a separate room for a home office—plus you’ll get loads of natural light flooding in as you work!

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window nook

Soak Up Some Sunshine

Even with a small window nook, you can create a cozy window seat. Simply add lots of pillows to make it extra comfortable, and use a pouf for a footrest since there’s not room to completely spread out in this amount of space. It’s a great place to sit and bask in some natural light.

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A Beautiful & Useful Entryway Nook

Have a window nook in your entryway? Tuck a console table underneath to make use of the space! We love the idea of having a mix of practical items and decor, so that it’s both beautiful and useful. But, ultimately, it provides a great place for setting keys, hats, wallets, and other necessities. And you can even line up shoes under the table, or stash your dog’s leash or hats and mittens in a basket.

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window nook

Lounging Space for Two

If you have a long built-in window nook in your living room, turn it into a seating area for two! You could either incorporate it into the rest of your seating area in your living room, or keep it as a separate seating zone. Either way, using an ample amount of pillows will help it transform into a cozy lounging area, and a pouf gives you a place to kick up your feet when two people are lounging at the same time! It’s a great place to read, chat, or simply enjoy the sunlight and the view out the window.

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window nook

A Light-Filled Workstation

Turn an impractical window nook into the epitome of practicality by filling it with a desk and creating a workspace. This keeps your desk tucked out of the way and makes this alcove feel super intentional. Personalize the area with plants, art, and office necessities.

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A Cozy Breakfast Nook

If your window nook is off the kitchen, transform it into a breakfast nook. A round table, paired with a bench under the windows and two chairs makes the perfect cozy eating area. Painting the wall around the windows a fun accent color helps to stylistically zone the area and gives it an extra feeling of intentionality.

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window nook

The Illusion of a Built-In

Another way to approach a breakfast nook if your window nook alcove is more spacious is to incorporate bench seating around two-thirds of the table. This banquette looks like a built-in, but it’s actually a stand-alone piece of furniture. (Bonus: it has storage underneath.) To make this nook feel extra cozy and comfortable, add cushions to the benches and pillows in each corner.

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window nook

Sittin’ at the Desk in the Bay

Putting a small home office within a window nook is the perfect way to utilize a living room bay window alcove. In a space like this, there’s even room for additional office furniture. A round rug helps to zone the space while also highlighting the unique architectural detail of a window nook like this.

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Time to Unwind

You could also turn a bay window into a lounge area, complete with a lounge chair and stocked bar cart. At the end of a long day, you can mix yourself a drink, collapse into the chair, and mentally unwind. This is great for bay window areas that are off of a den or dining space, as they can double as an extra seating and socializing zone when entertaining.

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window nook

A Sunny Space for Two

If your window nook is more secluded, take the idea of a lounge area up a notch with a pair of chairs instead of a solo seating area. This creates the perfect space for intimate social gatherings or for you and your partner to chat at the end of the workday.

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window nook

Distraction-Free Distance Learning

A bay window or window nook can also be turned into a kids workspace. It’s the perfect way to create a distraction-free zone for those who are homeschooling or distance-learning. By tucking their workspace into a window nook and having their back to the rest of the room, they can concentrate on their schoolwork. A desk with shelving or drawers, plus nearby baskets, will help them keep organized, too.

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3 Ways to Design a Fun and Functional Basement Family Room

For most of us, the first ideas for basements that come to mind often involve turning it into a laundry room, a media and game room, or some sort of multipurpose space that has a little bit of everything—a big sofa, a TV, substantial storage pieces, maybe even a pool table. And more often than not, it results in a room that’s all function and not exactly warm and inviting.

We get it. Many basements tend to have awkward room shapes, small windows, and low ceilings to contend with. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be transformed into a fun and functional gathering spot where the whole family can hang out and relax in comfort. In fact, with a few clever interior design ideas, basements can actually make for the perfect family room in a home.

Here, we’re providing you with 3 stylish and functional basement family room ideas along with useful tips for translating each look for your home. Find out more below!

Basement Idea #1: The Kid-Friendly Den

In this kid-friendly design layout, the basement design focus is a spacious family room that also accommodates young kids. We established two zones that include a tepee for a children’s play area as well as a large sectional that defines a gathering spot for the entire family. Here, it’s all about a communal space for relaxing that works for adults and kids alike.

An open floor plan maximizes space for spreading out:

For a family room that works for both adults and young children, an open layout that leaves tons of walking room for everyone all around is key. By clearly defining the main lounging area from the kids zone, this layout lets parents keep an eye on the little ones while they kick back or watch TV in the seating area.

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Family-friendly furniture adds to the functions of the room:

A large soft sectional paired with a round coffee table are key to keeping this room kid-proofed and safe for energetic children. The sectional also provides the ideal spot for snuggling up for family movie nights. Pull in an overarching floor lamp for a stylish and sturdy lighting source that’s perfect for storytime.

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Kids are given their own distinctive space:

You know we’re big fans of family rooms that pull double-duty as playspaces for kids. One of our favorite ways to kid-zone a living space is to set up a play tent off to the side of a room to clearly define an area that’s all theirs. The bonus is that you can also easily use it to store stuffed toys, games, and books when it’s not in use for a quick solve that keeps everyday clutter contained.

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Basement Idea #2: The Media Hub

With this layout, there’s a more elevated look and feel that’s tailored to movie-watching and entertainment. In terms of tried-and-true basement ideas that maximize space, this one does so with style to spare. Like many TV viewing layout ideas, this design emphasizes comfy seating and big storage for electronics, games, books, and everything family-room oriented.

basement family room ideasThe layout maximizes every corner for use:

The beauty of this basement design is that no square-footage is left unused. From the major shelving unit to the cleverly positioned floor lamp to the seating area that’s topped with a series of mirrors that open up the room even more. It’s about making the most of the length of the room to free up more walking space all around.

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There’s plenty of storage for beyond the room:

With a built-in shelving unit that spans an entire wall, there’s more than enough storage to accommodate all the needs of the family room and beyond. It’s a storage and entertainment center that’s an investment piece, but it gives you everything you need—a display case for books and favorite objects that’s also a cabinet that lets you conceal bigger items and clutter.

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A seating arrangement that’s made for entertainment:

The more formal leather sofa paired and the swivel side chair anchor the seating area while still leaving lots of breathing room around it. While the furnishings are less kid-friendly, they add up to a comfy gathering spot. An ottoman footstool also easily doubles as another seat as needed.

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A corner workstation makes this a triple-function space:

This quiet workspace anchored by a desk and Mid-Century-style chair adds another layer of function to the already practical room. This is an easy way to create an occasional office for wrapping up some quick emails, catching up on mail or even playing computer games.

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Basement Idea #3: The Rec Zone

If you already have a family room in the home, this game room basement design is the perfect complement to it. Think of this as the ultimate entertainment space that combines everything from the previous two layouts and then some. There’s a TV-watching lounge area that’s perfect for adults and kids alike as well as a bar area where people can gather and unwind with a drink.

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The sectional placement creates two functional areas:

With any other layout, choosing a sectional or sofa is totally up to you. But for this game room, a sectional is key since it also serves as a room divider that sets apart your conversational lounge area from your entertaining bar space. The result is two functional zones that feel distinct from each other but still appear visually cohesive in the room.

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Even the small accessories are about function:

Every accent counts when you’re working with a space that has multiple functions. Here, the versatile round coffee table allows for more walking room and baskets are totable storage pieces that can corral extra blankets and even toys if you have kids. Also look for accent furniture like a side table with a built-in lamp that adds both function and unique style.

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You get more out of not having a full built-in bar:

To keep the room’s layout free-flow and feeling airy and open, a bar cart is a moveable option that’s both space-saving and storage-friendly. You can easily tuck it into a corner for drinks or, when hosting game day parties, pull it into the lounge area as needed.

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Consoles give you an actual bar feel:

One way to up the look and feel of your bar entertainment area is to pull up matching consoles behind your sectional back. This creates an instant counter that you can stash bar stools under for a real bar vibe. This also sets up your bar space with a ledge that allows guests to comfortably watch a game or a movie while enjoying a drink.

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Golden Rules Living Rooms

The 10 Golden Rules of Living Room Interior Design

Designing a living room can be hard. Of course, you want your living room to look like the spaces you see in magazines or as an accumulation of your favorite Pinterest images. But your ideas for living room design often stray far from the reality.

It’s no secret that decorating a room can be hard. That’s because it’s not just about buying the right furniture and choosing the perfect neutral paint color or living room decor—you also have to think about how it all comes together. And that’s where many people get stuck. How do you arrange your furniture? What size of rug do you need? How tall should the coffee table be—and how far away from the sofa??

These are questions we get all the time. So today, we’re breaking down our best tips on how to decorate a living room. These living room interior design tips will help just about every space come together and look more thoughtful and intentional. So, keep reading for our 10 Golden Rules for living room design!

Golden Rules Living Rooms1. Land on The Right Layout

Nailing the layout is key for any design. That’s because the layout is the foundation of the space and will guide what you put in it—so it’s a very important first step to consider. But there’s not one right way to lay out a living room.

To figure out what’s right for your space, start by considering how you primarily use your living room. Is it for entertaining? Watching TV at the end of the day? Do you value conversational seating or something more formal? Figuring out your values and use of the space will help guide the layout you choose. Once you land on that, arrange your furniture to suit your needs and how you want to use the space!

So, if you want a conversational layout, make sure you have a sofa and two chairs facing each other to promote face-to-face conversations. If you like entertaining, consider the flow from the living room to the dining room and kitchen—and make sure you have enough surfaces for people to place their drinks! If you’re looking for a TV viewing layout, put your sofa opposite your television. And, of course, you can mix these ideas together as well. But identifying the main purpose of the space will help guide your decisions!

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Golden Rules Living Rooms2. Balance Function and Fashion

Have kids or pets? You definitely want to consider that when putting together your living room. But that doesn’t mean it has to be all function and utility. In fact, we’re big believers in balancing the function of your space with style. Because you really can have both!

For beautiful designs and living room decor that don’t require too much maintenance, consider some of our best kid-friendly design tips: opting for a leather sofa or one with a washable slipcover, durable natural fiber or indoor/outdoor rugs, stashable storage like baskets or fabric bins. And if you have a baby or toddler, consider eliminating sharp corners from your design! All of these things will help you create the perfect balance between form and function—giving you a beautiful space that works for your lifestyle.

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Golden Rules Living Rooms3. Proportion is Key

We’ve all seen rooms where something seemed off. Maybe you weren’t able to put your finger on it in the moment, but if you paused to consider, you might notice that the side table is way too tall for the chair it’s next to, the petite media console is dwarfed by the 65” flatscreen TV, or the scale of the chairs doesn’t match that of the sofa. Essentially, the proportions of the room were off—and that can impact the whole feel of a space.

Proportion is one of those underrated but absolutely crucial parts of interior design. It’s what helps you make sure the scale of your furniture and living room decor works together as a cohesive design. So, when putting together your living room, measure pieces and consider how they’ll fit together. And if you need a little extra help with it, just remember that with our Modsy design packages, one of our designers will create a 3D rendering of your room, to scale. They’ll help guarantee proportions are correct, plus give you layout options for your space and help you find furniture and decor to match your style. You don’t have to go it alone!

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Golden Rules Living Rooms4. Find the Best Seat in the House

It’s important to think a bit practically when designing your living room—because living rooms are for living! Most of the time that means sitting, so you want to have seating options that suit your style and needs.

Since a sofa is the largest seating option in the room, let that guide the rest of your decisions. Decide if a sectional, regular sofa, or sofa-chaise is right for you. (And remember, your layout can help guide this decision—see rule #1.) From there, choose additional seating options to suit the needs of your space.

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Golden Rules Living Rooms5. Pick the Right Coffee Table

When it comes to picking the right coffee table, the most important things to consider are the shape, size, and material. Everyone is looking for something different, but these three considerations will help you figure out what coffee table is right for your space. Start with the shape, which is generally just a matter of preference. Do you like a rectangular table? Something round or oblong to eliminate sharp edges? Or maybe you want something in a more organic shape. Starting with your preferred shape will help narrow down your options.

Next, think about how it will interact with your sofa. As we mentioned in rule #3, proportion is key here! You don’t want a coffee table that’s too large or too small for your sofa. Make sure the length of the table you choose is one-third to two-thirds the width of your sofa. You also want the surface of your coffee table to approximately match the height of your sofa and accent chairs. (For side tables, align the top with the height of the arm of the sofa.) From there, material will help you further narrow down the style options—whether you want a solid wood table, a marble top, or something with industrial accents.

Or maybe you don’t even need a coffee table! If you want an alternative to a coffee table, get creative and opt instead for a pair of poufs, an ottoman, or a cluster of side tables!

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6. Consider Your Color Scheme

Color is key to setting the mood of your living room! From walls to decor to foundational furniture, you want to make sure you have a cohesive color scheme. Whites and creams will keep things bright and crisp. Blue living rooms are classic and offer a soothing vibe. Perhaps you like a bold look and want to try something intense, like a red wall? A black and white color scheme will give you a high-contrast look. Or, of course, you can simply think in terms of a warm or cool color palette. Whatever you choose as an overarching color palette will help guide not only your wall color, but the furniture, accents, and living room decor you use to fill out the space.

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7. Scale Your Rug

Finding the right rug size for your layout can be tricky. You want to make sure it’s the right size and shape for your room. If you go too small, it makes the room look odd and out of proportion. Too large, and the room starts looking cramped. In general, you want to choose a rug size that allows for 6-10 inches from the edge of your furniture to the edge of the rug, on either side. Need a little extra guidance? Check out our guide for finding the right size rug for your room.

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Golden Rules Living Rooms8. Add Creative Storage

This is an easy one to forget about, but it’s one of our favorite ideas for living rooms. Why? Incorporating storage options into your living room will not only help you stay organized but will also help your living space keep that beautiful, polished look about it! So, start with furniture pieces that give you built-in storage—whether that’s a media console, and extra cabinet, or even a storage coffee table. Then, sneak in some clever storage options. And adding some baskets for tossing blankets, toys, and other clutter will help keep the room uncluttered and organized—a super important thing if you have kids or are simply spending more time at home!

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Golden Rules Living Rooms9. Style With the Rule of Thirds

Perhaps you’ve heard of the rule of thirds. It’s a decorating concept that says that objects arranged in threes (or any odd number) are more pleasing to the human eye. So, style surfaces with this in mind—whether it’s what you’re putting on your coffee table, credenza, or mantle. This also applies to artwork and even furniture arrangement. If you have an unused corner of the room, adding a trio of a chair, a table or cabinet, and some framed art is all you need to make it look intentional and interesting!

Golden Rules Living Rooms10. Get Multi-Purpose

Most of us are using our living rooms in many ways for multiple purposes throughout the day—so consider this in your design. What do you use your living room for other than lounging on the sofa? What do you do in your living room that you don’t have space for in the rest of your home? Is your living room also currently doubling as your home office? Perhaps your kids use this space as a playroom during the day. Or maybe you use your living room as your at-home yoga studio! Consider all of these additional uses when designing your space and make room for them. The result will be a multi-purpose living room that perfectly suits your needs!

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rectangular living room layout

Layout Guide: A Large, Rectangular Living Room With a Fireplace

Arranging furniture in a living room floor plan may not be the most glamorous aspect of interior decorating, but it might be the most important! When it comes to rectangle living room layouts, you might think you have it easy because they are such a standard shape. You have 4 walls, with two long sides and two short sides—pretty straightforward, right? Not always.

A rectangular room can still be a tricky space to design and comes with many of its own challenges. Some rectangular rooms are long and narrow, leaving an awkward shape to arrange furniture. Some have a fireplace that takes up one entire wall. Others also serve as the entryway in some homes or serve other functions in addition to being your main living space. And some open up to the dining room and need a layout that accounts for the back and forth flow. So, what’s the best way to arrange furniture to create the best rectangular living room layout?

ectangular living room layoutArranging Furniture in a Rectangle Living Room

There is no right or wrong way to arrange living room furniture because so much depends on the function you want! Start by thinking through how you want to use the rectangular room. Will you be having friends over often for formal entertaining or mostly kicking back and watching movies with the fam? Do you love a space where you can cozy up in front of your living room fireplace? Or maybe you want to incorporate a work area to serve as your home office? The list goes on and on.

Once you have a sense of what the function of the living room will be, it’s time to think about arranging furniture in the space. Sectional sofas are a good choice for creating conversational circles in open floor plan living rooms. Long and narrow living rooms can benefit from an arrangement with a sofa against one of the long walls and the TV mounted against the opposite wall. For a small living room, consider using ottomans and benches as extra seating that doesn’t take up much space.

Here we designed one large, rectangular living room two ways to show some of the possibilities and help inspire you for your home.

Need help designing your rectangular living room? Bring your dream designt o life with online interior design!

ectangular living room layoutLayout Idea #1: The Conversational Living Room

This long rectangular living room features a refined layout with traditional appeal and ample seating. It’s an open, beautiful space that creates a conversation circle as the focal point. It is spacious enough to allow for a large, functional coffee table and there is cozy seating by the fireplace. This layout is perfect for social gatherings and anyone who loves entertaining and showing off their beautiful home.

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ectangular living room layoutThe Key Elements

Having a large, sectional sofa pushed back against the wall creates space for additional furniture and maintains a good flow in the space. It adds additional depth to the room—and it has a great view out windows!

The room features plenty of additional seating options, too. The sofa, chairs, ottomans, and bench are all located in one section of the living room so that guests are drawn to the same area to mingle and converse. And low seating like the bench and ottoman are perfect furniture choices for this space because they don’t interrupt the view of the fireplace and window like some tall chairs would.

To make this living room layout extra primed for entertaining, it features a bar cabinet in the corner! An essential element of a good cocktail party, a bar cabinet also doubles as a handy place to store board games for game night. We also included a bookcase by the fireplace—who doesn’t love furniture that adds extra visual interest?  It also adds height and draws the eye to the fireplace area—plus, the display baskets also serve as extra storage.

ectangular living room layoutWill this rectangular living room layout work for you? Yes if…

  • You love any excuse to have guests over.
  • Your living room design has a fireplace and you want to take full advantage of it.
  • You are more into conversational furniture arrangements than staring at the TV.
  • You want the option of creating a small living room area for use as a den, study area or kids’ play zone!

ectangular living room layoutLayout Idea #2: The TV Viewing Living Room

We designed this rectangular living room as a space to watch TV and get comfy and cozy with your friends and fam. The living room is divided into two separate areas, but the transitional furniture and style across the whole space helps them blend together seamlessly. It’s a perfect idea for those who want a multi-purpose space to vege out with your favorite movie or cozy up by the fire with a good book.

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ectangular living room layoutThe Key Elements

The large, floating 3-piece sectional sofa is the heart and soul of this rectangular living room. Its three sides zone the entertainment space and then the area rug helps further define this part of the room. This furniture arrangement is perfect for movie nights or a celebratory TV binge with friends or family. The low arm of the sectional doesn’t block the fireplace and the circular coffee table makes it easy to slip into any seat on the couch.

In addition to the prime TV viewing area, there’s also a reading nook by the fireplace! Putting the armchair in the corner means you can enjoy both the cozy fireplace and the view from the window—and there’s plenty of light for reading. Two stools serve as extra seats in front of the fireplace, or you can pull one in front of the armchair as a footrest!

If your living room is doing double duty as an entryway, we added an end table by the entrance as a place to set mail and bags on the way in. Having a bench behind the sofa helps soften the visual effect of the long, blank sofa back and also offers a place to sit and take in the view out the window.

Will this rectangular living room layout work for you? Yes if you…

  • Love an ultra-comfy chill-out place for movie nights, sports games and anything else on the screen.
  • Prefer furniture that lets your guests kick back and get cozy versus a more formal gathering space.
  • Love an old-fashioned reading nook by the fire.
  • Have a living room that is immediately off the entryway.

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new living room

My Modsy Story: How I Balanced Raising My Baby and Designing My Living Room

new living room

When designing her new living room and caring for a newborn became overwhelming, Monica let Modsy step in to help with the heavy lifting.

 

Homeowner: Monica F, Editorial Director

Location: Brooklyn, NY

Room: Awkward Living Room in a New Home

Her Style: Atomic Industrial

The Backstory

Moving all her furniture from an apartment to a new home

When I first moved from my old apartment into a new home, I assumed that all of my old furniture would easily make the move with me. After all, we had more space, why wouldn’t it work?

Boy was I wrong. So wrong, in fact, that I had to replace almost everything.

Monica’s Living Room Before

The Design Dilemma

Trying to design her new living room and care for a newborn

What I really wanted was to turn our new living room into a family-friendly space that still looked like an adult home. But most importantly, I just didn’t know how to do all that while taking care of our first baby.

As a brand new mom, I found designing a home to be incredibly overwhelming. Just finding the time to browse furniture online was a challenge, let alone making sure it would all fit in our space.

What I really needed was someone to do the heavy lifting for me.

new living roomMonica’s Modsy Design 1

The Modsy Moment

When it all seemed too good to be true…

I saw Modsy in a subway ad and decided to look it up. I was shocked by how affordable it was. So affordable that I wondered if the designs would be really bad and cheap looking.

But holy cow, it was totally way better than I expected!

new living roomMonica’s Modsy Design 2

How Modsy’s Renderings Helped Monica

Sometimes the best design solution is having someone else to do the heavy lifting

The most challenging thing about Modsy for me was trying to get myself to stop playing around with it for hours. It was really addicting!

I had planned on getting a neutral couch and had been looking for some comfortable chairs to go across from it. I didn’t think a couch facing our fireplace would work originally, so I was pleasantly surprised to see how well it did in one of my Modsy designs.

For me, seeing our space designed virtually just really showed me that there’s always a way to make a difficult layout work.

The most challenging thing about Modsy for me was trying to get myself to stop playing around with it for hours. It was really addicting!

new living roomMonica’s Final Modsy Design

The Real Results

Putting all the pieces together with ease

The ability to visualize everything in my exact room made me feel so much more confident about making large purchases. Instead of spending time measuring, researching, and stressing, I was able to just see if it would fit and know right away if I liked it.

This really took the stress out of designing our home and let me focus on more important things, like caring for my new baby.

I know I’ll be following the layout to the T, but I’m planning to purchase a combination of pieces from my two favorite designs. You can bet I’m planning on using Modsy for my bedroom next when I’m ready.

See Monica’s Favorite Design in 360!

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small living room layout

My Modsy Story: Making A Small Living Room Work For My Family Of Five

small living room layout

With a oddly shaped space, Christina craved a small living room layout that worked for her family of five. See how she found the perfect solution for her space.

 

Homeowner: Christina M, University Business Officer

Location: North Logan, Utah

Room: Small, Awkwardly Shaped Living Room

Her Style: Comfortably Chic

The Backstory

Living in a charming home where comfort and practicality are paramount

We are a family of five and we’ve lived in our current home for about a year. We love the all the natural light and the vaulted ceiling, but that was about it.

Our living room is the center of our house. We’re big on movie nights and use the space to watch TV throughout the day, and it’s also where we entertain guests. Unfortunately it’s become a sort of waiting room and a playroom. And while it’s the most-used space in our home, it’s also the least functional.

small living room layout

The Design Dilemma

Dealing with a small living room that needed to work for a big family

I wanted this room to be a comfortable and inviting space since it’s the center of our home. But it’s so long, skinny, and just plain awkward that it seemed impossible to make it work. After six months of hating this room, I decided we definitely needed some professional help to make it into a space we loved.

But when it came to designing the space, we really needed help with everything – A functional small living room layout, some storage for kids toys and games, an awesome couch for movie nights and afternoon Sunday naps, seating for guests, and not to mention a space that was pretty. 

small living room layoutThe Modsy Moment

How a Podcast led her to the ultimate living room solution

I heard about Modsy on the podcast, Young House Love. I was slightly skeptical at first — what Modsy could do sounded awesome, but I wasn’t ready to commit. That’s until I got desperate enough for a design solution for my strange and small living room. Once I got started, it was so easy to use and I was totally convinced this was worth it!

small living room layoutHow Modsy’s Renderings Helped Christina

Getting the exact furniture and small living room layout she asked for — and more!

We LOVED the first two designs Modsy sent us. They were spot on with everything we needed! The 3D renderings looked just like our living room and it was so helpful to see the space with all the furniture in place.

It was amazing how our Modsy Designer was able to incorporate pieces in our designs that fit our style while factoring in all our needs as a family. Altogether, the designs were so doable and the small living room layout ideas were just so much more functional.

“We LOVED the first two designs… they were so doable.”

small living room layout

At first, we liked the simplicity and open look of the first design because it would work with the sofa we already had. We immediately rearranged the room with our existing furniture the very next day, and it made such a HUGE difference in the feel and function of the space.

Then in the second design, our Modsy Designer incorporated a console table opposite the sectional. This was so great to see because I had a very similar console table that I hadn’t thought would work in the space. After seeing that it could work, I pulled it back out and I’m now using it in the room!

small living room layout

Modsy’s idea to put chairs by the window in our second design was genius; it’s the perfect place for them! The round side table was one of our favorite pieces, and we ended up bringing this element to life in our space.

small living room layout

small living room layout

We also loved the mirrors above the mantle in both our designs — it was just what we needed for that space. Everything was just perfect for us.

Ultimately we really wanted a super comfortable space where we could put our feet up, relax, and cuddle with our kids. I had specifically requested to see an option with a sectional, and our Modsy Designer made it happen! Seeing that the right-sized sectional could absolutely work in our space and still look great was a huge eye-opener.

We ended up purchasing a super comfortable small sectional in order to make the sectional layout design happen—and we are so happy with all of it!

See Christina’s Favorite Design in 360!

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