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Buying Guide: The Essential Living Room Furniture Checklist

Living rooms are the hub of the home—now more than ever. These spaces saw some serious action in 2020 and your living room is likely the room you spent the most time in. So, it’s important to make sure it’s properly furnished! But, since living rooms are often large spaces and can have multiple functions, it can be hard to know what you need to make this space really work its hardest.

So, today we’re breaking down everything you could ever need in your living room with our living room buying guide! With our interior design buying guides, we’ll help you identify the core pieces you need for your space, how to add additional storage, and some decorative touches that will make your space shine. We’ll offer all sorts of design inspiration, as well as an actual living room furniture checklist to help you out! Whether you’re designing a brand-new living room from scratch, upgrading your existing living space, or are pulling together a design over time, this guide has all the information you’ll need!

Before you get started, consider your budget

But before we get started, it’s worth touching base about the budget. Because, how much does it actually cost to decorate a living room and buy new furniture? Well, it depends on if you’re starting from scratch or just adding smaller accents and decor. The size of the space and the subsequent amount and size of furniture will also have a big impact on your budget range. Other factors that affect budget? If your living room has a secondary function, such as housing and office or a playroom, or if it’s an open space that also includes a dining area or entryway. Ultimately, we’d recommend budgeting $4,000-$15,000 for the core pieces of a living room redesign, depending on your needs!

Ready to dive in? Read on for our living room furniture buying guide!

 

Core Pieces: The Living Room Essentials

When pulling together your living room design, these are the pieces of furniture that you can’t live without. You can customize each piece however you’d like, and go for more or less depending on the size of your living room. But, ultimately, these are the core pieces that will make this space functional.

Sofa or Sectional

A sofa or sectional is a must-have in a living room. These pieces offer a place to sit, converse, relax, watch TV, and so much more. A sofa will be the biggest financial investment in your living room design—but it will also be the most-used piece, so you definitely want to take your time picking out this piece of furniture! (Learn more about how much to spend on a sofa.)

When considering your options, choose one that’s right for your lifestyle, which will help determine the shape, style, and material of the sofa you choose. Have a big family that loves to lounge? Consider the benefits of a sectional vs sofa. Have kids or pets that are prone to accidents? Opt for durable, machine-washable fabric. (And check out our guide to sofa materials.) Are you super particular about your aesthetic? Maybe you want the sofa style to drive your other decisions. But just remember—the upholstery material you choose can determine the cost and durability of your sofa. So, you may want to consider who uses the sofa, the amount of use it gets, and if you want to prioritize a washable fabric before picking color and sofa style.

Beyond that make sure your sofa will fit into your space! You’ll want to make sure the square footage and layout of your living room allows you to comfortably walk around your sofa, and that it doesn’t block any vents or doorways!

Stylist Tip: Think about your personal style. Do you stick to one style or like to change things up a lot? This can help determine if you go for a timeless sofa or something more trendy! (Our guide to sofa styles can help you here!)

Price Range: $800-$8,000

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living room furniture

Accent Seating

Accent seating is another core piece you’ll want to include in your living room design. Whether it’s a single chair or a pair—or even a second, totally separate seating area—accent seating works alongside your sofa as a supporting act. It helps round out your seating area and pull together your room—giving you space for entertaining, watching TV, reading, and so much more! You just want to make sure your accent seating compliments the style and coloring of your sofa, and that it’s in proportion with your sofa (you don’t want a seat that looks too big or too small next to your sofa!).

There are a ton of styles of accents seating—from rocking chairs and armchairs to loveseats, benches, and stools, and in a ton of different fabrics and colors. With so much variety, all you have to do is pick the one that works for your space and needs! But as you make your decision, consider who will be using the accent seating. Will it primarily be for guests, with your family mainly using the sofa? Or will someone in the house use the chair every morning and evening? This will help determine if you opt for a higher-quality option or buy something less expensive and trendy.

Price Range:  $200 – $1,500

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Coffee table

Coffee tables offer you a place to set drinks, corral remotes, display books, and kick up your feet. While you can live without one, we don’t recommend it! In fact, we consider coffee tables a must-have in a living room! But be careful—coffee tables can make or break a space. If they’re the wrong size or height, or in a style or material that doesn’t mesh with the rest of your space, they can turn into a major eyesore.

Check out our guide to coffee table shapes to find one that works for your space. But also consider coffee table materials and your lifestyle in the selection process. If you have a smaller living room, you may want to go for a storage coffee table. Have young kids? Maybe an ottoman is a better choice. You want to make sure the coffee table you choose meets your needs and helps make life easier!

Price Range: $150 – $3,000

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living room furniture

Lighting

Lighting is a simple element that really helps set the stage for a room. So, incorporating lighting beyond natural light sources and overhead lighting is an absolute must in a living room. Layered lighting—with a mix of floor and table lamps, sconces, and candles—helps set the tone and creates a warmer, more inviting environment. You want to make sure your space is well-lit for the way you use it. Have a reading chair you love to curl up in every evening? You’ll want to make sure you have a floor lamp nestled nearby (or a table lamp on a side table). Want to highlight a favorite piece of art? Hang a sconce above it. Make sure you have ample light sources so that you can light your space the way you want it throughout the day. And make sure your lights are placed in a way that they don’t cause uncomfortable glare or shade!

Lighting prices vary quite a bit—from relatively inexpensive to pretty pricey. So, decide if you want to invest in lighting or buy trendy pieces you’ll change out in a few years.

Price Range: $50-$1,000

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Organization: Living Room Storage

Once you have your core furniture pieces in place, it’s important to consider storage. Everyone’s storage needs are different, but you’ll want to incorporate at least one to two of these living room storage ideas!

Media Cabinet

Including a media cabinet in your living room is necessary if you have TV or sound system set-up in this space. These large cabinets are what your TV sits on or hangs above—but they can also be used in a living room, even if your space is screen-free. A media cabinet is usually front and center in your living room. Since TVs tend to be a focal point, the media cabinet naturally is too. So, you want it to be a piece that looks nice and conceals wiring. But, while these pieces can be both functional and stylish, you want to think about function first. Consider scale and proportion when choosing your media cabinet. How big is your TV, how much do you need to store inside of it, and how will the piece fit in within the rest of your living room? Check out our guide to choosing the best TV stand for your TV size for more tips! And remember: media cabinets can be pricey, but cheaper ones can be an eyesore or start sagging under the weight of a large TV. So, the materials used definitely have an impact on pricing!

Price Range: $600-$4,000

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Console table

A console table is a nice storage piece in a living room and can give a nice finishing touch to your space. Long and narrow, console tables offer a nice mix of open storage, shelving, drawers, and a surface space for decor. If you’re short on space, a console can be a nice, smaller alternative to a large credenza, offering a surface for your TV—through significantly less storage. They’re also great accent pieces for behind a floating sofa or under a window, like in the design above. To choose the right console table for your space, consider where it’s going, how much storage space you need, and what other uses it might have. That will help guide the size of the piece. From there, there are a ton of styles to choose from; just make sure the style is one that goes with the rest of the space and is most stylish and functional for you!

Price Range:  $400-$1,500

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living room furniture

Bookcase

Bookcases not only look nice in your living room—they provide a practical home for items like books (of course), personal decor, picture frames, and baskets for additional storage. These are great ways to add storage to a smaller living room, as they take advantage of vertical space. And they’re also good for living rooms where a lot of reading takes place! A bookcase should fit into the space and add to it visually (not detract). So, make sure the material and finish you choose complements the other materials in the space and stylistically fits.

Price Range: $300-$2,000

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Baskets

Baskets are the perfect multipurpose storage item for a living room. They can be used throughout your space for storing extra throw pillows, blankets, books, magazines, dog toys, kids toys, remotes—you name it, a basket can corral it! They’re also a cost-effective way to add storage. And, while most baskets are open, some styles have lids so you can hide everything that’s inside! Baskets are made in so many different sizes, styles, and materials, so they’re easy to add into any space, small or big. There are styles that can easily slide under your sofa, as well as more decorative options that add a stylish statement to your room’s decor! Decorative and functional? Now that’s a win-win.

Price Range: $20-$300

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Finishing Touches: Living Room Decor

Once you’ve figured out what furniture to include in your living room, you can move onto decor. These finishing touches give a lot of style and personality to your space. If you’re looking for a small living room refresh, focus on this category and make a big impact for a smaller price tag!

Rug

Rugs add a layer of comfort, color, pattern, and plushness to a living room. In any living room, they help define the seating area. But if you have an open living room/dining room, rugs can help create zones within open layouts. And if you live in an apartment, they can also help dampen noise and add a sound barrier to your living room!

Rugs can be expensive—so take time to carefully pick on that’s right for your style and space. A big part of this is choosing the right size for your living room. (See our living room rug size guide for our best tips on choosing the right size!) From there, choose a style that you love and that matches your living room style. You can go style-specific, like a highly patterned colorful rug, or something like a simple jute rug that can be used in multiple spaces and across styles. And don’t forget to consider maintenance and if you need a rug that’s more durable or easy to clean.

Price Range: $400-$8,000

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Throw Pillows

Besides the cushions that come on a sofa, you typically want throw pillows for extra comfort and support—and a nice splash of style. They’re great for adding some extra cushion while you’re curled up reading and are an easy way to pull some pattern and texture into the room while tying in colors from the rest of the space. While you want the style to go with the overall look of the room, since throw pillows are relatively inexpensive, you can switch them out seasonally or whenever you want to give your living room a fresh look! Wondering how to arrange throw pillows on a sofa and how many to use? Small sofas require fewer throw pillows than a large sectional—but how many pillows you use also depends on your personal style preferences.

Price Range: $25-$150 per pillow

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Decorative Accessories

You know how when you see photos of homes in a magazine or on a blog, and there’s just something about them that feels so next-level? Here’s a clue: it’s all about the decorative accessories. They’re what designers use to add a finishing touch and personalized flair to a space. Decorative accessories can be anything from collected items from vintage stores and family heirlooms to coffee table books and candles. They range in style and size, but strategically placed decor—on a side table, console, coffee table, fireplace mantel, or shelf—adds a lot to a space and makes it look polished. When diving into the world of decorative accessories, start with a few items and try different arrangements. And remember: less is more. You don’t want a cluttered look! Try mixing practical items and those that are purely ornamental, like a vase with a book.

Stylist Tip: Since small decor is typically more trendy than timeless, it’s something you can change out every so often, offering another simple way to change up the look of your living room. But mixing timeless pieces with trendy pieces will add to the longevity of the design!

Price Range: There are truly pieces at any price point—from super cheap objects at thrift stores to extremely expensive heirloom antiques!

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Artwork

Artwork is another nice finishing touch to a living room, adding color, pattern, style, and a personal touch. And the amount you incorporate into your space is totally up to you. You can hang a whole gallery wall or just a single piece of art—it just depends on the style of your space and the look you want to achieve! Whichever route you go, artwork should help pull the room together; you don’t want it to feel like an afterthought. You’ll also want to hang art in the right areas—over the sofa, above the fireplace, or on a painted accent wall. And if you don’t want artwork, you can also frame family photos or personal travel photography!

Price Range: $40-$5,000

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Greenery

Greenery adds texture and color to your living room—along with a lively organic element. Since living rooms tend to be one of the larger rooms in your house, you can get away with more large-scale plants in this space. Try bringing in a tree or a shaggy palm if you want to make more of a statement. Or, you can go more subtle with succulents or even just a sprig of eucalyptus in a vase! Not a green thumb? No problem. There are a ton of great faux plants out there that look amazingly realistic. Or, if greenery isn’t your thing, you can also incorporate a vase of fresh flowers into your living room decor! Whatever you choose, plants and flowers add a lovely touch of hominess to your space and pair nicely with other small decor like vases and ornamental items. Bonus: plants are a great way to fill in awkward empty corners of your living room!

Price Range: $10-$500

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Looking for more living room design ideas? Dive into our roundup of the best living room designs of 2020 for tons of inspiration!

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spring decor

8 Ways To Spruce Up Your Home For Spring

spring decor

It’s that time of year again! With spring in full spring, it’s time to spruce up your spaces at home for warmer weather and longer days ahead. No matter the size or style of your home—be it a large family house or a compact city apartment—here’s our checklist of easy (and essential!) spring decor updates and home refresh ideas to welcome the new season.

spring decor1. Do a deep spring clean

Your home deserves a deep clean, especially after the winter hibernation months. Trust us when we say you’ll feel 100% refreshed and accomplished if you tackle this list.

Wipe down baseboards

Wash all pillow covers (in the living room and bedroom)

Vacuum and rotating out rugs (roll-up winter ones to stow them away)

Dust off table surfaces and bookshelves

Clear things out of storage cabinets, your pantry, and the fridge (no excuses!)

spring decor2. Retire winter clutter

It doesn’t matter the size of your home, utilize all the spare space you can find to organize and put away winter accessories.

Stash away winter clothing you won’t need until later in the year.

Wash comforters, heavy blankets, and throws, and store them in airtight bins.

Put any big bulky storage, like space heaters and humidifiers, in the garage or in storage.

Make the most of under-bed storage organizers.

Corral things into woven baskets that can easily be stacked or tucked into corners.

spring decor3. Opt for lighter textures

Think natural textures and airier materials here that nod to the outdoors and soon-to-arrive summer days.

Seagrass, jute, linen, rattan, cane… these textures feel at home in warmer weather, so layer rugs made of these materials into your spaces with abandon!

Work in basketweave textures also to further play up the appeal of natural textures.

Try also adding in light woods and driftwood pieces to play up a summery beach house vibe, sure to bring in a hint of laid-back style.

spring decor4. Swap in new throw pillows

This is the easiest way to change up your look with more color and a fresh appeal that ushers a spring vibe into your rooms.

Replace cozy winter pillow covers with lighter, breezier ones made of linen and cotton.

Instead of faux fur pillows and knitted ones, try more solid colors and geometrics, which will add lots of instant spring energy.

Work in seasonal colors, such as greens, blues, pinks, and purples, which are sure to usher in major spring vibes.

spring decor5. Bring in breezier textiles

After you’ve changed up your pillow selection, do the same with your other textiles, which will further brighten and open up your rooms.

Swap in linen and cotton blankets and pack away chunky knits or fur throws.

Hang lighter curtains, like breezy linen and sheers, in lieu of heavy velvets.

Switch up your rugs in rooms from high-pile options to natural-fibers or flatweaves, which will bring a burst of color and texture as well as feel more in line with the warmer weather.

spring decor6. Play with color and patterns

Be sure to keep an eye out for fun and whimsical patterns that pay homage to spring. These are small updates that are sure to enliven your spaces.

Think stripes vibrant colors, pretty florals, chevron zigzags, and even elaborate animal motifs, all of which will add punch and intrigue.

If spring colors aren’t your thing, add energy and bring a room to life with a classic palette of crisp whites, black tones, and sharp blues.

spring decor7. Invite greenery indoors

It’s not a spring home refresh until you add some greenery and blooms in your home, naturally.

If you’re not a plant person, something simple can do the trick. Just add a potted succulent or two.

Or simply arrange a bouquet of spring blooms in a glass vase or unique vessel.

Don’t have a green thumb at all? Put a few stems of flowers in bud vases and arrange them however you want on a table or bookshelf.

spring decor8. Introduce fresh scents

Whether it’s fragrant blooms or a pristine scent of clean linens and plants, giving your rooms a scent update will set a bright mood and tone in your spaces.

Try out a new scented candle in the entry, your kitchen, or bathroom. We love placing one in a high-traffic area to bring in an uplifting mood.

For a stronger scent accessory update, you can go with something floral or a diffuser with essential oils that you can adjust to your liking.

 

 

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spring refresh

Spring Refresh Checklist: 17 Easy Home Updates

spring refreshSpring is finally here! Ring in the new season at home by getting your spaces into warm-weather shape with a seasonal spring refresh.

To help you give your rooms a thorough spring refresh, we’ve compiled this checklist to help (and inspire) you to ready your spaces for the season. From decluttering common areas to adding new colorful pillows and art to rethinking furniture and layouts, consider this your comprehensive guide for preparing your home for spring.

spring refresh5 Simple Spring Cleaning Tips to Start

They don’t call it “spring cleaning” for nothing. Almost like a second chance at the new year, the start of spring is a great time to re-motivate yourself with small tasks to whip your home into shape. Here are the most-essential cleaning tips for a spring refresh.

1. Clear Out Clutter

It’s time to toss out those piles of mail, papers, and takeout menus in high-traffic areas, like your entry, kitchen, or family room. This will free up space in ways that might surprise you. Need some clever storage ideas? Check out these tips.

2. Organize Your Pantry

An easily forgotten space in the home, you might find some things in there that need to get chucked. Take time to give this spot a thorough sweep.

3. Put Away Winter Essentials

Wash your big blankets, comforters and quilts, and get your chunky sweaters and winter coats dry cleaned. Then stash them all away until it’s bundle-up season again. While you’re at it, consider editing your closet! No need to go full-on Marie Kondo-style (you can if you want to), but commit to donating at least a few trash bags worth of clothing for a fresh start.

spring refresh

spring refresh

4. Restyle Your Surfaces

Swap in new decor, accents, and books for your coffee table, console, and shelves to give them an eye-catching but low-touch spring refresh.

5. Refresh Your Bathroom

Sounds simple enough, but switching out the shower curtain, adding some small plants and a scented candle, and swapping in new light bulbs can do wonders to open up this often neglected space. Not to mention, spring is the best excuse for giving your bath a good deep scrub.

spring refresh5 Small Decor Updates to Ring in Spring

If you’re getting sick of your hygge-inspired living room, a few simple decor updates are the perfect way to make a big impact with minimal effort (and cash). Give your space an easy spring refresh with these 5 easy-to-tackle decor updates.

1. Bring in Greenery

There’s no better way to welcome spring than with leafy plants and pretty flowers. A few well-placed plants can help liven up empty corners and brighten surfaces. Need some inspo? Check out these easy ways to decorate with greenery.

2. Brighten Your Walls

Sometimes all it takes is a fresh coat of paint or some new art on the walls to bring new perspective to your rooms. Try rethinking the traditional gallery wall or adding some oversized art for an easy spring refresh.

3. Swap in New Pillows

It’s the easiest way to give your living room and bedroom a fresh boost of color and pattern. This spring refresh is also super affordable. Also check out these spring refresh ideas that cost less than $100!

4. Add a Natural Fiber Rug

Roll up those heavy wool rugs and lay down a natural-fiber rug instead to open up your rooms and usher in a relaxed vibe. Not to mention, these rugs are super durable and are perfect for busy spaces. Find the best one (there’s lots to consider!) for your home with our natural-fiber rug guide—and make sure you’re getting the right size rug!

5. Hang Some Mirrors

One way to spread more light around your rooms is to make space for mirrors. Any piece with reflective a surface will help bounce light around your room and make it feel open and airy! To open up your living room, try a large mirror above your sofa.

spring refresh5 Stylish Furniture Upgrades Perfect for Spring

Turn your spring refresh into an overhaul by swapping out larger pieces of furniture. If you’ve been looking to finally upgrade your sofa, or tackle that new year’s resolution (better late than never!), look to spring as the perfect time to make it happen.

1. Go For That New Sofa

If you’ve been sitting on the idea of a new sofa, spring is the perfect time to pull the trigger. Read our buying guide if you need help deciding whether you should skimp or splurge on one, and make sure you check out these key tips for shopping for a sofa online.

2. Get a New Coffee Table

If you’re looking for a smaller way to make a spring refresh, a new coffee table can be a great place to start. The centerpiece of any living room, a new coffee table can give your space a completely new look for a fraction of the price of a new sofa. And there are so many stylish options you can choose from. Here’s how to find a coffee table that’s right for your space.

3. Consider a New TV Stand

This is the focal point in many living rooms, so don’t let the need for function force you to sacrifice style. There are actually a lot of cool TV stand choices out there now, and spring is the perfect time to switch it up. But the key is finding a TV stand that’s the right size for your space—so we broke it all down for you in this guide.

spring refresh

spring refresh

4. Look for a New Bed

Most of us tend to buy a bed and then stick with it for much longer than we ought to. Spring is the opportune time to change up your snooze spot with a new bed. And there are lots of affordable styles out there. Check out our bed frames buying guide to learn the pros and cons of the most popular types.

5. Replace Your Nightstand

Not ready to pull in a big-ticket item like a new bed? Give your bedroom a mini update with major style with a new nightstand that’s just right. Remember these tips for finding the right size bedside table. or check out these ideas for nightstand alternatives.

spring refreshBudget-Friendly Layout Ideas For Spring

Sometimes the best way to make a space feel new is with a simple layout change. Don’t want to spend your weekend pushing furniture around your room? Save your floors and your lower back and try out some new layouts virtually with Modsy. Already have a Modsy studio? Try playing with our Editor or ring the Assistance Bell in your studio for help from one of our Modsy stylists.

Rearrange Your Living Room

It might just be time to start fresh in your living room. You can opt for a new sofa or sectional, make way for some new chairs, replace the rug, or just work with what you already have. Get some inspo from our living room layout tips. Then, also check out ways to round out your newly arranged living room.

Redo Your Bedroom

If you’re not looking to add new bedroom furniture, a new layout can make for a great spring refresh. Get inspired with some new ways to arrange your bedroom with these layout ideas. Or if you’re looking for a new layout without shuffling too much furniture, check out these stylish tips for bringing in seating that can dramatically change how your bedroom looks and feels.

 

Need a total spring refresh for your space?