When it comes to decor and design, the living room is arguably the most important space in a home. It’s the place where we entertain guests, spend quality time with loved ones, and relax in front of the TV or with a good book.

If you’re thinking about doing up your living room, you might be wondering where to start. After all, unless you’re an interior designer, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with how many styles and options are out there.

You might want a snug, cosy cocoon to curl up in, or perhaps you’re after a light and minimalistic room that makes it easy to relax. Or, you may not have any idea what design style you’d like – but know you want to make a change.

Whatever your current situation, the good news is that there’s a living room style to suit every taste preference – and most budgets too.

To get inspired, here are nine popular living room design styles.

1. Traditional living room

Traditional living room interior design is about sophistication, elegance, and history. Many looks are inspired by the 18th and 19th centuries and are marked by elaborate furnishings, antique accents, bold curtains, and textured rugs. Plus, different styles – from French country to neoclassical – can also be incorporated.

Symmetry is an important factor in traditional living room design – for example, a large painting might be placed directly above your sofa. Fabrics tend to be on the more lavish side and often include silk, linen, and velvet, while sofas and armchairs are frequently overstuffed and decorated with accent pillows.

Woodwork tends to be dark and intricate, and panelling is popular, as are arches, columns, and ornate fireplaces. Then, when it comes to colour, there’s lots of flexibility. Rich, warm colours are typically used, as is elegant floral wallpaper – but both dark and light colours work well.

Traditional living rooms should be layered with bold colours and textures, and while they should bring a sense of history to the room, they shouldn’t feel overdone or stuffy. It’s all about balance: history with a fresh and modern twist.

2. Contemporary living room

Contemporary interior design is often mixed up with modern design, but the two styles are quite different. Contemporary refers to trends that are currently popular and still undergoing changes, while modern refers to early to mid-20th century styles.

Ultimately, this means that contemporary design is ever-changing, and can contain elements of all the other design styles featured in this article. Generally, contemporary living rooms contain elements of traditional design – but have a wider, brighter, and lighter approach.

There’s a focus on simplicity and functionality, and things being in their place. Yet, despite the clean lines and shapes, there are thoughtful, elegant details featured throughout. Colour palettes tend to include lots of white, grey, and shades of beige. If a bright colour is used, it’s done so sparingly, as accents.

Built-in wall storage and TV cabinets are common, as are more unique, personal elements: edgy light fittings or statement chandeliers, colourful modern art, textured seating, plenty of houseplants, and metallic accents are all popular.

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3. Mid-century modern living room

Another frequently adopted style for living room design is mid-century modern, thanks to its stylish, timeless appeal. A mid-century modern aesthetic is all about clean lines, a subtle colour palette with bold accents, and graphic or geometric-style wall art.

Mid-century modern design draws inspiration from between the 1930s and the 1970s. It moves away from the more elaborate traditional style and focuses on a clutter-free environment that still pushes boundaries when it comes to materials, shapes, and patterns.

Popular features of mid-century modern living rooms include neutral walls; glass or nested coffee tables; brightly coloured chairs; wooden-legged furniture; and bold accents, like graphic patterned cushions.

Woodwork tends to be dark, and there are often plenty of statement decorations – like colourful, geometric artwork, starburst clocks, and showy light fittings. These give mid-century spaces a fresh and modern, yet retro, feel.

4. Minimalistic living room

If you’re a fan of the phrase ‘less is more’, then a minimalistic living room might be for you. The minimalist movement really took off as a countermovement to consumerist clutter, but its roots go back much further – after all, the desire to live in a clean, calming space is nothing new.

Common features of a minimalistic living room include pale colour palettes, hidden storage, comfy yet functional furniture, and a clutter-free environment. As a general rule of thumb, if something isn’t useful or beautiful, it shouldn’t be there.

The focus is on light and space, not possessions. However, this doesn’t mean minimalistic living rooms have to be boring. While colour palettes are usually pared down, eye-catching abstract art is popular, as are large, statement plants and light fixtures.

A minimalistic living room should feel like a calm, quiet oasis; simple and clean, yet still cosy, with soft sofas and cushions to curl up with.

5. Industrial living room

You don’t need to live in a big open loft in the middle of the city to enjoy an industrial decor style – and industrial living rooms don’t just look slick, cool, and modern, they’re also far easier to maintain than other styles.

While other styles try to conceal building materials, industrial decor is about embracing the raw, unfinished look. Think exposed bricks, wooden floors, exposed iron pipes, wood and metal surfaces, and vintage or worn-looking furniture and accessories (like wooden crate tables).

There’s an undeniable urban element to industrial living rooms, but that doesn’t mean they can’t also be cosy. You can add warmth with texture, and things like fluffy cushions, soft blankets, and shaggy rugs are popular – often alongside big, dark leather sofas.

Colours tend to be darker – with lots of muted reds and greens – while black and darker neutrals are often used too.

6. Cottage living room

On the other end of the spectrum, there’s the cottage living room design, which is all about escaping the concrete jungles many of us live in, and embracing the idea of cosy, natural living.

You don’t have to live in an actual cottage to opt for this design – you just have to like the idea of creating a rustic yet sophisticated space that’s casual and comfortable.

Cottage living rooms are all about texture, neutrals, and natural character – think segments of exposed stone walls, natural stone or wood floors, and timbered ceilings.

Tables are usually wooden, sofas are cosy and often a bit worn with lots of different textures and colours – be it woollen rugs thrown over the back, or plenty of patterned cushions. Walls are usually neutral, and the cosy aspect comes from the furnishings and decor.

Cottage-style living rooms are relaxed, lighthearted, and unpretentious; it’s not about creating perfection, but a warm, liveable space that you can relax in. Again, it’s about balance: vintage or slightly shabby pieces can be paired with new furniture to create a nice mix.

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7. Scandinavian living room

The Scandinavian design was created in the 1930s, and first became popular in the UK and North America in the 1950s. It combines elements of other designs – including traditional, modern, and mid-century modern.

At its heart, Scandinavian design is simple, minimal, functional, and accessible, yet it still provides plenty of hygge – which is the Danish word for cosy contentment and togetherness. Scandinavian living room designs can vary, but they almost always share a few key features.

First, the floors are usually light wood, and the walls are pale, often painted grey, white, or blue. Warmth is often brought in with patterned rugs, wooden furniture, contrasting colours, and statement pendant lights. The fireplace is typically the focal point of the room.

If you don’t have a fireplace, candles can lend a similar cosiness. It’s also important to include elements of nature – whether it’s lots of natural light, houseplants, or natural fabrics. The Scandi look should be clean and uncluttered, though, so don’t go overboard with your decor!

8. Eclectic living room

If you’re looking for a living room design style that allows you to show off different aspects of your personality through your decor, you might want to go for an eclectic living room.

The beauty of eclectic design is that there are no firm rules; you can put your own stamp on things and mix and match from many other styles.

Playing up contrasts is a great way to get started when it comes to creating an eclectic living room. For example, if you have a big shaggy rug on the floor, you could put a smooth marble or metal table on top of it. If you have bright walls, you could go for either a dark or light sofa, and add plenty of funky cushions.

Eclectic living rooms often feature lots of decorations too – from colourful paintings to unusual sculptures and statement light fixtures. However, while you can mix and match elements and include a wide range of styles, the overall look should still be cohesive.

For example, you can have multiple chairs in your living room that are all totally different, but as long as they go with other elements in the room – like colours, patterns, and lights – it’ll still look elegant and polished, as well as unique.

9. Transitional living room

Another look that’s ideal if you like the idea of mixing and matching styles is transitional. Transitional living rooms incorporate elements from different styles – yet, unlike eclectic designs, these styles are almost always traditional, modern, and contemporary.

There are definitely more ‘rules’ when it comes to transitional style living rooms, but that’s not to say they’re restrictive or boring. In fact, the complete opposite is true! Merging traditional and contemporary styles creates a beautifully balanced look.

Transitional living rooms are classic yet modern, sophisticated yet relaxing, and elaborate yet clean. The trick is to stay neutral with colours, as this creates a sense of serenity no matter what else you do. Dark wood tables are popular and sofas are usually pale, often with patterned cushions to break up the low tones.

You can use art and decor to inject colour and personality too – from geometric paintings to bold gold ornaments. Ultimately, the aim is to create a space that’s neither too stuffy and traditional, nor too edgy and modern.

Final thoughts…

From comfy cottage-style rooms to airy Scandi spaces, part of the fun of doing up your living room is that there’s so much choice. You might love the idea of a cosy yet uncluttered traditional living room, the art deco inspiration of mid-century modern decor, or the clean lines of minimalistic styles.

Perhaps you’re drawn to the raw urban features of industrial-style living rooms, or maybe you want to go eclectic and incorporate as many elements as you like, mixing and matching from multiple different styles!

While giving your living room a total overhaul can be expensive, there are many ways you can give the heart of your home a real refresh without spending a fortune. From painting the walls to picking up some bright new cushions or second-hand furniture, there are lots of easy ways you can give your living room a new lease on life.

For more interior decoration inspiration, you might like to read our articles; 18 home decorating ideas and 10 affordable ways to improve your living space.

Do you have a favourite living room design style? Or maybe you have some other tips for creating a stylish living room? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.