As a place where we settle in wearing our most embarrassing clothes for nights of binging our favorite show and snacking, living rooms can start to feel frumpy and overly comfy....like "I don't want anyone to know I own & wear these pants" comfy.
Your living room should be comfortable — but like a comfy chic feel not a sweatpants vibe.
I'm sharing 7 steps to de-frumping your living room and creating a fabulous space that is incredibly relaxing.
It's comfy...too comfy
Maybe I'd just been spending too much time in my living room because it's been cold out (also, I'm a couch potato), but the space needed a revamp.
It had a sweatpants-I-still-wear-from-high-school vibe that we needed to shake.
I mean look at it (below). Look at that striped pillow that is begging to be sat upright and leaned on by someone other than me.
Look at those haphazard electronics acting like they own the console table. And overflowing toy baskets like my toddler doesn't have an entire playroom downstairs.
You get it. (p.s. does your house look like this or was it just me?)
A living room, transformed.
This whole project took me less than a day (minus painting the accent wall which is optional)
The transformation left me feeling refreshed and revamped. Not only did my space look better, but mentally I felt less bleh and in hibernation mode.
I wanted to share my step-by-step so you can achieve the same transformation in your space. It will only take you 7 steps and an afternoon.
Ready to revamp? Let's get started, but don't forget to pin this post for later.
I know, I'm sticking you with the no-fun task right off the bat. Clearing out clutter is an essential first-step so you can really see what you're working with.
Most of this task is probably just taking things back to the rooms they belong in, but if you find yourself with too much clutter, it's time to really sift through it and do a little purge to clear out excess.
A clutter-free zone is essential for creating a truly fabulous space that allows you to relax and unwind.
Once you have everything just down to the keepers, you can move on to step 2.
Add storage & organization
Having great storage options helps your space feel organized and simplified.
It also gives you a place to stash clutter if you need to do a quick clean up and don't have 2 hours to spend sifting through it.
Chic baskets & decorative bowls are my favorite organizational pieces.
If you need some inspo and styling tips, be sure to check out my post all about 5 Tips for Using Trimmed Baskets to Organize Your Space.
For this space, I gathered all the electronics cluttering the console table into a fabric-lined wire bin, added a bold patterned wood bowl as a quick place to wrangle remotes, and parsed down the overflowing toy bins to just one chic fringed statement basket.
Pops of color
Time for the fun stuff — you all know I'm a color & prints enthusiast who gravitates to bold hues so I'm a little biased when I say,
pops of color make a space feel alive and refreshed
But bold colors can be intimidating. How do you know what works and what doesn't? How do you keep your space from looking like a Kindergarten classroom?
The trick to color is choosing it intelligently and confidently:
01. Be deliberate & consistent with pops of color
Pick a color you really love.
Choose just one bold color, and stick with it throughout your space.
Consistency helps make the space look planned and intentional. A space with consistent bold pops of color will feel cohesive and draw your eye around the room where just one bold pop in your space becomes the focal point.
Half-assing tiny pops of a bunch of different colors — maybe because you're a little scared to commit — is not going to give you a professional and polished look.
In my space, I went with a bold bright teal on the window wall, then carried it through with a teal velvet chair, a fringed throw blanket, a patterned throw pillow, a round velvet pillow, and a candle holder.
02. Compliment with only 1-2 additional hues
If you're a color lover, you can add other colors to complement your one bold choice, but limit this to 1-2 — otherwise, you'll start letting in the full rainbow which is how a space starts to feel overly playful.
In my space, I added in some green via some plants + one fun patterned pillow. Then I added one yellow throw pillow and a little yellow fringe on my basket.
Because my big and bold color choice was carried through consistently in my room, the extra little pops added to the bold statement and didn't feel out of place or distracting.
03. Anchor with neutrals
The most important rule of styling with pops of color is to anchor the bright shades with a neutral palette. Neutrals help create balance in your space and allow it not to feel overwhelming.
To achieve this, I used floor-to-ceiling white drapes and a big white rug in my space. The rug has a grey pattern to add interest and tie in my grey walls and slate grey couch.
Fun & Fresh Throws
New throw pillows and blankets are an instant way to freshen up your space without spending a ton.
If your throws and pillows have been around a while, they might need to be replaced altogether — but if you don't have the budget for a full overhaul keep just the ones that are the correct color or are in good condition and replace just a couple.
You can also steal from other rooms in your house and swap pillows and throws around to change it up a little.
All your neutral / white pillows and throws can stick around — just add 1-2 in your new bold hue and your space will look fully revamped and fresh.
Texture & Contrast
Texture and contrast are the elements that keep your space feeling interesting and draw your eye around the room
If everything was the same color or texture, the space would feel overly uniform and boring.
To overhaul your space, add some different textural elements — whether textiles, wood, metal, etc. — to create interest bit also tie the room together.
Repeating textural elements 2-5X in your space helps the room look styled vs super busy like a collection of beautiful pieces that don't form a cohesive thought.
I brought some gold into the space with the hammered drum table, then repeated this texture via the industrial desk lamp I styled on the side table and the cage shade from my corbel sconce light on the wall that I spray painted gold.
p.s. If you want one of these lights for your space, I have a whole tutorial on How to Make a Modern Industrial Corbel Sconce Light — no power tools required and you can literally hang it on the wall with a picture hook or hammer-in drywall anchor.
Play with contrast in your space — smooth vs textured, darker vs lighter, round vs square, etc.
I embraced some stark contrast with my dark teal accent wall and white curtains in front of it.
The dark shade really made a statement and helped the curtains pop, and the drama of the length and number of curtains helped keep enough neutrals involved so it wasn't overly dark or bold.
I also chose a round coffee table and side table to contrast the sharp rectangle shape created by the couch and the console table on the TV wall.
Greenery instantly adds life to any space — quite literally unless you're a terrible plant parent like me.
Whether real or fake, plants add both a lively and serene vibe to your living room.
I went with an artificial palm plant in the corner on top of a plant pedestal for a little more height and drama.
I also added an artificial monstera plant on my gold drum coffee table — this brought some height into the center of the room which was an important contrast to the low back couch.
Both of these plants came in a white pot, which was great for anchoring their pop of color with a neutral — the fiddle leaf fig tree I had before had a pot that was too busy for the space and too large in contrast with the height of the tree.
I also have a lime tree in a pot behind the couch — who has never produced limes...I don't know why I let him live here but actually he might be dead soon 🙈
Lighter & Brighter
The simple step of adding more light can revamp your space.
I talked all about how light can open up your space in my design chat video about Transforming a Small Space: Gorgeous Powder Bath Design Process — but essentially having different levels of light in your space helps it look polished and gives you a variety of options: all-on, dim light, etc.
You don’t want all your light sources to be top-down — this casts shadows which feel dark — so add light at different levels to fully illuminate your room.