Open-plan layouts, functional and adaptable furniture and minimalist designs are some of the trademarks of modernist interiors. For our latest lookbook, we’ve collected 10 living rooms that evoke the style. More
While gathering my thoughts for this post on decorating a living room with recliners, I know it will get two types of responses – readers who love them or readers that truly dislike them. 🙂
Whether your living room decorating tastes run from traditional to farmhouse to modern – comfy chairs like recliners are one of the best investments when it comes to making your house into a comfortable home.
Table of Contents
I think when decorating, comfort can be forgotten when we get too wrapped up with how a room looks. It is for this reason that I am sharing a few styling tips for you on how to decorate a living room with recliners or comfortable upholstered chairs so that you love them – both for their comfort and also their style.
Two Different Types of Chairs
There are two kinds of chairs we have in our homes – the chairs you sit ON and chairs you sit IN.
The style of chairs placed around a dining table are the kind you sit on – these are appropriate when eating, but never right in terms of ease and coziness as the style of chair we retreat to when we are looking for relaxation and comfort.
These types of chairs – the cushy kind with plenty of padding with a seat cushion to sink into for movie watching, reading the latest best seller, taking a nap or to simply enjoy kicking your feet up after a long day. This is the kind of chair I think every home needs.
If you already own a recliner or two, then you know just how these chairs make your living room, family room or den truly comfortable.
Read on for ideas on how you can style them to make them look their best.
If you are on the disliking side of this comfy home seating option, then also read on to see what you are missing out on. 🙂
A House Versus a Home
When I refer to my house, I speak about the walls, fixtures, flooring and the studs that make it stand. When I refer to my home, you will read words such as haven, comfy, cozy, and personal.
Home for most of us is more than just a house. When you have a home, you know the feeling… it is the only place on earth that you feel true comfort.
Comfort… you know it every time you walk through your front door. No fancy hotel or perfectly styled room we see on Pinterest or Instagram will ever offer us the same feeling, EVER!
1. Making Your Living Room Feel Human
It is time to get over thinking recliners are something to hide in a back room that no one sees. I used to think like this, but no more. Life is too short not to be truly comfortable in your own home.
A few years ago I wrote a post titled, How To Decorate So You Feel At Home. I refer to this post as my decorating manifesto.
In the post, I wrote about how I enjoy my home from the perspective of all 5 of my senses and plan it first and foremost for function and comfort.
Having two recliners in my living room deliver on both function and comfort. The recliners are multi-purpose and are placed in front of the fireplace which is the focal point of the room. They rock when we need a little thinking time.
We can feel like we are at the theater when we watch movies when the chairs face forward in the reclined position, then they swivel 360 degrees when we want to read facing the fireplace or to simply gaze out to the lake.
A motionless chair just doesn’t come with these factors. We would forever be trying to shift non-motion chairs around in the room to accommodate our needs. It is nice to have one chair do it all.
My recliners are from Southern Motion. Model name: Shimmer. Leather in the color Toast.
When I chose the two matching recliners for my living room, I made sure that they were a rocker recliner that also swiveled. It took a lot of research and trips to local furniture stores.
I didn’t want power recliners or models that have heat and massage controls or super oversized recliners. These are all fine if these features are what will make you feel cozy and comfortable.
Forget About Perfection When Decorating
When decorating my living room I also tried not to aim for perfection, as imperfection in decor adds more personality and interest to a room.
Some interior designer advice misses the notion that a home should be an oasis of comfort. Instead they focus only on looks, trends and style.
A comfortable home includes the way the room looks; whether it feels balanced, uses soothing colors, is convenient for entertaining, and contains special pieces that reflect your personality.
If you have uncomfortable seating – the best investment you can make to live comfortably in your own home is to remove uncomfortable seating and add new seating that will be perfect for every member of your family. I can guarantee you will love the room even more after doing this.
When I ordered my recliners, we had to wait 8 weeks to get them. In that time I had promised our sofa to my older daughter and gave it to her. I didn’t think it was a big deal not having comfortable seating in the room, but boy was I wrong.
I brought in two outdoor wicker rockers to sit on for the 8 weeks, notice I wrote sit ON, not sit IN. I was never so uncomfortable in my own house. These outdoor chairs were pretty, but too stiff to sit in to read or watch TV for any length of time.
When the recliners finally arrived, along with a new deep seated Pottery Barn sofa, I was elated – the room immediately felt better with the addition of truly comfortable seating.
Have you ever tried sitting in every chair in your home for about a half hour? Are they comfortable? If not, ask yourself why you are keeping it? Is it for looks only?
2. Function vs. Style
When furnishing a room, don’t forget to consider the function and uses for each item in the room. Remove furnishings and accessories that are not needed for comfort or decorative appeal to make room for what is needed to live your best life.
For example, if you use your living room to watch movies with the family on a regular basis, you will want to have a comfy, “sink-in-to-it” seat for everyone, versus the straight upright seating that a more formal living room would dictate. This could be a big sectional with a connected chaise or two. Or a pair or more of matching recliners.
Or do you play board games in front of the fireplace? If so, make sure you have a table, table lamp and chairs to do this activity without having to rearrange the room to enjoy the past time.
3. Designate a Space Just for You
A room feels comfortable when you add “YOU” into the decor. Depending on how you like to relax, create a cozy space just for you to relax in the way that feels right for you.
Don’t worry about what other people are going to think. Just because your home doesn’t look like the cover of an interior design magazine doesn’t mean it isn’t fabulous. I want you to enjoy your home – every inch of it.
Even in small living rooms, set up this designated space to become your reading nook, a place to knit, listen to music, watch TV or to do what you enjoy.
In the photo above is my designated comfy corner in my living room. It is where watch TV, read and where I write and edit most of my blog posts every night.
The butter-soft leather recliner, a dimmable floor lamp, the basket table I made where I store throw blankets and candles on the top all add up to create a cozy feel that functions for my needs.
In my living room layout, Ed has a matching recliner along the short fireplace wall in the room. He is happy just to have the chair with a side table to place a drink.
Make this personal space the best it can be by adding what you need to pursue your creature comforts:
For example, place a knitting basket next to the chair or add bookshelves to the wall behind the chair for all your favorite books so they are in arms reach.
4. What to Know Before Buying a Recliner
I wish more companies would make stylish recliners, but there are many custom styling options you can add to most recliners so don’t just look at one in a furniture showroom at face value, imagine it with a different fabric and trim.
When choosing a recliner for your home, don’t purchase any chair or sofa without sitting in it first.
When selecting a recliner for your home, you also can’t rely on the reviews of others since we all come in different body types and sizes.
I thought for sure we would find a recliner that both Ed and I liked at our local La-Z-Boy. After all that is what they are famous for. But after 2 trips to the store’s showroom and trying out all their recliners, we didn’t feel comfortable in any of them.
Where we did find a recliner style that we could both live with was at a local furniture store that has a wide range of manufacturer’s recliners.
We sat in literally dozens of them and whittled our choice down to a few. We went home and went back a few days later to try the few we liked the best to see if they still felt good, then we both agreed on the one in the photo above that was comfortable for both of us and had the features we wanted.
How to Choose a Comfortable Recliner
Seating can look beautiful when styled for a photo in a decorating magazine or catalog to entice you, but the bottom line (no pun intended) to ask yourself when buying a recliner is:
Does the seating fit your body so it is comfortable when sitting upright as well as when reclined?
Is it deep enough to put your feet up under you?
Does the fabric feel good against your bare skin?
Is it good quality? Since recliners have moving parts and it will become the most used chair in the house, you want to make sure it is well made. It is worth paying more.
If the head rest cushioning has too much padding, it can make your head angle forward – this is not comfortable. Seats and cushions should have evenly distributed stuffing to ensure comfort.
When in reclined position, does the open gap between the seat and the foot rest hit your legs in a comfortable way?
When in an upright position, do your legs touch the floor or hang freely?
Are the arm rests at a comfortable height from the seat for your body size?
Is the length of the seat – back to front, fit the length of your upper thighs. You don’t want this to be too short or too long.
If thinking about purchasing a power recliner, there is the benefit of being able to adjust the chair’s seat and headrest separately. But do know that the chair will need to be near an electrical outlet and there will be a cord on the floor from the chair to the outlet.Also know that the electronics may break down years before the actual chair needs replacing.
If you find a recliner that you like, but don’t like the fabric or the chair doesn’t rock or swivel, most furniture manufacturers can add these functions easily, so don’t hesitate to ask.
5. Recliner Style: Leather or Fabric
When thinking about buying a recliner, make sure the style of recliner coordinates with your existing furniture.
If you have a sofa with tufting or other types of decorative ornamentation, then selecting a recliner with cleaner lines would be a nice mix.
If you are looking to bring a sense of formality into your space, then a more traditional style with nail trim, button-back or a wingback would look just right.
6. Recliner Placement in a Room
When deciding on a recliner to buy for your home, you will need to consider if you have the space needed and seating arrangements so that everyone has a comfy place to sit.
A recliner needs more space around it then a regular upholstered chair so it has enough room around it when it is fully reclined. You don’t want the reclined headrest to hit a wall or the foot rest to hit a coffee table.
Most recliners need 10-14 inches of clearance from a wall or another piece of furniture to fully recline.
The placement of a recliner should also balance the furniture arrangement in the room.
Due to their larger size, a recliner can make a room feel lopsided, so placing the chair across from another larger visual element in the room like a large bookcase can counterbalance and make the room as a whole look it’s best.
Place a recliner on an area rug that is large enough to include a side or end table. This will create a more cozy appeal.
6. Tips for Accessorizing Recliners
When adding recliners to a room, don’t forget to add a luxurious throw over the back or armrest. This will add a touch of cozy interest, texture and color.
Recliner Styling TIPS:
When adding a throw blanket to a recliner, consider the thickness of the fabric. If it’s too thin, it may look wimpy or not feel as comfortable as a thicker more lush fabric like fur or velvet for the colder months when you want to get super snuggly and comfy.
Decorative Toss Pillows:
Toss or throw pillows are usually not needed as recliner chairs usually have enough cushioning.
When the chair is not in use though, a decorative throw pillow placed in one corner of the seat will give the room a more styled feel.
You can keep a basket on the floor nearby to place the pillow in when you are using the chair.
When setting up a seating area, recliners look better when placed next to a large side table. A small table will look out of scale. A coffee table will have to be placed too far away to give space for the pop-up foot rest.
When placing a side table next to a recliner, be sure to select one that is in scale with the table. A too small side table will look off.
Also make sure the side table has a heavy bottom so that if the chair has a swivel, you don’t knock the table over if the chair bumps it.
Still Don’t Like Recliners – Consider This Type of Seating
If you still are not a fan of recliners, but would like to add more comfortable living room furniture to your space, look into a reclining loveseat or couches where there is a hidden lever inside the armrest that you pull to open the seat to a reclined position.
It may cost a bit more for this feature, but no one will know the seating is a recliner, except you and your family.
Reclining seating like this looks like regular upholstered furniture while giving you a reclined seat function.
I had a sofa and a loveseat like this in my previous home when I was on the dislike side of decorating with recliners.
Chair & Ottoman or Sectional
As an option, add a footrest or an ottoman in front of an existing upholstered chair or two in the room that can double as extra seating as well as serve as a comfy place for your feet when sitting in an upholstered chair.
A well-made sectional sofa or a sofa with a chaise are other comfy seating options.
Don’t Miss Out on Comfort
When it comes to decorating a home, my only regret over the years is that I wished I had added recliners to my living room sooner and wasn’t so caught up on them being non-design worthy.
What makes your home or living spaces comfy cozy? We all have items and rituals that we do to feel comfortable at home or relax after a busy day. What are yours?
Where to Buy Recliners
As I mentioned earlier, I would never purchase an upholstered armchair I haven’t sat in first, but I rounded up a few recliners that I found online to show you the variety of styles they come in.
All of these recliners can be made up in many colors of leather, trim like nailheads and also hundreds of fabric choices to coordinate with your room’s color scheme as well.
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9
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Photos in this post: New England Home
Before I begin to decorate or remodel a home, I first try to picture how I want it to feel to be there in every season. Now that we have our new home, I’ve been spending lots of time daydreaming about our life here (as I’m packing up our old house to move our belongings in, that is haha)…
For fall and winter, I visualize our home feeling like the most inviting charming bed and breakfast hotel in a seaside town. A place where you’d come in from a day of adventuring to get warm by the fire. You’d be able to curl up in a comfy spot to spend the evening in a cozy chair reading a book, listening to music or having lively conversations over hot spiced cider and hors d’oeuvres.
I already love calling our new house our home, and I know I’ll have so much fun making it our own. As I’ve been looking for inspiration, I found this amazing guest house on Martha’s Vineyard in New England Home (where all the photos in this post are from) and it got my creative wheels turning for cozy ideas. This home also gives me lots of fall feelings and ideas…hope you are inspired by it, too!
I’ve shared many times here on The Inspired Room that I like to observe interior design from many different sources and styles. This practice helps me to begin to think of my own style in fresh ways and inspires me to create more interesting spaces.
Enjoy the photos in this post! Below each photo I share a few design elements that stood out to me. I call this the observation game (I’ve been sharing posts like this from the beginning of The Inspired Room back in 2007!). If you observe and study good classic design, it will inspire you for years to come!
Observations: Grasscloth wallpaper, green painted doors, substantial statement lighting that also adds contrast, an interesting pattern mix, a cozy sisal rug, botanical artwork, lots of texture, paneled ceiling and wood beam
Observations: inviting wood dining table, mint green vase, candle-style lantern for mood lighting, rustic tray
Observations: soft blue/green painted paneled ceilings, fun teal chairs, nautical stripes, cozy lamp in corner, black lights, walls of windows/doors
Observations: simple mantel styling, cozy fireplace, texture and pattern combinations
Observations: island paint color in a soft minty blue, warm wood floors, green Dutch oven on display, casual woven baskets, interesting architecture, covered range hood, covered dishwasher, mostly clear counters, dramatic greenery
Observations: rich wood furniture, simple linen window treatments, cozy conversation area, simple coffee table styling with stacked books
Observations: matching navy twin beds, footed nightstand, simple greenery, fun blue and white patterned bedding, botanicals throughout home, coastal striped rug
Observations: interesting wallpaper, unique but simple black light, cute reading chair with side table and brass pharmacy lamp, plaid rug, four poster bed, blue and white bedding, little round mirror, substantial lamp, wood secretary desk, simple curtains with black rods
Observations: charming rocking chairs on the porch, shingled exterior, beautiful glass French doors, black pendant light
See more of this lovely guest home here: New England Home
Do you dream about how you want your home to feel before you start decorating? 🥰 Tell me about your home over in our free community Facebook group or in my Instagram comments! What do you envision your home feeling like? I’d love to know! More
The minimalist styles and natural materials used in both Japan and Scandinavia come together in this lookbook, containing 10 living rooms that have been decorated with Japandi interior design.
“Japandi” has become the denomination for interiors where Japanese minimalism meets Scandinavian functionality. Simple, pared-back designs and natural materials are some of the key characteristics of the style.
Bare branches and dried flowers add an organic touch to the interiors, which also tend to feature an abundance of wood – a material used in both Japanese and Scandinavian interiors.
This is the latest lookbook in a series providing visual inspiration for interior designers and design lovers. Previous lookbooks in the series have showcased plant-filled offices, calm living rooms and interiors made from biomaterials.
Montreal House, Canada, by Talo Studio
A historic Montreal house was given a contemporary update by design studio Talo Studio, which played with textures to create the home’s minimalist aesthetic.
“A thick rounded sofa is combined with a low linear slatted coffee table and nubby rug with a subtle swirl, reminiscent of a Japanese garden,” studio founder Tiina Vahtola told Dezeen.
An angular Hans Wegner lounge chair with a sheepskin throw nods to the Scandinavian influence.
Find out more about Montreal House ›
The Audo, Denmark, by Norm Architects and Menu
Danish design brand Menu and architecture studio Norm Architects collaborated on the design of The Audo, a hotel in Copenhagen’s Nordhavn area.
A coffee table in veiny Carrara marble adds pattern interest to the room’s muted design, while a woven rug and rock-like ceramic sculpture stand out against the bare walls. The room’s beige sofa with a wooden frame evokes functional Japanese furniture.
Find out more about The Audo ›
Biscuit Loft apartment, USA, by OWIU Studio
Japanese design elements were added to this industrial loft space in Brooklyn, New York, such as a raised platform that can double as a bed frame. In the living room, a classic white Eames lounge chair sits next to a sculptural side table in dark wood.
Dried flowers and grass and a selection of ceramic jugs and vases make for a living room design that feels more Scandinavian or Japanese than American. A traditional Scandinavian-style tasseled rug makes the room feel more homely.
Find out more about Biscuit Loft apartment ›
Powerscroft Road, UK, by Daytrip
This London home combines a pared-down interior design with interesting tactile touches such as a fluffy rug with a geometric pattern.
A rough-hewn wooden side table is reminiscent of traditional Japanese joinery, while the vintage Cleopatra daybed by Dutch designer Dick Cordemeyer for Auping adds a northern European design piece that perfectly matches the home’s Asian influences.
Find out more about Powerscroft Road ›
Azabu Residence, Japan, by Norm Architects and Keiji Ashizawa Design
Norm Architects and Keiji Ashizawa Design have collaborated on a number of projects, including this Japandi interior design for a home in Tokyo.
The triangular pendant lamp is by Norm Architects for Karimoku Case Study and is made from traditional Japanese washi paper. Its geometric shape is picked up by the abstract sculptures on one of the walls and complements the armless modular sofa.
Find out more about Azabu Residence ›
Margin House, Japan, by Kohei Yukawa
Margin House was designed by architect Kohei Yukawa for himself and his family. Flexible living spaces are arranged around an atrium that features a living tree in the middle of the room.
The use of pale wood throughout adds a Scandinavian touch to the room, which has a welcoming feel and is flooded with natural light.
Find out more about Margin House ›
Ca l’Amo, Spain, by Marià Castelló
Architecture studio Marià Castelló designed this retreat in Ibiza using cross-laminated timber (CLT) to keep the volumes lightweight.
The delicate feel of the architecture with its wooden detailing is echoed in the furniture and decorations chosen for the interior, including a classic Pierre Paulin Butterfly Chair.
Slender tree branches are used for decoration, mirroring the trees in the building’s courtyard.
Find out more about Ca l’Amo ›
Kinuta Terrace, Japan by Keiji Ashizawa Design and Norm Architects
The Kinuta Terrace in Tokyo has a muted, discrete colour palette of beige walls and curtains that match the wooden floor in the living room. Here, a grey stone table with a wooden frame complements a wooden sofa with grey cushions.
A decorative vases and round sculptures on the table mirror a large pot that holds a money tree (Pachira aquatica).
Find out more about Kinuta Terrace ›
Edinburgh apartment, Scotland, by Luke McClelland Design
A British take on Japandi interior design can be seen in this living room in an apartment in Edinburgh. Simple and functional, the design nonetheless feels interesting because of the small touches, such as the dark-wood foldable side table and the classic rice lamp.
Artworks decorate the walls and the room’s fireplace has been painted black, matching the graphic slender black floor lamps. The wooden floor has been left mostly bare, with just a small grey rug for decoration.
Find out more about Edinburgh apartment ›
A Quiet Reflection, Sweden, by Ariake
Japanese furniture producer Ariake created an installation at Stockholm Design Week in 2018 to show its first collection. The range included these wooden sofas, whose strict lines and warm wooden frames perfectly encompass the meeting between Scandinavian and Japanese style.
A triangular white lamp and small sculptural side table are a fun addition to the room, which also features a weathered wooden floor and walls where the peeling paint has become a decorative feature in itself.
Find out more about A Quiet Reflection ›
This is the latest lookbook in a series providing visual inspiration for interior designers and design lovers. Previous lookbooks in the series have showcased plant-filled offices, calm living rooms and interiors made from biomaterials.
Read more: More
If you’ve ever wondered, how to make a small room look bigger without having to knock down a wall?” I have the answer for you. It can be done with mirrors. See how I did just this when I added mirrors to the cozy corner in my living room.
You know that I enjoy decorating and keeping the rooms in my home updated in my own style with furnishings I buy as well as using decorative items I make.
I am always looking at decorating magazine and catalogs for ideas and just last week, after seeing this photo on Pottery Barn’s website, I knew an idea I had brewing in my head for my living room was going to happen.
Seeing the photo just reinforced what I already wanted to do… and that was to add large mirrors on the wall behind my sofa and console table in my living room.
In the Pottery Barn photo, the mirrors have a hip and trendy vibe. I like that, but that is not the reason why I wanted to decorate my living room with mirrors. I wanted to add them to double the view of the lake.
Moving Ahead With My Mirror Plan
Then a few days after seeing the PB photo, while doing a stroll around HomeGoods, I came upon, not one, but 3 identical driftwood grey-stained wood-framed wall mirrors.
“OK,” I said to my self, “This is fate! Adding mirrors to my living room is going to happen. These mirrors that have practically jumped out at me are perfect in every way – color, shape, size and price. $79 each.”
The large mirrors from Pottery Barn are around $900 each!
I only had one thing stopping me from buying the mirrors and that was how I was going to fit them in my very small car, a Mini Cooper.
The saying “when there is a will there is a way” went through my mind. I made it happen, by wedging one mirror in the car and then taking three trips to get each one home. 🙂
Decorating My Living Room To Reflect the Lake View
After 5 years of living on the shores of Lake Murray in SC. I have been wanting to pare down the decor in my living room so it reflects what I see out the sliding glass doors and that is the lake, trees and nature.
That is why we moved, for a water view, so I am determined to see it as much as I can.
I want the decor to feel like a natural extension of what is on view outside and have been working on making that happen by creating a cozy corner using faux barnwood on two walls and coming up with a decorating style for the room that I call, White and Woodsy.
I played around with how to space the mirrors on the wall and decided to make them look like a large window by placing them together instead of apart.
When standing in the room now, at all angles you see the lake view, although you can’t see it in my photos as the very humid, rainy weather the past 3 days have fogged up the glass on the doors since we have the AC on in the house.
If it ever stops raining, I will try to get a better photo so you can see how nice the reflection of the lake can be seen from different angles in the room.
Living Room Wall Decor With Mirrors
You may be asking… what did I do with the oversized wall clock I made that has been hanging on the wall the last few years? I moved the clock to a wall in my studioffice where I can still see it every day.
Decorating with mirrors on a wall behind the sofa, a set of chairs or a console table can really make a small room look bigger visually.
Adding them has literally made the room feel twice as big. Even Ed remarked about it, which of course made me happy to hear that my decorating efforts were paying off.
More Ideas To Decorate With Mirrors
Even though large mirrors can make a small room appear bigger, don’t overlook how small mirrors, like adding a starburst mirror like this to a wall can make a difference.
Adding any size mirror can add visual interest to a space—not to mention solve a few design dilemmas along the way, like when I used mirrors to create faux door transoms to reflect light in dark hallway.
You can also use a collection of smaller mirrors to create a layered mirror gallery wall like I did for the guest room in my previous home. Or use old wood window sashes to create a mirror that resembles a large window.
All of these decorating ideas using mirrors are budget-friendly as you can find decorative mirrors at thrift stores, Target, Walmart, HomeGoods and even the dollar store.
The Main Reasons Why I Like Using Mirrors:
They can make a small space feel larger as the reflection visually doubles the space.
Placed strategically across from a window, mirrors double the light that comes into a room.
Mirrors also reflect both natural and artificial light that will make a room brighter during both the day and night. Even candlelight!
Mirrors are also not just for walls, you can repurpose one to make a mirrored coffee table and use it in the room to bounce the light off a white ceiling.
Decorating With Wall Mirror Tips
Make Sure Whatever You Place in Front of the mirror is pretty and you don’t mind seeing a reflection of it. For instance, I now see two TV’s on the wall, but that I can live with.
The Best Way to Hang Mirrors – Most large mirrors come with attached heavy duty hangers. Mine did, so hanging them was pretty easy. If they don’t, you can buy Heavy Duty Strap Hangers at the home improvement store. They are easy to screw onto the back.
How to Keep Mirrors Streak Free – The best way to clean large mirrors is to double clean them. First use window cleaner or vinegar and a paper towel/newspaper to remove dust and dirt. Then spray-saturate the mirror with cleaner and using a squeegee, quickly use long swipes – top to bottom to remove the cleaner, wiping the cleaner from the squeegee after every swipe. The mirrors will be streak-free.
Decorating with a Simple More Natural Vibe
There’s something powerful and liberating about paring down to what you feel is essential in your decor.
I think many of us crave a room without so much distraction in the way of clutter or unnecessary items, we feel less burdened; we flourish and have more energy. I know this is true for me.
By adding the large mirrors on the wall, I made the room appear larger, while doubling the lake view.
I went with my idea and got what I wanted…
…an open, airy, but styled and cozy room that reflect the tones and textures of the landscape outside the glass doors, easing the transition from outdoors to indoors. 🙂
What is essential for you when decorating a room in your home so it feels just right for you and your family?
For this week’s lookbook, we have picked ten Scandi-style living rooms from the Dezeen archive that play with textures and showcase natural materials, elegant accessories and muted colours.
Scandi style is a term used to describe designs from the three Scandinavian countries – Sweden, Denmark and Norway – but has also become a catchphrase that denotes minimalist interior design that uses plenty of natural materials, especially wood.
Wooden floors are traditional in Scandinavian homes, where they are often matched with wood details such as panelling and classic mid-century modern furniture.
Scandi living rooms often feature white or pale walls, which are common in the Nordic countries where the long, dark winter months mean people tend to choose light colours for their interiors.
Many of the ten interiors below also play with textures, adding fluffy throws to simple sofas, tactile rugs to wooden floors and rattan and leather seating.
This is the latest roundup in our Dezeen Lookbooks series providing visual inspiration for the home. Previous roundups include L-shaped kitchens, interiors that use internal glazing and inviting courtyards.
Gjøvik House, Norway, by Norm Architects
Located an hour outside of Oslo, Gjøvik House comprises six interconnected blocks with interiors featuring mottled grey walls, earthen textiles and warm wooden panelling.
Pale grey hues were used for the living room, which has a soft Bollo chair designed by Andreas Engesvik for Foglia and a modular sofa in a neutral grey tone.
According to the architect, the spaces were designed to have a “cosy and inviting feel, where you can truly hibernate while taking shelter from the frigid days of Nordic winter.”
Find out more about Gjøvik House ›
TypeO Loft, Sweden, by TypeO
The living room area of creative studio TypeO’s guest loft in southern Sweden features floor-to-ceiling glazing that opens up onto a large balcony.
A coffee table by Isamu Noguchi for Vitra matches the wooden floor and beams and is complemented by Ligne Roset’s Togo armchairs in black leather. Sculptural decorative details add an art gallery-like feel to the bright living space.
Find out more about TypeO Loft ›
20 Bond Apartment, US, by Home Studios
Design firm Home Studios filled the 20 Bond Apartment in New York with bespoke furniture and vintage finds, including a leather Safari chair by Danish designer Kai Winding.
An entire wall is taken up by a bespoke shelving unit that the studio made from oak wood and brass, adding another Scandinavian-style feature to the room. A rattan table and a pink resin side table by Sabine Marcelis add a tactile touch.
Find out more about 20 Bond Apartment ›
Sculptor’s Residence, Sweden, by Norm Architects, Menu and Dux
Norm Architects, Menu and Dux collaborated on this installation that was designed to resemble the “eclectic living quarters of a creative.” Muted brown and beige hues lend the interiors an earthy, organic feel, which is contrasted by the elegance of the black marble table and black sculptures.
Menu’s Hashira floor lamp adds a subtle nod to Japanese interiors, and its sleek surface offsets the knobbly texture of the brand’s Eave Dining Sofa Bench.
Find out more about Sculptor’s Residence ›
Villa Weinberg, Denmark, by Mette and Martin Weinberg
Wienberg Architects collaborated with fellow Danish architects Friis & Moltke to overhaul the 1940s Villa Weinberg. The result is a warm, inviting home lined with oil-treated oak walls.
The wood-clad living room also has a simple wooden coffee table and poufs for lounging on, as well as a built-in leather-clad bench. A rice lamp and sheepskin throw add texture to the wooden interior.
Find out more about Villa Weinberg ›
Solviken, Sweden, by Johan Sundberg
Scandi living rooms tend to have very neutral colours, but in this space in a Swedish holiday home, two comfy sofas in a calming seafoam green create a bright focal point in the room. The hue is picked up by a painting at the end of the large, open-plan kitchen and living room.
Small unpainted wooden coffee tables match the floor and the wooden storage cabinets alongside one wall.
Find out more about Solviken ›
London townhouse, UK, by Daytrip
Design studio Daytrip’s renovation and expansion of an east London townhouse includes a living room with white walls, a wooden floor and furniture in muted colours.
A textured “Banana” sofa designed by Danish Cabinetmaker, contrasts with the glass Trebol side table by Oscar Tusquets Blanca.
Numerous ceramics and sculptures surround the open fireplace and add life and interest to the sleek white interior.
Find out more about London townhouse ›
Lyceum Apartments, Sweden, by Andreas Martin-Löf Arkitekter
The Lyceum Apartments in Stockholm are located in the Old Technical College’s Pharmaceutical Institute and feature light-filled rooms with clean designs and historical details.
In the living room, a curved white sofa contrasts against the angular shapes of Pierre Jeanneret’s wood and cane Easy Chairs, Soft beige curtains match the neutral hues of the rest of the room.
Find out more about Lyceum Apartments ›
Sommarhus T, Sweden, by Johan Sundberg
This summer house by Johan Sundberg features a green sofa and a matching armchair. Both are from Danish brand &tradition and match the verdant greenery outside the large glass windows.
A practical wooden table holds globe-shaped glass vases matching the slightly uneven glass lamps in the ceiling. The entire room is clad in pale wood, including the spruce floors, creating a calm, peaceful interior. The fixed furniture in the home was made from oak.
Find out more about Sommarhus T ›
Birkedal, Denmark, by Jan Henrik Jansen
A circular holiday home on the island of Møn in Denmark features a playful living room with white-panelled walls and a floor covered in small white pebbles collected from the beach.
A built-in curved sofa has brown leather seats that have been made cosier with added throws and pillows, and a small circular side table provides space for books, magazines and snacks.
Find out more about Birkedal ›
This is the latest in our series of lookbooks providing curated visual inspiration from Dezeen’s image archive. For more inspiration see previous lookbooks showcasing colourful interiors, calm living rooms and colourful kitchens.
Read more: More
For our latest lookbook, we’ve rounded up ten living rooms that have solved the storage dilemma with bespoke shelving that define the room. This is the latest roundup in our Dezeen Lookbook series providing visual inspiration for the home. Previous articles in the series showcased designer bathrooms, colourful kitchens and living rooms with calm interiors.
Whether they’re used as room dividers, to show off the owners’ book collection or as a hiding place for shy pets, built-in or custom-made shelves create a design statement.
Read on for our round up of the ten best from Dezeen’s archives (plus a bonus eleventh one, above, which features the spectacular floor-to-ceiling bookcases at Olson Kundig’s Wasatch House in Salt Lake City):
Mermaid Beach Residence, Australia, by B.E. Architecture
The living room of Mermaid Beach Residence in Queensland’s Gold Coast region is a study in clever material use, with its concrete surfaces and timber flooring.
The monolithic built-in wooden shelving that fills one wall creates a decorative grid-effect on top of the concrete. It rests on a stone slab above wooden storage units at floor level.
Find out more about Mermaid Beach Residence ›
Artist’s studio, Russia, by Ruetemple
Architecture studio Ruetemple looked to “drawing and architecture” when designing this artist’s studio in Moscow, which is dominated by a large plywood partition that incorporates both furniture and shelving.
As well as separating the lounge area from a workspace, the partition works as both storage space and furniture. It has a built-in sofa, shelving, and a set of steps that lead up to a suspended sleeping platform.
Find out more about Artist’s studio ›
Spear Building Loft, US, by Ravi Raj and Evan Watts
This former factory in New York was renovated to create a bright, open living space. In the living room, simple built-in shelves were painted in a creamy pastel-yellow hue that harmonises with the white storage units and the fireplace.
Rather than building the shelves into a separate wall panel, they have been attached to the white wall on one side, which creates an airy feel and helps open up the room.
Find out more about Spear Building Loft ›
Sierra Negra, Mexico, by Hemaa
Two built-in shelves with wooden panelling serve a decorative function in this Mexico City living room, which has matching wooden floorboards and wood-clad walls.
Its minimalist interior and simple colour palette, which blends beige, brown and grey hues, means the books in the shelves stand out as a splash of colour. The shelves also hold speakers and picture frames, helping to keep the rest of the room free from clutter.
Find out more about Sierra Negra ›
Sausalito Outlook, USA, by Feldman Architecture
In the living room of this hillside home in Sausalito, California, Feldman Architecture added plenty of storage space for the owners’ book collection, while the white panelling in the middle hides the TV from sight.
The walls and kitchen space next to the storage wall have been painted a matching glossy white, complemented by more natural hues such as a beige rug and brown Ligne Roset Togo seating.
Find out more about Sausalito Outlook ›
Mayfair apartment, UK, by MWAI
In small apartments, built-in shelving can be the perfect space-saving solution. For MWAI’s design of a 37-square-metre home in London’s Mayfair area, it covered one wall of the open-plan kitchen and living area in a pale-wood storage unit that also includes a desk.
Colours were kept neutral to reinforce the studio’s idea to look at the design as that of a hotel room where “all functions are carefully and discreetly planned to provide a functional response.”
Find out more about Mayfair apartment ›
Kew Residence, Australia, by John Wardle
Architect John Wardle renovated his own Kew Residence home to make its wood-lined first-floor study the focal point of the house. Built-in shelves hold books and bric-a-brac on one side of the room and the architect’s art collection on another.
Neutral wood colours were used for the shelves and the built-in reading nook in the room, where the architect said he spends “just about all his daylight hours.”
Find out more about Kew Residence ›
House for Booklovers and Cats, USA, by BFDO Architects
The built-in storage in this colourful home lives up to the project name – it doesn’t just have space for books and art, but also for the owners’ two cats to hide away from visitors.
The custom-made shelf has dozens of cubby holes while projecting shelves form a staircase for the cats to ascend to the ledge at the top, where they can sit and observe the goings-on below.
Find out more about House for Booklovers and Cats ›
The Hide Out, US, by Dan Brunn Architecture
Dan Brunn Architecture renovated The Hide Out, which was originally designed by Frank Gehry in the 1970s, to pay homage to its initial simple material palette.
In this living room and bedroom overlooking a meditation garden, the lush walnut seating nook is complemented by a built-in white bookshelf that also hides a fold-out bed.
Find out more about The Hide Out ›
Fin House, UK, by RA Projects
The blue steel staircase in the middle of the living space in this home designed for fashion designer Roksanda Ilincic was designed to look “like a sculpture in a gallery.”
As well as a staircase, the piece functions as a shelving system with multiple shelves in different sizes. Its back wall is broken up rather than solid, which lets light pass through and stops the colourful piece from feeling too solid.
Find out more about Fin House ›
This is the latest in our series of lookbooks providing curated visual inspiration from Dezeen’s image archive. For more inspiration see previous lookbooks showcasing peaceful bedrooms, calm living rooms and colourful kitchens.
Read more: More
Ideas on how to decorate a living room while allowing it to change and evolve over time to fit your life and personal style.
If you joined the Facebook Group, The Decorating Panel (invite here), then you know this week is all about living rooms. When I went to look for a post to share in the group that showed how my living room looks now after living and updating the house for 5 years, I realized I didn’t have one.
All of my more recent blog posts with photos taken in my living room are focused on a project I have done in the room or around holiday decorations.
It was time to gather up a few photos in one post all about how the decor in my living room has evolved to what the room looks like now. It has gone through many changes – floor to ceiling.
When I think back to how the room used to look, I realize just how much the room has evolved to make it fit the setting of the house and my personal style of decorating.
I liked everything I did in the room over the years and don’t regret anything. The longer we lived in the house, the more I could see just what the room needed. The decor became more in tune with what is most important in the room… the view out the sliding glass doors to the lake.
The Living Room – BEFORE
If you have been a long time reader, you may remember how the living room looked when we first saw the house with our real estate agent. Here is a photo of the room with the previous owners furnishings.
Once we moved in, I started removing and updating right away. The process has been ongoing ever since. One that I enjoy and will never be done doing as life changes, so must the spaces we live in.
The first big change was removing the wall with a pocket door between the kitchen and living room.
We removed it with the help of a contractor.
It took some time, but was worth the effort.
With the wall removed, the view to the lake was doubled from both the kitchen and living room.
After this everything else we have done in the room, we have done ourselves to save money.
On the opposite side of the room, we covered up this brick wall with…
…white vertical paneling. We also built a stone fireplace using a product called AirStone.
The mantel is from the top of a dining room hutch that was in our previous house. We no longer had a place for it and nobody wanted it so we had to break it apart, but saved the top to use as a mantel.
Wall Color: SW Pure White
I wasn’t sure yet what style of furniture I wanted for the room, so we brought the outdoor furniture into the room until we bought new furniture a piece at a time.
On the long wall is the only place for the sofa. I have always had a slipcovered sofa. This one was a tie-on slipcover over a navy blue sofa from our previous house.
I bought a new console table and placed it behind the sofa. It gave me a surface for a much needed lamp and decorative accessories.
Eventually I bought a new Rolled Arm Slipcovered Sofa from Pottery Barn, made an oversize Fixer Upper Wall Clock and began to change the decorative accessories out every season. Blue pillows means it’s summer. 🙂
Getting The Hardwood Floor Refinished
When the hardwood floor was refinished is when I began to like the room. Up until this point, I always felt no matter what I added to the room, the orange floor always stuck out.
The only time the floor looked OK was in the fall when I added fall colors to the room.
The new grey floor stain made a huge difference. I finally felt I could do what I really wanted decor wise and not have to deal with the orange wood-tone anymore.
How My Living Room Looks Now
Sofa | Console Table | Rug | Barnwood Panels | Frames | Coffee Table | Pillows
My house is on a point lot with the lake on 3 sides and tall pines all over our property. With nature all around us, I wanted the living room to reflect that so the two felt seamless. About a year ago I came up with a name for the decorating style of my living room.
I call the style, White and Woodsy. It is a little bit traditional, not quite rustic, but has a nod to it. It’s casual and laid back, but overall has a bit of polish and uniformity.
After going back and forth on ways to make the clock pop and add more of a cozy feel to the room, I chose to accent these two walls with Barnwood paneling instead of painting them a color.
Adding it made the room come together instantly. I wouldn’t want it everywhere, but as an accent it works well.
Wall Clock | Lamp
It is cozy, yet bright and cheery. Cozy is more than a look, cozy is a feeling and I wanted it for this room.
I created the gallery wall to create interest and to see the people I love the most on a daily basis.
I change what is on the mantel seasonally, most of the time restyling items I already own in new ways.
I looked for a long time to find comfy chairs that not only recline, but rock and swivel all around. This allows us to face the TV, the lake or swivel around to look at the fireplace.
Full Room View
Pom Pom Ottoman Slipcovers | White Sideboard
The size of the room is 15′ x 16′. Not large, so I like to keep the furnishings minimal and cohesive.
To create a conversational grouping of furniture in the room, two chairs across from the sofa would have made the space feel cramped and the chair backs would block the view to the lake.
Instead, for more seating that visually doesn’t block the view, the pair of ottomans works perfectly. Extra and moveable seating when needed while adding to the decor.
I painted the existing ceiling fan white.
This wide-angle shot kind of distorts the room and makes it look larger than it is, but you can get a better overall feel for the space.
Sliding Glass Doors & TV Wall
I semi-made the extra wide drapery panels on the sliding glass doors by sewing two pre-made panels together. The TV is on a swing arm mount so we can easily change the angle to the kitchen or living room.
Decorative Details Around the Room
Basket Table | Floor Lamp
Faux Concrete Planter
Coffee Table Styling
One reason I like neutral walls and seating is that I can easily change out the decorative accessories to seasonal colors and not worry about having things match or coordinate. No matter what color I place in the room, it goes. No set color scheme to have to work with.
The view from the kitchen to the living room. My latest project was creating this plate rack wall. It provides a nice transition between the two rooms.
I know that was a lot of photos, but they tell the story of how the room has evolved over 5 years we have lived in the house.
The room will never be done as I enjoy changing the decor seasonally. I also know that my life and tastes may change, so will this room.
Do you like to change things up in your living room for the seasons or as your tastes and circumstances change?