How to Design a Living Room, Step by Step

Discover the secrets to design a living room that tells your unique story. From setting a mood to adding personal touches, create a space that inspires.

Let’s use our living room at the Sunrise Farm as an example to guide you through the design process.

Home takes time. We all know that when you design a living room (or any space, for that matter), it’s about so much more than sitting down and ordering thousands of dollars in new furniture in one go; it’s an ongoing, I would even say lifelong, process that requires experimentation, patience, and a commitment to creating a space that exudes comfort and belonging.

Today, however, we’ll focus more on the physical transformation for the sake of sharing practical advice.

How to Design a Living Room, Step by Step

Step 1: Set the Mood with a Vision.

Imagine you in your living room. Consider the feeling you want to evoke and the atmosphere you desire.

At the Sunrise Farm, we aimed for an elegant yet lived-in feel, a cross between Restoration Hardware and cottagecore. Think refined luxury – but in the countryside.

Step 2: List Out Your Needs.

Identify your specific requirements. Do you need more seating, storage, want to highlight (or disguise) certain architectural elements?

At Sunrise Farm, we needed additional storage for tech and electronics, miscellaneous books, the girls’ homeschooling activities, the printer and all things related to it. Due to the smaller size of our living room, we needed seating space for no more than 5 people.

I considered many layouts but ultimately chose a sectional with one, maybe two side chairs, in the case of company.

How to Design a Living Room, Step by Step

Step 3: Plan Out Your Color Palette, Finishes, Materials.

Choose colors, finishes, and textures that align with your desired mood, defined in Step 1. This part is all about balance; don’t be afraid to mix and match styles, but remember to strike a balance between bold and overpowering.

Narrowing down these finishing elements will help you in your search for furniture and decor. Instead of combing through thousands upon thousands of options, you’ll be able to filter your search results based on colors, finishes, and materials you’ve chosen.

For our luxurious countryside aesthetic, we opted for neutral colors, iron and brass finishes, and materials like velvet, linen, and textural finishes, like beaded empire chandelier.

Step 4: Decide Your Budget.

Instead of seeing budgets as a restrictive limitation, think of them as a freeing concept. Setting a budget helps you control your money, rather than your money controlling you. A budget forces you to establish priorities and spend within your means, and there’s so much freedom in that.

For Sunrise Farm, we set an overall budget for furniture and decor, rather than separate budgets per room. As some of you know, we used most of our previously-owned furniture to furnish a rental, so we are starting fresh in many of the rooms. This is as exciting as it is overwhelming. Of course I want to be intentional in buying high-quality items that I’ll love and use for years to come, but that can get overwhelming rather quickly. For example, I’ve spent weeks sourcing a sofa, and I’ve yet to find the right one. However, we can’t continue living with an empty living room, so I settled on a fitting but temporary option, with the plan to upgrade when I find the right one.

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