11 Living Room Design Ideas Designers Swear By

Purchasing a rug that is too small for the room’s dimensions is one of the biggest mistakes people make when furnishing a living space, according to Oshri Adri and Jillian Dahlman, cofounders of Adri + Dahlman Interiors out of Great Neck, New York. “Ideally, all the furniture should sit on the rug completely,” Adri says. To make sure you are purchasing the correct size rug, arrange the furniture exactly as you want it placed in the room and measure how much space the perimeter surrounding the furniture takes up. If you can’t find a premade rug that suits your room, visit a carpet store and ask to have a broadloom carpet cut to the exact size you need.

Elevate interior architecture

Though not the easiest update, upgrading architectural features can change the entire look and feel of a space. 

Photo: Kyle J Caldwell

Dawn Gepfert, principal at Dawn P. Gepfert Design in Southport, Connecticut, is a big proponent of evaluating and updating the interior architecture of the existing living room as needed, including molding, windows, and built-ins. “If your room lacks architectural interest, think about adding it,” she says. In the case of the living room pictured here Gepfert notes, “There was too much oddly placed trim that needed to be removed and updated.” To address this, Gepfert tackled this in a variety of ways such as judicious use of moldings and trim and redesigning the mantle and overmantle. They also replaced the coffered ceiling with a more contemporary wall covering. “One of the strong architectural elements is all of the windows and French doors with views to the garden. Because privacy wasn’t an issue, we simply left the windows alone so as not to obstruct the view and light,” Gepfert says. “Sometimes less is definitely more.”

Paint the room white

Adri + Dahlman Interiors refresh a living room with crisp white paint. 

Photo: Tim Hill Photography

White walls in a living room are full of possibility. A new paint job can completely transform a room. “White walls instantly create a bright space that allows for a blank canvas to decorate,” Dahlman says. “To dress up the walls, hang large scale art centered over the furniture.” The Adri + Dahlman Interiors team favor Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace (OC-65), a crisp white. “Nothing freshens up a space more,” Dahlman adds.

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