8 Living Room Design Tricks to Steal from a Professional Designer

Does your living room feel like it’s missing some essentials? Like it’s slowly losing its comfort, or style? Whether your living room is looking drab and outdated, or you’re just plain bored with the same old stuff, Leura Fine, CEO and founder of design company Laurel & Wolf, has some simple and fun things you can do to spruce up your space without committing to a total makeover!

1. Add an accent wall (removable or not)

Photo via Laurel & Wolf
Add some excitement to your space with a fun accent wall! Some bold colored paint or bright patterned wallpaper can be the perfect eye-catching accent in any room. For a temporary look, stick up some wrapping paper, or even fabric, with thumb tacks, double-sided tape, or starch! If you get tired of the design, you can easily change it to match your new style.

2. Hang a gallery display

Photo via Laurel & Wolf
A gallery wall is an inexpensive way to dress up a room. If you have kids, mix it up and frame some of their imaginative art along with your finer pieces. If you have a lot of memorabilia or cool antique pieces and family photos, curate those into your wall arrangement. For the best results, use a large section of the wall and try to evenly space everything about 2 inches apart, for a clean and purposeful look.

3. Lay down a large area rug

Photo via Laurel & Wolf
A rug will add an element of comfort in your living room, and the right rug can make a huge difference in your style, too. For a classic look, go with an oriental rug, or, if you want something a little more fun and eclectic, go for Ikat, stripes, or even cowhide, which will add an element of design savvy to a room and make you look like a professional designer.

4. Fill open space with mirrors

Photo via Laurel & Wolf
Mirrors do beautiful things for rooms. They can help to elongate and expand the space, and give a room a sense of luxury. If you have a fireplace in your living room, a large mirror is an excellent item to place on or above the mantle, and they make for great additions to gallery walls as well.

5. Decorate your bookshelves

Photo via Laurel & Wolf
Even your book shelves and storage spaces can become part of your décor - every shelf can, and should, be a display shelf. Color code your books for an optimally organized appearance and place a few small decorative items (plants, bowls, candles, etc.) throughout, to fill space and highlight your interesting collections.

6. Bring in plants and flowers

Photo via Laurel & Wolf
The simple addition of plants and floral arrangements does amazing things for any space. Place large, green plants in the corners of the room or next to side tables, to add texture and interest. If you’re into the boho vibe, hanging planters nestled in macramé hangers is a great option. For more touches of green, try succulents or flowers on the coffee table, side tables, and along book shelves. Spruce up for spring with tons of floral ideas from Laurel & Wolf.

7. Choose your lighting wisely

Photo via Laurel & Wolf
Everyone, homeowner and renter alike, should adore their lighting. Fixtures and lamps are easy to change, and there are so many options to choose from. Don’t forget about your natural light - as the days get longer, less light is required to keep your living room bright and vibrant, so invest in some sheer curtains (or go bare!) and let the light in.

8. Pump up your seating with pillows

Photo via Laurel & Wolf
The addition of sofa cushions in an array of colors and patterns is a super simple way to liven up your space. With so many options available in stores, and tons of DIY ideas to try yourself, it’s easy to find something you love within your budget.

Want some smart insight to get the look that fits you best? Take the free style quiz at laurelandwolf.com today!
All photos via laurelandwolf.com

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Frequently asked questions

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  1 question
  • Jojo Jojo on Dec 27, 2017
    Vaulted ceiling with skylight. One wall has solid banester where stairs go down to basement. So that the wall above the opening is not very accessible. My question what furniture would be best up against that “half wall banester”. Its a bit of A traffic area also. The opening for the stairs is hidden as it is in a hallway. The half wall is L shaped as you follow the wall down


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  • Donna Donna on Feb 07, 2017
    Moonmonkey...it's a Mongolian Lamb throw:)

  • Beth Beth on Oct 10, 2018

    As a retired interior decorator myself, I'd like to make one comment about using mirrors: A mirror is only as good as what it reflects. If it reflects nothing but a patch of blank wall, then it's just a frame. Make sure the mirror reflects something interesting. When I placed one over a fireplace or dining server, I would set it so it tilted downward and would reflect the people sitting in the room, the candlelight and flowers on the table, etc.; not the empty wall across the room.