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The living area of a New York City apartment with a fireplace at the center, a yellow lounge chair with footrest to the left, and a red accent chair and television to the right. Bold bright artworks hang around the walls.
The living room of this Harlem apartment leans embraces bright colors and bold graphic artwork.
Photo by Winnie Au

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21 living room ideas to inspire you now

With styles ranging from rustic to midcentury to boho bungalow

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Living rooms often take center stage in our lives. They are made for social gatherings, and they’re where we live out our daily routines, from reading and conversation to aperitifs and nightcaps.

In our House Calls column, we get an inside look at inspiring residential architecture and interiors, including atmospheric living rooms that span styles. Whether you’re after rustic warmth or midcentury-inspired perfection, we think you’ll find some valuable living room furniture and decor ideas in the homes below. Happy shopping!

Don’t miss the previous installments of this series highlighting bedroom, dining room, and bathroom ideas.

In Denver, a family puts a modern twist on the classic ranch house

Cate and Paul Hoff’s home in Denver, Colorado, seamlessly blends indoor-outdoor living with two large sections of sliding glass doors that extend the main living areas onto a patio and lawn. Since Cate is “very attracted to things that are handmade or that have an organic feel to [them],” pottery and sculpture in neutral tones are tucked into built-in shelving around the home. Furnishings are a mix of mostly Australian and European designers.

Newlyweds pare back and make a 500-square-foot apartment work in Harlem

When Joshua Itiola and Bisserat Tseggai leased their first apartment together in Harlem, New York, they had to make peace with with a smaller space—an approximately 500-square-foot, second-floor unit in a 1920s brownstone. “An apartment like this, one in a brownstone with beautiful old woodwork, is the best of New York living,” says Itiola. The combined living and dining area, illuminated by a bay window for much of the day, is where they relax, eat, and socialize. Graphic, colorful art—and that gorgeous geometric rug—helped knit together the historic bones and modern furniture.

A couple works to build a house that can weather the next superstorm

The two-story Long Beach Island, New Jersey, home of Stephanie and Craig Carter was grounded in the beach lifestyle. No matter the level, the rooms are designed to focus on the dunes, waves, and sky. Decks on each floor provide a visceral connection to nature, and clerestory windows on the sides frame views of the skies. The open-plan living area works in a kitchen and dining area and is outfitted with soothing blues and neutrals, set against moody wallpaper reminiscent of a sunset.

Inside an idyllic Catskills home on 32 acres

Built in the early 1900s, this house originally operated as a carriage house and, later, as a cauliflower farm. It took several years to transform the property into its current state, and the owners had several walls taken down to open up the interiors and create larger rooms throughout. The living space, which sits snugly between the dining area and kitchen, keeps the original beams intact and plays up a natural palette and rich materials.

In Colorado, a couple DIYs the renovation of a 1957 gem

On the 1,330-square-foot main floor of this Colorado home, every corner got a serious makeover. The owners knocked down a wall to open up the dining room and updated the kitchen. They also removed carpet and installed hardwood floors throughout. The windows in the airy living room, furnished with a mix of vintage and new, contribute to the home’s natural heating and cooling, providing opportunities for cross-breezes in the summer and radiant heat in the winter. Statement plants provide a natural contrast to the field of neutral tans and grays.

An Indiana couple builds their eco-friendly dream house on 8.5 acres

In farmland near Muncie, Indiana, Kelsey and Tyler Johnston purchased a lot on which architect David Rausch would ultimately build them a sustainability-driven dream home. Rausch noticed traditional Indiana barns on his first drive to the site, and suggested they take cues from the region’s vernacular architecture. This design direction is echoed throughout the home, including in the living room, which is styled with a reclaimed wood coffee table, neutral colors, and white oak floors.

An artist and her husband create a colorful sanctuary in LA

Clocking in at around 1,200 square feet, stationery designer Jesse Levison’s bungalow features charming curved archways, a tiled roof, and bright interiors. Levison is an avid thrifter and antiquer, and her finds—from the Brooklyn Flea, LA’s Rose Bowl Flea Market, Brimfield, and more—are on full display around the home. Several pieces of furniture—like the living room coffee table, dining table, and Levison’s office shelving—are by Trendelman, a metal fabricator.

For more living room furniture and decor tips and inspiration, check out the Curbed Handbook.

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