Living Room

A Comprehensive Guide to Styling Your Living Room

Living Room Design (Design by Amber Interiors)

The Investment Pieces:

A sofa, chairs, coffee table, rug


Sofa and chairs:

  • What is the layout of your space? Before picking out your sofa and chairs you’ll need to determine your layout. Some questions to ask yourself when determining your layout:
    • What is the functional purpose of the room? The room could be used to watched TV, a place to read or study, or a space focused on conversation
    • How do I enter the room? You want to ensure that your furniture will not block where you enter the room. Living rooms can have multiple entry spots so keep this in mind when putting together the layout.
  • How big is your space? The size of your furniture should be proportional to your room. If you have a large room, larger sofas and chairs will help fill the space. Smaller apartments may be best furnished with lower, more compact sized furniture.
  • How formal is the space?  If it is a place for more formal get-togethers, you may opt for a more formal chesterfield, or settee in a luxe fabric. If it is a casual place for family to hang out, you may opt for a large, comfortable sectional or couch with durable, easy to clean fabric.
  • How much seating would you like to have? Consider the size of your household and how many guests and how often you entertain. It makes it easier to design a layout and purchase furniture when you have a good understanding of how many seating places you would need.

Coffee Table:

  • What height of coffee table would you like? Coffee tables are typically 17″-19″ high. Ensure that you consider the height of the seat of your couch when picking your sofa because you will want to consider the height difference between the two. For instance, if you have a low sofa, you would likely want a low coffee table as well. Lower coffee tables are typically more modern.
  • How long should your coffee table be (if it’s rectangular/square)? The general rule of thumb is to have the coffee table be 1/2 to 2/3 the length of your sofa. The distance between the sofa and coffee table should be around 15″-18″.
  • What shape should coffee table should you get? Shape depends mostly on personal preference. A rectangular coffee table provides clean lines and 4 sides with which you can organize your room. A round coffee table is good because it is easy to walk around because there are no corners.
  • Do you need storage/somewhere to hide the clutter? Consider whether or not you want storage in your coffee table. Shelves are great for hiding unwanted clutter.
  • What are some other options? An ottoman or tufted coffee table is always a great option because it can be used to put your feet up or additional seating.


  • What size should you get? This will depend on the size of your room. Try to find a rug that you’ll be able to either fit your entire couch and chairs on or just the front two legs of your sofa and chairs on. As well, you should try and avoid having your carpet go from wall to wall by leaving approx. 4″ from the wall to the carpet. Typical rug sizes are: 6’x9′, 8’x10′ and 9’x12′. For more rug sizing details check out my blog post here.
  • What colour/pattern should you get? This depends on your own personal style and other furniture. If you have neutral coloured furniture, you can go with a bold pattern or colour. Rugs are a great way to express yourself. If you would prefer something more neutral, try looking at difference textures to add visual interest.


  • Plan out your space before you start shopping for furniture. Keep in mind how you plan on using the space so that you can ensure that your furniture layout will allow you to use the space as you like.
  • Start with a rug or sofa. This isn’t a hard and fast rule, however, because these are the biggest investment pieces and they tend to set the tone for room it is often advised to start out here.
  • Make sure that furniture is kept close enough together for a conversation.
  • Sofas can help divide large spaces. A console table behind the sofa can help act as a room divider.
  • Ottomans and poufs are great ways to add additional seating spaces to accommodate guests.
  • If opting for a ottoman or tufted coffee table, a tray on top is useful for putting drinks to avoid spills on the fabric.
  • When choosing a rug consider the size, colour/pattern and texture.

The Accessories:

Window coverings, lighting, end tables, throw pillows, throws, art and decorative objects


  • What type of window covering should you get? The decision is generally between blinds, shades and curtains. Some key considerations are light, privacy and overall appearance. Blinds can be tilted to offer privacy and still allow light to enter the room. Bottom up blinds also can provide needed privacy while remaining open at the top. Shades have a very tailored look to them. They are a great option when you don’t have space on either side of your window for drapes to sit. Curtains can add drama to a space and can make a room feel larger. However, if you need privacy but want light then curtains may not be the best option as they block light when they are closed.
  • What material should your window coverings be? This depends a lot on the function of the room. You may want to opt for thick, black out curtains for a bedroom or light, gauzy curtains to offer privacy while letting in some light.
  • What kind of ceiling lighting do you have/need? Some living rooms have pot lights, some have a central light fixture, some have a combination of the two and some have none. If you do have a ceiling fixture, ensure that it is mounted high enough so that people don’t bump their heads on it. The light shouldn’t hang lower than 7′.
  • Should you use table lamps or floor lamps? You can use both. Both offer the same functionality. Table lamps look nice on an end table or console table but if you don’t have room for a table lamp, then a floor lamp works just the same.
  • Where should I put end tables? End tables can be placed at the end of a sofa, beside a chair or in between two chairs.
  • How should you accessorize the room? Have fun and add in colour, texture and patterns that are to your taste. Don’t be scared to mix patterns and textures and try not to focus on making everything too matchy-matchy. A well decorated living room should look like a collected space.


  • Consider your natural light, privacy and personal aesthetic when choosing drapes, blinds or shades.
  • Ceiling lights should not hang lower than 7′ off the ground.
  • Consider purchasing two of the same table lamps to add symmetry.
  • Don’t be afraid to mix and match pillows. For tips on mixing and matching pillows check out my blog post here.
  • Use accessories as an affordable way to change up your decor from season to season.