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Eleven Essential Elements to Styling Your Living Room

“Let’s have a family meeting”, “1,2,3 HOT LAVA”, “Movie night tonight kiddos”. What do all three of these statements have in common? Each statement leads all family members to the same place- The Living Room. That is the exact reason the “living” room is also called the “family” room. Terence Conran was right- “The living room should be a place where we feel totally at ease - a temple of the soul.”

I don't think we can say it any better than that! Living rooms wear many hats when it comes to a home. It’s a place to entertain, socialize, and mainly just a place to kick your feet up and relax. In our opinion, we believe the most important hat that the living room wears is providing a place where families can spend time together. Spending time together as a family has a different meaning in each household though. Depending on the stage of life your family is in, the decorations, layout and storage is going to determine the flow of your living room. For example, families with small children will need multiple ways to store toys and anything that is considered a “choking hazard” will need to out of reach. If your children are a little older, you will no longer have to store their toys. YIPPIE!! Now the décor accents that collected dust over the past three years can finally come back out!!

If you take anything away from this week’s blog, remember the quote from Terence Conran. The living room should be a place of ease and not always a “magazine” cover. An oversized chair might look perfect in front of that fireplace, with two pillows and a throw laid perfectly across it. If you been on pinterest lately, you know the look we are talking about. It is beautiful in every way but does it really bring the comfort or ease to your living room? If you want the magazine look, that is perfectly fine. BUT it is also perfectly fine to move the chair so it faces the TV better. It might not have the “magazine” worthy look, but the functionality brings that feeling of ease and comfort to your family. We hope to give you inspiring tips on how to make your living room lovely, but also space for your kids to read books and family to visit over coffee in the morning. So, let's get started on how to decorate this space!

Here are 11 Tips for Making Your Living Rooms Welcoming and Inviting

Comfortable Sitting and a Good Arrangement

First and foremost, if you want a living room to feel comfortable then you probably should have comfortable seating, right? We have a variety of sized chairs in our living rooms. This helps to add character, charm, and of course comfort! We have two small chairs that feel like a little hug when you sit in them, along with larger chairs that have ottomans for our husbands and kids to kick their feet up and relax. Furthermore, we placed the chairs so it is easier for the conversation to flow.

Neutral is the Way to Go

Even though we love a good print (of course this is just our opinion) we think it's best to keep the larger furniture solid as much as possible. We went with a leather couch to give warmth to our living rooms with cream accent chairs. This makes it easier to decorate for different seasons using accent pillows. If your heart is set on colors and prints, accent chairs are the way to go. Accent chairs are easier to replace and cheaper than a sofa. Just like the seasons, your style and taste will change as well.

Pillows and Blankets

If you have been a follower, you know our love for pillows and blankets. They “scream” comfort, warm, and soft! Having pillows on chairs relaxes the space and makes everybody want to unwind. Blankets provide the same feeling. Our kids love having blankets close by to curl up with when they are watching a movie or lounging on the couch. They also use both to build forts, but that conversation will have to be in another post. Both pillows and blankets bring style and warmth to your living room and also providing a pop of color that matches the season.

Coffee Table and Accent Tables

These are one of those pieces that you can be a little daring with because they can be effortlessly changed out as your style varies. Right now, we have one traditional side table along with an industrial coffee table. Your tables don’t always have to match. Having various table styles in your living room gives your furniture an “antique” or collected look. Can you say charm? It does not have to be matchy-matchy but make sure it flows.

Accent pieces are the perfect decor to show off your style and personality in your home. Accent decor also provides a place to keep remotes. A cute little basket for your remotes also adds that little bit of charm.

Basket was purchased at Walmart.


We have vinyl flooring in our homes that look like wood. We love vinyl because it doesn’t scratch and is water resident...but we will talk about our love for vinyl in another post. The point is, we have wood looking floors throughout most of our house. Using rugs in the living room is a great way to add warmth and balance to space. Again, just like our furniture, we lean more towards the neutral, solid look. However, if you need a little color or texture in your life, rugs are a safe place to try that look. Just keep in mind, if you want a pattern rug, balance it out with a solid couch and solid chairs.

In our living rooms, we use jute rugs. These give great texture, are neutral, and can seamlessly mix with any design choice. They give a waterfront feel in the summer and warmness in the winter. We don’t think you can go wrong with a jute rug. Also, you can throw another rug on top of the jute rug to get a completely different look and add more character. Talk about a versatile style element!

One more note with rugs...sizing is very significant! Don’t buy a rug too small or too big. Even if you have a room full of impressive furniture if your rug size is inaccurate your living room will always feel unproportionable. If you are not confident about what size rug to use, below we have a comprehensive article that gives suggestions on rugs for each area in your home.

Keep the Stage of Life in Mind When You are Decorating

Having accommodations for storage is again another method to add texture and warmth to space. Use olive buckets, antique crates, or wicker baskets to accomplish this intention for your stage of life. The olive baskets are fabulous for holding toys. We use this prominent antique crate to hold comfy quilts that our kiddos adore curling up with, and baskets can be utilized to hold magazines, books, a bible, prayer scarves, and devotional journals.

Crate was purchased from the Round Top Antique Fair at The Porch.

Basket was purchased from HomeGoods.

Make Sure You Have a Focal Point

We have a TV room upstairs, so our focal point in the living room is the fireplace. Having a focal point allows you to create balance with your furniture. If you do not have a focal point, we suggest a large piece of furniture such as an armoire. An armoire is a great place to hold the TV and electronics. Another suggestion is purchasing a mantel and creating a faux fireplace. We had this in our house growing up, and it worked perfectly.

Pictures of Our Family

We cherish our children and family, and like any mother, we are proud to show our babies off. Show off your loved ones, but keep it simple. We kindly recommend accenting your shelves or wall with one or two pictures of your family, but keep it as an accent.


Drapes are the icing of the cake in a living room. Surprise, Surprise!! We also use neutral drapes. The reason we use solid, neutral drapes is because they never go out of style. Pottery Barn’s Emery Linen Drapes are legendary and worth every single penny. We have them in our living room in the color oatmeal. We have had these drapes for numerous years and have not regretted them for one second!

We love our Pottery Barn drapes, but if you are looking for a more budget friendly option check out IKEA. They do the same trick in providing that clean, crisp look to your home.

Greenery, Flowers, and Candles

Just like our entrance post, a few elements that can add a big punch at a minimal expense is greenery, fresh flowers, and candles. You can easily find greenery accessories at Walmart to tuck in places for texture and color or wreaths at HomeGoods and Kirklands. Additionally, we love Tyler candles and think candles bring a scent of home to any space! Warm Sugar Cookie is our favorite, and it does the trick to creating an inviting smell. Finally, there is nothing better than beautiful, fresh flowers in your home. It just brings such life to any space. Trust us...all of these items are great touches for a minimal amount!


Lanterns are another one of those budget friendly items that add so much character to space and can be changed out seasonally. We bought these lanterns from Pottery Barn and have used them for numerous occasions from decorating to entertaining. At night, when the candles are lit, it brings a warm glow that brings a cozy feeling to our home. The best part is they are remotel controlled.

We hope these tips help motivate you to view your living room as a relaxed and welcoming space for your family and friends. We would love to see how you decorate your living rooms and if you used any of our suggestions. Please tag us your pictures on Instagram @theoldrivernest.

All Our Love,

Amber & Brooke

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