The living room is the anchor point for most apartment floor plans—it’s where you spend most of your time outside the bedroom, so it should speak to your comfort and style. Make your space your own by using these renter-friendly apartment living room ideas!
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Don’t Be Afraid to Get Creative
When it comes to apartment living room ideas, the limit does not exist. Most interior designers and space planners will tell you that style doesn’t matter as much as interior design principles.
Is the space functional? Do the design elements work cohesively?
If you follow basic design principles to make your space look intentional, then you can adopt any design style. Don’t let trends or nay-sayers dictate how you should decorate. It’s your space, after all. And you’re the one who has to live in it!
To find inspiration, we recommend that you:
- Start With a Mood Board – A mood board is a collection of design examples to reference. This can help define your style by identifying commonalities in your inspiration. The references are also useful when shopping for items or identifying a color palette.
- Explore Design-Related Social Accounts – Social media is full of professional and amateur interior design gurus thanks to the market for DIY design hacks! We like accounts that test and review renter-friendly design products so that you can see the design in action!
- Blend Styles – Some of the most compelling living room apartment designs combine elements from different styles. Try pairing an antique, floor-length mirror frame with a mid-century sofa and minimalist planter. This contrast provides much-needed visual interest and allows you to explore different decor items!
Add Dimension With Contrast and Light
One of the top design mistakes we see when staging apartments is a uniform color palette. Sticking to one color or material can make your space feel flat and small because there isn’t enough visual contrast. When creating contrast, think about:
- Colors – Do I have at least one distinct lighter color and one darker color to draw my eye around the room? Most apartment walls are a shade of white, so furnish your living room with darker accent pieces (e.g., lamps, table legs, throw pillows).
- Textures – If you prefer to stick to a muted color palette, try incorporating different textures instead. That could mean having two items made of clearly different materials (e.g., an imitation sheepskin mini rug vs a sleek white coffee table) or incorporating patterns (e.g., a knit throw pillow vs a plain).
- Lighting – Lighting can make your room feel more dynamic by casting shadows or changing the room’s hue. Use small lamps and a larger floor lamp to adjust your lighting. You can also play around with natural light by using sheer curtains and strategically placed large mirrors. Both will keep your living room spacious and airy!
As a final rule of thumb, make sure you repeat colors in your color palette throughout the room. This helps make your design feel intentional. Say it with us: Colors! Should! Repeat!
Add Personal Touches
Home is where the heart is (and where your stuff is)! It should stand to reason that you should incorporate personal touches into your space to show off your personality! That could mean incorporating artwork, photos of family and friends, books you love, fun plants, and plant holders. Don’t be afraid to change your style depending on your mood or the season, either!
Besides creating a warm ambiance, personal touches can also act as accents in your color palette. Draw on colors from your sentimental items throughout your living room to establish a consistent visual language. This step is crucial in integrating your apartment living room decor ideas.
Create a Focal Point
Every living room needs a focal point—a standout element that draws the eye and anchors the space. This could be a mounted TV, a large piece of art, or a well-designed entertainment center. A focal point not only adds visual interest, but also serves as a starting point for arranging the rest of your furniture and decor.
- Feature Large Items – Larger items will naturally draw your attention, especially if it’s mounted on the wall (like art or ornate mirrors).
- Use Leading Lines – You can highlight an item by using leading lines that draw your attention. For example, floating shelves will draw your eyes up and laterally across the wall. Place them next to your focal point to pull your attention.
- Create moments using negative space – Your high-impact focal points won’t stand out if they have to compete with other visual elements. Give your focal points room to breathe or use contrasting elements (size or color) to make your focal point stand out.
Remember, you can have more than one focal point in your room. We suggest one large focal point with 1–2 smaller ones throughout the space.
Add a Rug to Define Your Space
A well-chosen rug can transform the look and feel of your living room. It not only defines the seating area, but also adds a layer of comfort and warmth!
When selecting a rug, ensure it’s the right size for your space and complements your existing decor. The rug should be big enough so that the front legs of your sofa, reading chairs, and entertainment console can comfortably fit without impeding the flow of traffic.
As always, make sure that your rug uses colors from your color palette to unify the space. If you choose a bold accent rug, incorporate pops of that color in your remaining decor items.
Make Your Living Room Uniquely Yours
Set the tone of your apartment by investing in your apartment living room! By following basic design principles, you can incorporate any style you like. Introduce light, color, and textural contrast to add dimension to your room. Then, create focal points that highlight your personality! Finally, use a rug to tie everything together.
Need more inspiration for apartment living room ideas? Be sure to check out apartment must-haves you can buy on Amazon!