If the kitchen is considered the heart of the home, the living room must be its soul. Every special gathering seems to find its focus in this expansive space. For my family, this is where we unwind after a long day. We come together to discuss our highs and lows, readying ourselves for the possibility of tomorrow. Sometimes, I have a great book in my hand, and others, a great martini!
Whether you’re entertaining or relaxing with your family, you spend a lot of time in your living room. You want your living room interior design to be welcoming, comfortable, and full of style. As one of the main (if not THE only) gathering spaces in your home, it’s the perfect place to showcase your design aesthetic. It’s an ideal room for experimenting with furniture layouts, texture, color, and pattern.
Living Room Interior Design Ideas
Today I’m sharing my favorite living room interior design ideas from iconic designers, as well as a few from present-day designers I admire. These living rooms are bold, out of the ordinary spaces that seamlessly blend elements that don’t seem to go together in unique ways. They prove how intentional design and creativity can tell a story and breathe new life into any home.
Photography: Feliciano, Peter Vitale, Dick Busher
1. Sister Parish
Sister Parish’s living room looks alive and vibrant. Traditional chairs mixed with silver accessories and art make the design feel like it evolved over time. It has great conversation zones with the seating area pointed toward the center. Whether you’re conversing with your close friends or with a large group at a party, this living room is warm and inviting.
2. Bunny Williams
This is Bunny’s home, so as you can imagine it’s positively comfortable, classic, and instantly iconic. Her living room is deeply personal, reflecting her love of animals and nature. Her collection of ceramics and books add personality and are great conversation starters. She uses texture to create contrast, pairing smooth mahogany with a sea grass rug. The visual tension results in a formal, yet approachable space that puts people at ease when they walk in.
Photography: the Greenbrier Hotel by Cooper Carras for Matchbook Mag
3. Dorothy Draper
Technically, this isn’t a living room. However, the sitting areas of the Greenbrier Hotel designed by Dorothy Draper deserve to be honored and mimicked. Bold and daring, these iconic rooms ooze glamour and high style. Oversized patterns, black lacquer, and infusions of vibrant color put a bold twist on traditional period styles. Energizing orange walls and red upholstery paired with calming blue chairs give this traditional sitting room a fresh, modern feel.
Photography: Josh Thornton
4. Summer Thornton
This perfectly poised living room is bright and filled with natural light. Bleached oak floors bring a natural warmth to the living room without making it visually heavy. Sculptural, feminine style furnishings add interest and depth to this modern space. Touches of fresh green and relaxing blue infuse energy into the clean interior and give it a California cool vibe. This minimalist, modern interior is party ready.
5. Kelly Wearstler
This residence shows like a great piece of art: captivating, unexpected, and influential. It’s a maximalist space that works because it is relentlessly over-the-top. Soft pink accents and curved silhouettes bring balance to the crisp geometric lines and black and white color palette. The addition of metallic accents and marble add depth and a luxe touch without overwhelming the design.
6. Elsie de Wolfe
Designed with the equally legendary Tony Duquette, Elsie’s living room is a departure from tight conversation zones. This open expanse celebrates introductions and standing room only affairs. It breaks away from the clutter associated with Victorian design and embraces a more casual style. Her collection of 18th-century French inspired pieces add an elegant, sophisticated feel without overwhelming the room.
Photography: Simon Watson
7. Albert Hadley
Legendary designer Albert Hadley decorated homes belonging to some of America’s most prominent families: the Astors, the Gettys, and Jacqueline Onassis. This living room is simple, symmetrical, and timeless. Clean white walls and cool gray floors lend themselves to a minimalist style space. Accents of rich wood and black accessories add depth and punctuate the design. It’s an open, airy living room that still feels intimate and cozy.
8. Timothy Corrigan
Timothy Corrigan is one of the living interior designers on this list. The interior design of his Los Angeles living room is a testament to why he’s a mainstay on many top American design lists.
This living room layers texture with color, blending animal prints with bright pops of purple. There are lots of unexpected pairings that just work. And I love how he hangs art up high to draw the eye upward.
Photography: Genevieve Garruppo
9. Sasha Bikoff
Sasha Bikoff’s playful aesthetic is fully embraced in her showroom’s collection of eclectic pieces. From vinyl tube chaises to colorful Depression glass, her shop is delightfully fun! Her home’s living room, however, is a bit more subdued. I love how she’s used her grandmother’s fur throw to break the contrast of classic black and white. The vintage family heirloom adds a layer of luxury and history to this modern space.
Photography: Harry Benson
10. Mario Buatta
No list would be complete without the late great Mario Buatta, the crowned Prince of Chintz. Chintz is a heavily patterned cotton fabric, usually with a floral design, that’s treated with a glazed finish. This living room designed by Mario is full of personality, with each chair a little bit different than the next. What better way to host your guests than with a chair that reflects their disposition in some way?!
Though patterns abound in this room, they’re all of a similar color palette and reflect the colors in the artwork above the fireplace. It’s a bright, whimsical space that showcases chintz in a modern way.
11. Billy Baldwin
Billy Baldwin once said “…nothing you really like is ever out of style.” As one of the first male decorators of the 20th-century, he believed in quality and comfort. He looked to the pieces his clients already owned to inspire his design. His client-centric design philosophy delivered beautiful spaces for Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Cole Porter, and stunning socialite Babe Paley.
This living room features many of his design signatures: fabric walls, low slipper chairs, swing arm brass lamps, and collections of patterned cotton prints. His use of old and new pieces, color and pattern, and sense of scale brought each client’s personality to life in a unique way.
Photography: Victoria Pearson
12. Barbara Barry
I saw Barbara Barry’s collection for McGuire firsthand at High Point in April and was struck by its romance and warmth. Her pared down style intentionally blurs the line between the home and nature. It encourages you to embrace stillness while continuing to moving forward.
The design of this living room takes a cooler approach. It allows the exposed wood beam and stone fireplace to exude a strong, natural presence. Large single-pane windows frame the beautiful views outside and turn then into a piece of art. This living room marries modern design with an intimate connection to nature in a way that is so inviting.
Photography: Daniel Féau
13. Philippe Starck
Philippe Starck is an interior and product designer, as well as an architect. This concrete and glass home on the Seine in Paris showcases his clean-lined and industrial vision. He used a network of stairs, high ceilings, and large plate glass windows to turn the home into a piece of art.
Sculptural furniture, a cozy rug, and contemporary artwork add warmth to this cool concrete living room. It works because it makes the most of a narrow structure, with the spaciousness felt through lack of embellishment.
Photography: Simon Upton
14. Jean-Louis Deniot
You could select any home from Deniot and I would add the home’s living room to this list. This particular living room is a classic ode to symmetry and balance. Curved pieces with feminine silhouettes balance the sleek, masculine lines. Accents of yellow and gold bring softness to the living room’s cool gray and white color palette. By mixing antiques with contemporary ones and pairing luxurious details with unexpected surprises, he creates a space that with a timeless sense of place. Love, love, love!
Photography: Melanie Acevedo
15. Miles Redd
Miles Redd uses art in this living area as an “equalizer,” with this large piece softening brighter colors, while accentuating dimmer tones. The room flows as freely as the air of the Bahamas, inviting you for tea, cocktails, and more conversation. It’s a whimsical play on the traditional Bahamian beach style.
Soothing blues, cheerful yellow, and natural sea grass textures bring the elements of the outdoors inside in this living room design. Cozy, deep seating creates intimate conversation zones that invite you to sit down and relax. This living room proves that when design follows function, you have the perfect room.
The Key to Living Room Interior Design: Authenticity
An intentional living room design blends luxury, comfort, and functionality. But most of all, a great-looking room is a reflection of the homeowner. Taking a peek into the homes of iconic designers is such an inspiring journey because you immediately feel the energy of each space.
I love how these iconic interior designers challenge the perception of traditional living room interior design. I invite you to take a tour of my own living room, and other rooms of course, in Rizzoli’s latest. On Style: Inspiration and Advice from the Next Generation of Interior Design is on shelves now.