The 6 Best Inspirational Ideas to optimize your Living Room

Tim Parry


photo of a woman sitting on the couch

We’ve been trying to perfect indoor since the times of caves and huts. We’re a lot more modern these days, and with this comes an array of different designing possibilities once thought unimaginable. The concept of design was once lost, as well as the idea of a living room. In the modern age, however, people take pride in making their homes look nice and rightly so! After I followed these tips, I looked for the best apartment rental sites nyc to list my apartment.

The feeling of being proud of your home is a unique feeling like no other, but to achieve this it can take a lot of time and a lot of money. We hope in this short read to inspire your designing needs, to save you valuable time in doing so, and to cut costs as much as possible while recommending some fantastic products. Where better than the living room to design? After all, live, is in the name.

Decorating on a budget? Small living room space? Let’s talk you through our most inspired, best ideas for you to optimize your Living Room…

Simple Design Tips for your Living Room

Simple designs are often better than extravagant ones. The idea of minimalism is inspiring home decor more-and-more and often saves on cost and, in this case, living room space. Utilize your fireplace if you have one, perhaps with fairy lights across the wood-finish mantel-piece. Find the odd unique pieces for your living room, such as a quirky coffee table.

After all, it’s always great to have something inclusive to you and something that stands out! We recommended that you design your living room with soft colors, especially the walls. On the flip side, an elegant way to bring your living room to life is to do this, but also have a few bright-colored items that catch the eye.

Turquoise or cyan, lime green or orange are just some nice color examples. Firstly, pick a color as your living room, maybe even rest-of-the-house, theme. Secondly, find 2-4 small items and a further medium-to-large-sized item in said color to bolster the room with some life. You can mix one or two colors or even find a great piece for your living room and then design the rest of it in its color.

If you can pull it off, maybe even buy a bright-colored sofa that would stand out! However, our best recommendation regarding this is to buy some nice cushion covers for your sofa. This simple tip is a fun, elegant and practical way of designing your living room with a splash of uniqueness and color. Be sure to look for something similar if this doesn’t match your color theme!

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Decorating your Living Room on a Budget

It’s all well and good having ideas for how to make your living room look nice, but what’s the point if it becomes too costly, right? Not to fear, we have you covered… Paintings are a fantastic way of having something that stands out in your living room, clearing the way to decorate the area around them with basic, non-flaunty things. There are lots of cheap, but nice paintings that are available to buy. We all have an artistic friend that paints in their spare time, toying with the idea of going freelance. Help them out and buy something?

Or better yet, paint something yourself if you have the talent (or even if you don’t!) -- a great way of adding a personal touch. On the flip side, you could invest in one masterpiece that will capture the room’s attention, leaving no need to decorate boldly and pricey elsewhere. However, thinking outside the box, why not buy a blank canvas and some paints? Splatter paints of your chosen color theme, as discussed, and have fun doing it. You’ll have something 100% unique, and decorating with a personal touch will help to make your home your home.

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You could do this with a friend or your partner so you’ll always be looking at a memory! Another tip: although there are lots of cute and quirky decorative objects to buy to scatter around your living room, be sure to not buy a lot if you’re on a limited budget, as people tend to.

Even the cheapest vases and bottles will mount up to be pricey if you’re buying a lot of them. So instead, thinking outside the box again: everyone collects little trinkets from their travels or keepsakes that bring back a flood of happy memories.

Utilize these. Of course, you’ll be limited with this so be sure to consider our other suggestions. 

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Scandinavian Style Living Room Design

No, we’re not following the IKEA catalog for this one as you may expect. That said, they’ve inspired their country, region and even the entire world on home decor so I’m sure they’ve placed their part. However, the Scandinavian style goes beyond IKEA. What makes a Scandinavian style living room is designing in the name of minimalism, with a love of simplicity and practicality.

This is especially ideal for those with small living rooms or living in an apartment that needs to be made practical. Our top recommendation is to have a unique, quirky, rustic, old-meets-modern coffee table. Doing so also catches the eye and adds a unique feature to your home. Products made of natural elements and using soft color shades are also key in a Scandanavian style living room. Whatever else you look for to match the Scandanavian style, be sure to think: functionality.

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Small Living Room Design Ideas

If you have a small living room, then first of all, you need to keep this space tidy and clutter-free. Without any precious floor and surface space, your living room would look minuscule! Find furniture that doesn’t take up much room and small-space designs. Be sure to use soft color shades, especially for your walls. Try to use wall storage if you have lots of things, ideally high up.

An appealing way to design in this manner would be to decorate with cute, weaved baskets. Having a chair with unique cushions or an oversized corner table will catch the eye and help the rest of the room seem spacious in comparison. Your couch is the main event that takes up most of the room, right? So get a two-seater sofa, or better yet, a corner sofa. Follow what we’ve advised you, but our best tip to recommend is to buy stools instead of armchairs.

Perhaps a nice ottoman. Psst, a lot of seat stools come with storage. Buying stools of such a description would kill two birds with one stone so-to-speak.

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Our Favorite Apartment Living Room Design Tips

No matter how spacious an apartment is, it’s likely to look smaller and more compact than a house would. So although this is similar to designing for a small living room, you’ll want to design your apartment to look as modern as possible, ultra-modern in comparison to a house.

That’s the point of having an apartment, right? Cool balconies, city skylines. Having a nice rug helps, but designing your apartment living room is where you’ll especially want to take inspiration from IKEA Scandinavia.

Opt for minimal design to enlarge the appearance of floor and surface space. Again, think functionality. As discussed for designing small living rooms, smart storage spaces and stools instead of armchairs are useful, which you can find as a 2-in-1 practical. However, the best recommendation we can give you for designing your apartment, and outside of the typical Scandinavian type of design, is to add mirrors.

Doing so will make the room seem much larger. Don’t be afraid to have more than one mirror, but for now, we suggest you stick to one large mirror that opens up the room. Especially if you have someone in your home applying makeup or could use a mirror for any Beauty Products.

And our final inspirational idea…

...Mix it up!

This is all about having design-finishes that stimulate your senses to help you feel more at-home-in-your-home and comfortable within your surroundings. Firstly, mix up your textures: have silk and fabric cushions on your leather sofa. Perhaps even designed from different patterns. You may not have a leather sofa but you get the idea, right? Have a mix of hard and soft surfaces: boasting a beautiful timber floor would help achieve this. Hell, strip your carpet if necessary!

Timber floors are especially appealing if you live in an apartment, to help achieve that modern-feel we’ve discussed. Coinciding with helping to mix it up, this is a grand-scale, simple and cost-effective tip. Our best recommendation area rug that mixes up both textures and colors is to buy a nice textural rug. You can also mix up your lighting: having different types of light helps to create an atmosphere.

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Fairy lights over the fireplace is a simple tip we’ve advised you on, and a good way of achieving this particular inspiring idea too!

Let’s wrap-up our best inspiring design ideas of how to best optimize your living room…


Your living room is the main room of the house. It’s where you relax after a hard day at work and entertain guests on the weekend. We’ve comprised the best designing ideas that inspire us, to help inspire you, as well as the best tips for products within these ideas. If you’re looking for simple design tips, then a soft-colored room with just a few splashes of color is the way to go! Sofa cushions are the best way to achieve this.

Most of us decorate on a budget, and although there are lots of cost-effective designs and objects you can find, or perhaps one costly masterpiece-painting that will alleviate the need to decorate elsewhere in the room -- why not paint your own stuff or decorate with your personal trinkets and keepsakes? Scandinavian style is in an increasingly popular inspiration for designing living rooms. It’s one that supports a minimal, practical room.

One aspect within this, that goes beyond the products of IKEA, is a unique and quirky coffee table. This is still a functional design piece anyway… If you have a small living room, so you’ll want to cut space. Do this by having stools instead of armchairs, and buy one that acts as a means of storage too!

Perhaps you live in an apartment, an if so, be sure to buy design with new, modern products. Having a mirror will also open up the space you have. And no matter what you live in; apartment, house, hut or cave… be sure to mix things up; textures, surfaces, colors, and lighting.

We hope to have inspired you for how to best optimize your living room… Happy DIY’ing!

Psst. Planning on having an adventure? If you are going backpacking anytime soon - do not miss our Essential Tips when Backpacking, written by one of our travel experts!

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Tim Parry