8 Real Life Living Rooms That Work (And Why)

published Mar 13, 2015
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(Image credit: Bethany Nauert)

Are you a big fan of spaces that are bursting with design, accessories, colors and patterns? But are you a little worried about how to make it work in the real world (and specifically, your home)? We’ve got real-life living rooms that are bursting with style but that work — and we’re breaking down the lessons to take with you into your own space!

Jenn & Hunter’s Historic Landmark Apartment — This room is full of furniture, art, plants and even a few quirky accessories. What makes this room work is several things. One, it’s large and the room’s architecture allows for a little grandeur. Two, the two largest pieces of furniture in the room are of the same set, and their coordinating color and pattern help unify the look. And finally, they smartly decorated up high, spreading the decor evenly around the room so that while the place is busy, it’s quite balanced visually.

(Image credit: Leanne Bertram)

Beci & Raph’s Most Excellent Make & Do Adventure — There are all kinds of things to look at in this living room, from great furniture choices to accessories to weird pieces of art and found finds. But what helps this space not seem too overwhelming are the white walls. The sofa without throw pillows. The combining of art elements into small groupings.

(Image credit: Nick Steever)

Brigitte’s Real Deal Apartment in Brooklyn — There’s a bold mix of styles in this small Brooklyn apartment, not to mention one powerful art collage and a boldly patterned floor rug. But what helps this space seem enjoyable rather than too busy to be in is the subdued color palette that dominates and subdues.

(Image credit: The Twiggies)

Ajenda’s Polished Second-Hand Chic Style — Ajenda is a collector, as her cute grouping of art on the wall and her fun finds on her shelf hint at. But what keeps this room from overwhelming is its soft, cheery color palette that features pastels with punches of bold colors. Everything seems to be very orderly, as well. The wall art collage has an order to it, as well as the objects on the shelf.

(Image credit: Leanne Bertram)

Mariana & Mark’s Artistic Melbourne Home — This wide open space could have the potential to look way too cluttered in the wrong hands. But in Mariana and Mark’s, it’s just the right mix of exciting and calming. The leggy furniture doesn’t let anything feel too heavy. A lot of small trinkets become one large element as a collection in one area.

(Image credit: Jill Slater)

Anne & Richard’s Loving Renovation at the El Dorado — From fluffy sofa cushions to a fluffy rug to lots of art and a full color palette that’s hard to peg down, this room works simply because it has a lot of balance to it. Furniture is large, but in proportion with one another. Visual weighted balance happens with the throw pillows.

(Image credit: Bridget Pizzo)

Sasha’s Silver Lake Bohemian Bungalow — There’s quite the bold array of patterns happening in Sasha’s bungalow living room. This room works because the patterns all have an earthy color palette in common. All the colors of the textiles meld perfectly with the earthy tones of the wood furniture to create one visual look that complements itself. The cute dog doesn’t hurt, either!

(Image credit: Nicole Crowder)

Matt & Mel’s Animated Abode — Matt and Mel’s living room has a lot of colors happening. A lot of bold, strong colors. And quite a few patterns. But what works in this space is clean colors that are crisp. A lot of black that gives the space a graphic feel. Plenty of open floor space. A sparse coffee table. Little moments of zen mixed into the more busy parts of the decor.

Do you have a happily full living room that works? Share your secrets for creating a non-spartan space that doesn’t overwhelm in the comments…