See How 3 Designers Added Their Personal Styles to a Neutral Living Room
A blank canvas doesn’t mean boring. When you start with a couple of timeless pieces, you can create myriad style statements, looks that can change according to seasons, trends, or just your mood. That’s why we were so excited to ask three of our favorite designers to put their own spins on the same living room.
We started with a classic couch and coffee table. The Brookside Clara 3-seater sofa has a traditional look, with buttery faux-leather upholstery and curved arms for a modern update. And at 72 inches, it’s roomy but still slim enough for small spaces. An elegant wood coffee table can suit midcentury, boho, and even farmhouse decors, with spacious drawers that keep clutter at bay. Both pieces — along with all of our designers’ finds — are from The Home Depot, whose online store is packed with on-trend pieces at on-point prices. From anchor pieces to finishing touches, there’s something for every design aesthetic. Check out the different looks our designers created.
With their cheerful pastels and whimsical touches, Ashley Wilson‘s designs often bring to mind magical candy stores. Here, she added formal-but-fun pieces like an elegant floral area rug and a chinoiserie table lamp. Luscious scalloped velvet chairs are a soft counterpoint to the leather sofa, while a striped floor pouf in sea green complements the colors in the rug. She topped it all off with playful accents like colorful midcentury-style abstract art and a pair of gold flamingos.
“I love starting with a neutral sofa that’ll stand up to pets and kids and then layering on the fun color and personality,” Ashley says. “Then everything can work together to create a room that’s nice to watch TV and entertain in, but still tells your story. It’s the details that can be quirky and fun and bring in texture and really speak to who lives there.”
Armed with amazing ideas, plenty of power tools, and a killer collection of overalls, Ashley Basnight is a DIY and design force of nature. Her spin on this neutral living room speaks to her personal style influences, with boho patterns, earthy colors, and a few surprises. Using the couch as the room’s anchor piece, Ashley added softness with a plush Moroccan rug in a neutral cream and complementary woven throw pillows. A richly hued midcentury chair and chunky knit throw in deep olive green add texture and color. Touches like a sculptural concrete accent table and gold tripod floor lamp lend glamour. And for the ultimate finishing touch: “Woman in Garden,” a frameless, free-floating artwork on glass that bursts with color.
“It’s definitely a statement piece and brings that glam element to the living room,” Ashley says. “Layout is everything when designing a well-thought-out living room. Having a really strong anchor piece is important.”
One look at David Quarles IV‘s Instagram and it’s easy to see why he’s such an in-demand designer for homes and restaurants. With exuberant colors, captivating patterns, and a masterful command of maximalism, David’s spaces are chock full of life. Here, he started by leaning into this neutral living room’s midcentury vibes, with a pair of handsome MCM-style club chairs in mustard yellow. Then he layered on some of those eye-catching patterns he loves, with a global-inspired area rug, geometric peel-and-stick wallpaper, and abstract wall art. An olive green pillow, a subtly textured yellow throw, and an eclectic ceramic vase add earthiness. An asymmetrical floor lamp casts a beautiful glow on the whole scene.
“I like to prioritize the function and the feel of the space,” David says. “For the function, I aim to provide a comfortable space for conversation. And for the feel, I incorporate music when designing — songs help me understand the color and mood a room will have. For instance, I listened to ‘Be Honest’ by Jorja Smith and Burna Boy while sitting near an olive green lake. The cultural tie came through the Afrobeats base of the song while echoing the colors of the lake and glimmering sunshine. I pulled that inspiration together and designed the room with how I’d imagine myself feeling when relaxing there.”