When you think about the entertaining center of your home, your kitchen is probably the first room that comes to mind…but it wasn’t always that way. The living room, previously known as the drawing or sitting room, used to be the most important space. It was where ladies received guests during the day and where everyone met before and after dinner. 

It was the central gathering room.

Though the living room has become less formal over the years, it continues to be a space to catch up with friends and family. So today I wanted to share three tips for creating a sophisticated, yet approachable living room in your home.

Use a Neutral Color Palette

The common misconception about neutral colors is that they’re boring, but truth is that they don’t have to be! They actually make a beautiful and subtle background for artwork or when paired with white they can draw your eye to a specific point.

In this living room, we wanted to make this gorgeous black and white horse photograph the focal point. We used neutral grey tones to make the artwork pop and prevent anything else from overpowering the piece.

Los Angeles modern chic black and white living room - Laura U Interior Design

Incorporate Clean Lines

Clean lines create a contrast between design elements and give your eye a path to follow. They create symmetry and balance, so you see each individual element within the overall design.

For this living room, the wood ceiling beams move your eye horizontally across the room to the beautiful built-in bookshelves. The painting by Katharine Bowdoin Barthelme mirrors the large windows and gives the space extra dimension. The green velvet accent chairs by Robert Allen Design bring the outside colors indoors and complement the painting to pull the room together.

Cozy, collected living room with wooden beams - Laura U Interior Design

Make a Statement

Big, bold and bright are usually words that describe statement pieces, but playing with rich, deep colors and textures can also make quite the statement too. Layering colors and textures allow you to highlight certain elements in the space in a visually stunning way.

Natural brick and wooden beam bright white living room with gold and cowhide accents - Laura U Interior Design

In this all-white living room, we wanted to make the floor to ceiling fireplace the focal point and highlight the natural brick. We tied in the wood elements of the fireplace with the wood beams on the ceiling and TV stand. To anchor the room, we used a navy Surya rug and added a touch of shine with a gold metallic side table.

Modern minimal sitting area with Hunt Slonem black and white glitter bunnies - Laura U Interior Design

The abundance of natural light in this living room inspired us to make a statement with a rich charcoal hue. We incorporated an accent wall to make this whimsical bunny painting pop and accent pillows on the couch to weave the color further into the space.

The dark chandelier adds a feminine touch, while the luxe blue velvet chairs add a bit of softness. This living room is a modern, glamorous space that proves you can make a statement without using bright colors. Plus, we can’t get enough of Hunt Slonem’s glitter bunnies painting!

I hope these tips have shown you how you can design a living room that’s elegant and sophisticated, but still welcoming for your guests. No matter how you design it, remember the memories you make in the living room are the most important thing.

For more living room ideas and inspiration, head over to Instagram and Pinterest.


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Laura U

Laura Umansky is a story-teller at heart. Her unique perspective and tailored design process empower her to create singular interiors for clients all over the world.

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