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dream living room

Psst! Here’s the (not so) secret Freshome recipe for a dream living room. Image: Hero Images/Getty Images

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Sometimes we take for granted that the living room is, in fact, the place where we do most of our living. It’s a space that needs to serve multiple purposes and please multiple personalities. The living room is a place for parties and the location for movie nights. It’s a harbor where you can catch your breath after a long day, and the space where families can come together through the thick and thin and enjoy each other’s company. So it’s no surprise that the Freshome team has some opinions on what makes a good living room. Let’s take a quick look at what we think the dream living room needs to really shine.

When polled, we all agreed that there are a few key elements every living room simply must contain. There’s the couch, comfortable and large enough to seat everyone in the family. Then there’s the accent furniture that makes the space pop. And we can’t forget the TV that often serves as the hearth of the home in the digital age. But what sets one living room apart from another? It’s all about the personality and the pieces you gather in the space. We polled our Freshome team to find out which pieces are absolutely critical in a dream living room and which can make all the difference when it comes to your design.

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dream living room - accent sofa

Your accent sofa is the place to show off your personal design flair. The Drake Sofa in mustard yellow? Why not! Image: West Elm

#1: An accent color loveseat or sofa

One of the most fun pieces to shop for your dream living room is the accent loveseat or sofa. While you may want to go more traditional with your primary couch color (see below), this is a place to have some fun. With maximalism trending, who says you can’t get a jewel-toned sofa is a rich velvet? Or a bold, patterned upholstery? Really, this is your opportunity to dream something up in your head, then buy it for your home.

If you’re looking for a place to get started, we recommend one of our Freshome favorites: the Drake Sofa from West Elm, pictured above in Twill in Dark Horseradish. Some of our writers love the bright pop of yellow, while others prefer the more lush look of Distressed Velvet in Forest or Dusty Blush. All this to say, your accent furniture is a place to showcase your design preferences and pick a piece that will wow your friends.

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dream living room - couch

A giant couch invites friends and family to gather – or gives you a place to stretch out by yourself. Image: CreativaStudio/Getty Images

#2: A giant couch

The right couch can be the centerpiece of any dream living room. When it comes to choosing your couch color, it’s tempting to want to go big and bold. After all, this is a piece that everyone’s going to be looking at – and sitting on. But don’t forget that this will be one of the biggest investments in your home (good couches aren’t cheap!) and you’re going to want to love it for years to come.

Neutral colors give you the flexibility to change the room without needing to buy a new couch. All you need are new throw pillows and you can make your couch work with virtually any theme. When it comes to the shape, try to strike a balance between interesting and classic so you choose a design that has staying power. We love a good, square sectional sofa or one that invites you to plop down, like the Hamilton Leather Sofa from West Elm. Still not sure which couch is right for you? Check out this guide on the different sofa styles for more clarity.

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dream living room - gallery wall

A living room gallery wall is the ideal place to showcase what you love. Image: Photographee.eu/Shutterstock

#3: Wall art

Your living room wall art is your opportunity to really let your personality shine and have some fun! Maybe you want a bright and open feel to your living room space. In that case, an oversized mirror is just the thing to place on one of the prominent walls. It reflects light, making the space feel brighter, and adds an interesting design element.

Or maybe you want to really add some personal flair. The living room is the perfect place for a gallery wall. When putting together a gallery wall, our Freshome team says you need:

  • Art you truly love, like photos with personal meaning or paintings your kids made in class.
  • Something thought-provoking, like a mounted sculptural element, an abstract art piece or black and white photos.
  • A large piece to anchor the layout. If there’s no single piece you want to spotlight, consider adding a floating ledge to serve as your anchor.

We’ve rounded up more gallery wall hacks to help you pull the whole thing together.

When looking for art for your living room, don’t settle just because you feel like you need to get something up on the walls. Wait until something really speaks to you. Remember, you’re working to create your dream living room! And being surrounded by art you really love makes your dream living room a truly enjoyable place to spend time.

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dream living room - entertainment

Your living room can easily pull double-duty when it’s simple to tuck away your TV. The Cameo 2-Piece Entertainment Center makes that easy. Image: Crate & Barrel

#4: A space for entertaining and entertainment

While a number of us at Freshome would love to have a home theater, those of us who are still waiting to make our millions and buy our mansion settle for creating a theater-like space in our dream living room. A flatscreen TV is a must (here’s a VIZIO D-Series 24″ option from Target to get you started), but it doesn’t necessarily have to be the focal point of the room. We’ve highlighted a number of ways you can seamlessly integrate your TV into the room or cleverly hide it away. For example, you can tuck it away in a polished entertainment center, like the Cameo 2-Piece Entertainment Center from Crate & Barrel.

Integrating your TV is so important because your living room needs to pull double-duty. It can’t just be a space for entertainment, it also needs to be a space for entertaining. When choosing electronics, furniture, decor and lighting for your dream living room, picture the space full of people. Will it comfortably accommodate the groups you plan to host? Sectional furniture that can be moved around can help you carve out a better entertaining area. Hideaway TVs can make the space feel more intimate and dimmable lights can create ambiance. In short, when planning your dream living room, think through how it will function whether you’re curled up on the couch solo or you’re entertaining a large group.

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dream living room - chair

Give yourself a space to relax by adding a comfortable chair to your living room. Image: Photographee.eu/Shutterstock

#5: A comfortable chair

Sure, a big couch is key in every living room. But what about when you want a little more space for yourself? A big, cozy chair is the ideal place to curl up and grab the aforementioned alone time. Plus, it’s a great addition to the living room of anyone who entertains. Not every guest wants to sit side-by-side with a complete stranger – or even a close friend. Add an accent pillow and a cozy throw and you’ve created an inviting addition to your dream living room.

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dream living room - coffee table

When picking furniture, remember that an interesting coffee table (like the Yukon Natural Coffee Table) makes even the simplest living room pop. Image: Crate & Barrel

#6: A memorable coffee table

No living room would be complete without a coffee table where you can place decor, books and drinks. And in our dream living room, the coffee table itself serves as a piece of decor. Go beyond the basic and look for a coffee table that will add a level of interest to your room. Here are a few of our Freshome favorites:

What would we find in your dream living room? We had a lot of fun thinking about it – and you might, too! Picture your ideal living room and tell us what sets it apart in the comments.