13 Genius Apartment Living Room Decor Ideas for 2023
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13 Genius Apartment Living Room Decor Ideas for 2023

Jul 05, 2023

Get ready to entertain or just relax in a stunning space designed for your life.

“A living room is usually the biggest and best looking (not to mention most expensive!) room in any house, and to me that means you should use it most,” says designer CeCe Barfield Thompson.

The question of how you plan to live in this room often informs how you decorate it—especially in an apartment, where every square foot might be at a premium and spaces might serve multiple purposes. Will the living room be a formal entertaining space or a casual hangout for your family? Will it be the primary home of your art collection or ever-growing library? Will it be pulling double duty as a study or a dining area?

But that’s only the first of many decisions. There are practical choices: picking the right paint color or wallcovering, window treatments, flooring and rugs, lighting fixtures, furniture (a sofa, accent chairs, a coffee table, end tables, etc.), upholstery, and decor (pillows, lamps, and maybe a cozy throw blanket). What’s your style? Classic, contemporary, or a bit of both? Are you a minimalist or a maximalist? Are you trying to stick to a theme? Do you want to highlight a particular architectural element or a treasured family heirloom? How do you feel about mixing patterns? Then there are beautiful things that need curating or even commissioning to complete the space.

If you are a little overwhelmed by the task, then look to these beautiful apartment living room ideas for inspiration to create a space that will evoke "whoas" and "aahs" from your guests.

While function comes first for her busy, modern family, Thompson also wants her husband and daughters to be nourished by the beauty of each room of their Gramercy Park apartment in New York. In the living room, an oil painting by London artist Daisy Cook hangs over a nine-foot Schneller sofa upholstered in stain-resistant fabric (Perennials). The coffee table is crafted from a 19th-century Chinese screen.

Longtime decorator of Palm Beach residences Danielle Rollins took her cue from outside the living room window of this weekend retreat nestled in one of the town’s iconic apartment buildings. The textured wallcovering of the main living space is reminiscent of a palm tree’s trunk. The designer’s grass cloth wallpaper even covers the clever artwork above the sofa: a vintage Hermès scarf framed in a custom shadow box. Lamps, Hudson Valley Lighting. Pillows, Tillett

New York real estate star Michael Lorber brought a cache of cherished antiques and art to his home. He chose his Park Avenue apartment in part because its living room was the perfect size for a generous Sultanabad rug. An Italian landscape mural (Iksel) makes a robust backdrop for his art collection, including Foot and Hand by Roy Lichtenstein (second from left).

David Jimenez could have easily placed two chairs in the center of his centuries-old French manor house apartment’s salon, but the backs would have been to the fireplace. Enter a ticking-upholstered recamier. “I love using daybeds because they invite conversation without blocking anything,” says the interior designer, who dotted the room with stools as extra cocktail seating.

“I like to utilize the entire volume of a room,” says designer Anthony Baratta, pointing to a painting by Tomory Dodge and a custom floor lamp—both of which take advantage of this Upper West Side apartment’s overscale living room with its high ceiling.

Equally ample upholstered furnishings are clad in arresting colors and patterns, including cherry red velvet (Pierre Frey) and the sofa’s block-printed linen (Christopher Moore). Plaster and marble objects, like the bust on the end table (right), repeat the hue and classical tone of the original ceiling moldings.

With each gathering space in a Philadelphia apartment, Young Huh sought to express the design personality of her client couple. Their interest in color and pattern was injected into the main living area with an array of custom seating upholstered in dark, moody fabrics by Cowtan & Tout, de Le Cuona, and Kravet.

Decorator Dorothy Draper installed the citron velvet sofas that still reside in the lobby of The Carlyle. When designer Garrow Kedigian moved to the storied 1930s Manhattan apartment-hotel, he carried that jubilant yellow up to his living room walls and chose black moldings to echo the iron doors and window mullions.

Pierre Frey’s Mortefontaine fabric launched Palmer Weiss’s design plan for the living room of a young family’s Montana condo. She covered two swivel chairs and several pillows in the floral, then distributed its nutty aubergine, soft brown, navy, and olive tones around the room to play off walls of shiplap paneling.

The cobalt living room (Benjamin Moore’s Bermuda Blue with a custom glaze on top) of this prewar Upper East Side apartment features lemon yellow silk draperies and a raspberry strié velvet sofa crowned with contemporary artist Willa Nasatir’s Bite. The quirky piece picks up colors in the armchairs covered in Schumacher’s Rolling Hills fabric.

For a globally inspired Miami apartment, Brazilian designer Sig Bergamin unleashed some two dozen patterned fabrics in the living room alone. Surprisingly harmonious florals and tropical prints bloom on sofa upholstery, wicker chair cushions, and a profusion of pillows. Striped daybed fabric, Robert Kime

In designing a private sanctuary for a couple’s Flatiron District pied-à-terre, Robert Passal sprinkled diverse works of art and objects around the living room’s pale upholstered seating. A pair of 19th-century Italian sconces flanks a still life painting by Alec Soth. Visage clay sculpture, Pablo Picasso. Sofa upholstery fabric, Manuel Canovas

American tastemaker Susan Gutfreund enlisted legendary French decorator Henri Samuel to transform her 18th-century Paris apartment. She compared his concept to an “haute couture little black dress. You add the accessories and make it personal.” The living room was furnished with elegantly comfortable seating and decorated with objects ranging from a black lacquered Chinese scholar’s table to an antique Swedish clock to an embroidered silk wall hanging reputedly made for Versailles.

The top three floors of a 1930s Chicago skyscraper were transformed into a stylish cosmopolitan pad by designer Alessandra Branca. In the apartment’s living area, she upholstered the bergères in Claremont damask and the Regency-style sofas in a Clarence House fabric.

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