Secret 1: Position Your Sofa

Your couch is often the largest piece of furniture in the living room, so having it in the right spot can make all the difference.

A good rule of thumb is to situate your couch so that it’s facing the door, whether it’s angled in a corner, floating or along a wall. If you’re forced to place it with its back to the entrance, add a console table behind the sofa with lamps or art books so it looks more inviting.

Secret 2: Create a Focal Point

Every living room needs an anchor or a place for your eye to rest, whether it’s a fireplace, beautiful artwork, a cool light fixture or a nice view. This will help ground the room and define its function.

If you don’t already have a natural focal point, you can create one by showing off your favorite item in the room. Draw attention to the farthest wall with an oversize piece of art or a decorative mirror. If it’s your family room, a flat-screen TV might take center stage. Or play up a statement sofa with bright pillows.

Secret 3: Get a Rockin’ Rug

A great room starts off with an eye-catching rug. Before investing in a nice one, first determine how you plan on using the room.

If you want a big, open area for gatherings and conversation, go with a large sisal that can handle foot traffic.

If you want a separate space for dining, place a rug in just that spot to create a natural boundary.

If you want people to feel comfy, choose a plush wool or shag rug, and toss floor pillows down to encourage a casual vibe.


Secret 4: Get in Balance

Balance the room from top to bottom as well so people’s eyes don’t stop at the sofa. Consider adding a mirror, ceiling pendant lighting, Chinese screens, wall art, tall plants and high-back chairs.

If there’s a large grouping of furniture at one end of the space, create a new seating area to stabilize it at the other end.

Secret 5: Soften Your Space

Your living room should feel inviting and like it’s “finished.” The last step is to add accessories.

Include a few cozy accessories, like oversize pillows, a soft blanket over the arm of a couch or a sheepskin throw. And luxe up your lighting too. Rather than one high-voltage ceiling lamp illuminating the entire room, use a combo of floor, table, ceiling and wall lamps to make the space glow.