7 Living Rooms That Set the Tone for How We're Decorating Our Homes This Year

From bold new approaches to color to furniture mixes that embrace the eclectic, these living rooms are defining the mood for 2024

Living room with grey nature scene mural, grey sofa, yellow armchair, neon zig-zag wall light and neon and grey footrest
(Image credit: Joshua McHugh. Design by Frampton Co)

If you want to discern the mood of an interiors scheme, the living room is the first place you should look. As one of the rooms people are likely to spend the most time in (except the kitchen), they're often the best reflection of an owner's tastes – as well as that of their designer.

As such, this means that designers often throw everything they have at a living room, using them to introduce key color palettes or celebrate trending pieces (daybeds, anyone?) – and in the process, these design-forward living room ideas act as a waypost for the way we'll be decorating.

Without further ado, here are 7 living rooms by designers that set the tone for the year ahead.

1. A living room with a grown-up approach to primary colors

Living room with ochre-green sofa, white walls, jute rug and cobalt blue artwork with round wood coffee table

(Image credit: Laure Joliet. Design by Electric Bowery)

We're seeing a definite swing away from neutral schemes towards a way of decorating that's more about celebrating color. That's not to say we're over neutrals – more that we're looking for new and interesting ways to use them with other colors, textures and materials for spaces that feel more layered.

It's something California design studio Electric Bowery have nailed in their recent Los Angeles project, where a neutral backdrop paves the way for individual furniture pieces to shine. 'Balancing the natural tones of the architectural framework with the more vibrant highlights in the furniture creates a palette reminiscent of the Spanish countryside,' explains principal designer Lucia Bartholomew.

The velvet sofa is a clever point of difference here, too. 'The material adds an unexpected touch, making the couch a focal point of the space while the soft curves and earth tones add an organic element that ensures a cohesive look amongst the rest of the living room furniture,' Lucia adds.

2. A space that embraces the eclectic mix

Living room with warm white walls, wood floor and wooden furniture with accents of white boucle

(Image credit: S.E.N Creative. Design by Michael Hilal)

It's been years since matchy-matchy living room furniture was on trend, but designers are tired of one-note schemes – think spaces with all curved pieces and no points of difference. Instead, it's time to embrace the idea of the eclectic mix – an edit of furniture and other items that don't conform to one style or time period.

'I always balance more standard shapes with more interesting shapes,' says California interior designer Michael Hilal, who created the scheme above. 'It becomes a little jokey when, for example, every piece of furniture is a sculptural piece – it almost diminishes the value of them. If I had some beautiful seventies pieces, more of my other seating would be a standard format, because I want those pieces to sing more than the others.'

3. A scheme that makes the case for bold wallpaper

Living room with palm patterned wallpaper, brass sconces, blue velvet curved sofa and black glass coffee table

(Image credit: Frazier Springfield. Design by Chinotto House)

2024 is the year of big, bold wallpaper, from murals to large-scale pattern – and there's no better way to use this than in a living room. This scheme by Florida studio Chinotto House demonstrates just how well it works in a relaxing scheme.

'The idea behind this beautiful Pierre Frey wallpaper was to have a tropical-inspired pattern because our clients were from Key West and wanted a little bit of that vibe in their home,' explain the studio's founders, Chelsey Cox and Rachel Rector. 'The boldness of it works because this lounge is a smaller area of the home and a pass through connecting spaces. Because we've used this in a measured way, it's just enough to be impactful without being overwhelming.'

In this case, the wallpaper was the starting point for the rest of the scheme. 'We fell in love with the wallpaper in the initial design stage and then worked to find furniture that worked cohesively with it. 'We always tell our clients, find the thing you love most first – it could be a couch, a paint color, a vintage rug – and calibrate the design from there.'

4. A color palette that encourages a bold, playful approach

Living room with limewashed green-beige walls, electric blue sofa, white and red checked armchair and coffee table with button legs

(Image credit: Yoshihiro Makino. Design by Jamie Bush)

Here's another example of the move towards colorful living rooms – Los Angeles practice Jamie Bush + Co introduced a vibrant palette into this scheme. The space feels moody and cocooning, despite the electric blue sofa, because the backdrop is soft and muted – a textured ceiling carries the beige of the walls over the top of the space, and a subdued deep blue carpet grounds the space.

'The space is located in the bottom floor of the home, which is made of board-formed concrete on the exterior,' explains founder Jamie Bush. 'We decided to expose this finish on the interior [and] reinforce the cocoon-like feeling by plastering the ceilings in the same gray-colored plaster.

'Now that we had a darker, serious vibe, we wanted continue the spirit of the home with strong doses of intense primary color. The key is to use it in mass so it feels as important and impactful as the concrete. By implementing color into your home in a bold architectural way, it becomes playful yet feels significant – a big idea. I call it "serious play".

5. A space that revels in the unexpected

Living room with grey nature scene mural, grey sofa, yellow armchair, neon zig-zag wall light and neon and grey footrest

(Image credit: Joshua McHugh. Design by Frampton Co)

There might be a shift away from cool gray right now, but this living room makes the case for using it as a backdrop for vibrant, futuristic pieces – to create a space that feels high-end and ahead of the curve. 'My interest lies in creating beauty through layers of contrast and an element of the unexpected, a sort of surprising tension,' says Elena Frampton, principal of Frampton Co, based in NYC and the Hamptons. 'By placing playful, vibrant works of art and design against a classically inspired wall mural with a contemporary flavor [by artist Caroline Lizarraga], we maintained youthful energy and excitement within the subtle, sophisticated scheme.'

This room also embraces a curatorial approach to interiors that designers are using to create far more personal spaces. 'Each furniture element is a work of design that, placed together, forms my unique composition for our client,' Elena explains. 'For this room, layering warmer hues [of] red and yellow was essential to balance with the strong gray envelope. We arrived at the purple chair last – it just felt right!'

6. A scheme that's all about the pattern mix

Living room with magnolia walls, marble fireplace, grey sofa and blue patterned armchairs

(Image credit: Nicole Franzen. Design by Studio Plow)

No matter your style preferences, there's always a way to bring pattern into your living room scheme – and right now, it's all about mixing different patterns in a subtle way. This scheme by Bay Area practice Studio Plow is a masterclass in doing just that, bringing print in overtly – with the armchairs – and covertly, with the textured rug and marble fireplace.

'I often thought of the spaces in this home like I would a capsule wardrobe,' explains the studio's founder, Brit Epperson. 'We built the base out of neutral textures and classic lines, then adorned that with color, texture, and pattern. This room is a perfect example of that strategy.'

What also helps bed this pattern mix in is the range of textures used in the space. 'Color is so often the obvious choice for creating contrast and interest; however, texture can be a very powerful medium to work with,' Brit adds. 'We're always searching for that balance of new, old, and collected that bring a sense of warmth and history to a home or space.'

7. A lounge that celebrates the joy of yellow hues

Living room with dark ochre sofa with skirt and yellow rug

(Image credit: Shade Degges. Design by Studio Montemayor)

So many of the designers we've spoken to recently have waxed lyrical about the power of yellow – and as this scheme by San Francisco-based Studio Montemayor shows, this sunshine hue is perfectly suited to living rooms.

Taking a tonal approach, the brighter shade of the coffee table is tempered by a deep, almost amber sofa and a natural rug that picks up the shade too. Will we be seeing more yellow living room schemes this year? If they look as good as this, let's hope so.

Ellen Finch
Deputy editor (print)

Ellen is deputy editor of Livingetc magazine. She cut her teeth working for sister publication Real Homes, starting as features editor before becoming deputy editor. There, she enjoyed taking a peek inside beautiful homes and discovered a love for design and architecture that eventually led her here. She has also written for other titles including Homes & Gardens and Gardeningetc. For her flat in a converted Victorian property, she takes inspiration from the works of some of her favourite architects and tastemakers. She has a particular passion for green design and enjoys shopping small, local and second-hand where she can.