33 Inspiring Apartment Living Rooms To Jump Start Your Creative Juices


For many of us who live in apartments, the living room is where we most often relax, entertain and spend a lot of our decorating budget.  It's generally the first room we see when we enter our small space.  And so, the apartment living room reflects who we are, our personalities, our dreams, our creative side.  

This post is intended to inspire, to give seed to a decorating plan and then to create that dream living room.  I've categorized the living rooms under broad decorating schemes and the elements found in each.  The descriptions are not intended as rules.  In decorating, as far as I'm concerned, pay attention to an underlying decor scheme and build on that.

Many of the example living rooms are large to luxuriously large living rooms.  However, the basic design elements can easily be tailored downward to smaller living rooms.  Simply capture the key elements and include some accessories.  Perhaps you'll even discover your inner self in the process of planning and creating your beautiful apartment living room.

Characteristics of Beach/coastal style Living Rooms

  •  Light walls and furnishings; relaxed furnishings; natural fabrics, nubby fabrics; natural wood furnishings, such as distressed wood, wicker, and cane elements.
  • Accessories include nautical elements, flora, and fauna found on or near the coast.
  • In the northeast coastal area, you'll find beachy colors are darker and more intense.  Furniture is more refined, more traditional. And in northern California, you'll find more elements from the outdoors.  

Traditional and Transitional Style Apartment Living Rooms

  • Traditional decor elements display antiques and classical art.
  • Furniture placement and accessories rely heavily on symmetry.
  • Traditional decor style is about harmony and order. 
  • Transitional design style brings together traditional and contemporary elements but with a focus on relaxed comfort and soft elegance.

Contemporary Decor style in Living Rooms

From the article, Contemporary Style 101, contemporary style—

. . . encompasses a range of styles developed in the latter half of the 20th century. Pieces feature softened and rounded lines as opposed to the stark lines seen in modern design. Interiors contain neutral elements and bold color, and they focus on the basics of line, shape and form.
Calvin s Naturally Stylish DC Home.jpg
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The Glam Decor Style in Apartment Living Rooms


From the article Decorating advice:  Elements of Modern Glamour by interior designer, Ashlina Kaposta on her blog The Decorista, I gleaned these elements of glam in decors. 

Dramatic lighting. You will always see a stunning chandelier, glam sconces and probably more crystals than not. The lighting is the jewelry of the home after all.

  • Metallic accents are a must, it gives that "mirrored" look without overpowering the room with mirrors.
  • Soft lighting is achieved with candles.
  • Dramatic lighting is achieved with a beautiful chandelier and sconces, especially with crystal materials.
  • Texture is preferred over patterns.
  • No clutter but modern art is particularly desired.
  • Pile on the accent throw pillows.

The Eclectic and Shabby Chic Style Living Room

  • Furniture is old and worn.  Often heavily painted or has been distressed or glazed to appear old.  Faux finishes are sometimes applied to tables, chairs and other pieces.  Creative eyes repurpose a variety of nontraditional items such as old trucks used as coffee tables and short ladders as side tables. 
  • Fabrics are natural fibers such as linens and cotton, with linen being the most popular.  Solid colors are popular, as well as patterned fabrics such as floral and tick strips.
  • Colors are predominantly white in "pure whites, as well as ecru and worn or bleached." (Wikipedia)  Other colors include soft pastels from "duck-egg blue to watery greens, pale pinks, lemon yellow and cool grey."  (Kate Unsworth)    
  • Variants on shabby chic include cottage chic, beach cottage chic, French country and Gustavian (Swedish).

Great Resources to Learn More About Decorating Living Rooms

Want to learn more about the different decorating styles?  These articles will get you started.

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