Decorating your living room is a multi-step process that involves a lot of big decisions about everything from selecting paint or wallpaper to adding rugs and window treatments, deciding on the best furniture placement and layout, and choosing lighting. But interior designers and home makeover show enthusiasts alike know that it's the small details that make a space come to life.
Check out these 21 tips for styling your living room with accessories—everything from candles to dried flowers to textiles and decorative objects—that will elevate your decor and transform your living room into the most comfortable, inviting, beautiful and lived in room in the house.
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In this living room from interior designer Alvin Wayne, a palette of white and wood tones is given a boost by the addition of a tall tree that brings in a natural element, a bit of color, and a feel-good effect that never gets old. Choosing one large potted tree or plant instead of lots of small ones is easier to maintain and creates a bold visual impact. If your living room is light challenged or your thumb is less than green, there's no shame in considering a quality fake tree. Be sure to regularly dust or gently wipe leaves clean with a damp cloth to keep real and fake trees looking their best.
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Blogger Mandi Johnson from A Beautiful Mess lifted her neutral-toned living room with an amber blown glass vase on her live edge wood coffee table that catches the light and glows like the sun. Depending on your color preferences, you can also opt for a green glass Dame Jeanne or a cobalt blue vase.
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Dried Plants and Flowers
Along with the craze for houseplants, dried plants and flowers have become newly trendy in recent years. Dried flowers and plants like the popular pampas grass seen in this living room from interior designer and Emily Henderson Design contributor Velinda Hellen are inexpensive, low maintenance, more eco-friendly alternatives to living plants. Be sure to dust them regularly to keep them looking good, and recycle them properly when their time has come.
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Hanging lightweight and inexpensive woven baskets on the wall of a living room is an easy way to add interest and warmth without spending a lot of money or making the sometimes daunting commitment of buying a piece of framed art. In this casually chic living room from interior designer Ashley Peterson of The Lifestyled Home, a trio of baskets coordinates well with the wood tones, throw pillows, and leafy green fiddle-leaf fig tree.
Continue to 5 of 21 below.
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Coffee Table Books
Coffee table books are classic living room accessories for a reason. They are beautiful, escapist, and give you something to browse while you are relaxing on the couch, or a way to occupy guests waiting for their drinks. In this living room from interior designer and Emily Henderson Design contributor Ajai Guyot, a small stack of coffee table books matches the sepia tones of the living room design. But you can also use coffee table books to add a random dose of color to a neutral room.
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Candlelight has a primitive appeal that adds instant ambiance to the living room, whether you are partial to scented candles in glass jars, votive candles, hurricane lamp candles, LED flame pillar candles, or old school candlesticks with taper candles as seen in this retro-inspired living room design from Emily Henderson Design contributor Ryann Miller. When using LED candles, use rechargeable batteries to save money and prevent waste, and look for eco-friendly ingredients and natural scents when buying conventional candles.
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Textural Throw Pillows
A pile of fluffy Moroccan handira wedding blanket throw pillows makes this living room from interior designer Jenn Pablo of Jenn Pablo Studio more visually interesting, comfortable, and cozy. When choosing throw pillows, think about adding varying fabrics, patterns, and shapes to add texture to the room design.
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Stacked Mirrors and Framed Art
The living room mantel is an endless blank canvas that can be styled for the holidays or changed with the seasons. If you enjoy an effortlessly layered look, try stacking an assortment of framed art against a leaning mirror and add some greenery for good measure, like this design from interior designer Kate Marker of Kate Marker Interiors.Continue to 9 of 21 below.
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One of the coziest accessories you can add to the living room is a throw blanket. While one throw blanket can add softness to a couch or armchair, like the chunky knitted wool blanket seen in this living room from interior designer Emily Henderson of Emily Henderson Design, adding enough blankets for everyone in the house can look messy and cluttered. You can solve that problem by leaning a lightweight blanket ladder against the wall where you can store extra folded blankets when not in use. And in warm weather months, you can leave the ladder empty or use it as a place to store magazines or decorate it with LED fairy lights or dried flowers.
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Vintage Wall Sculpture
In this living room from interior designer Erin Williamson of Erin Williamson Design, a striking Curtis Jere wall sculpture adds retro charm that glows against the bright turquoise wall. You can source original vintage midcentury wall sculptures as well as more affordable reproductions online or with local shops that specialize in midcentury design.
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In this living room from interior designer Becca Casey of Becca Interiors, a glass cloche holds a luxurious Cire Trudon candle to keep dust at bay and scents under wraps until lit. But you can make anything look more elegant and special by placing it under a glass cloche, from dried flowers to figurines to a string of LED lights to Christmas ball decorations to any other tchotchkes that make your heart sing.
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The wall above the sofa is prized living room real estate that demands a statement piece. Hanging a colorful or textural wall hanging over the couch is an effortless way to add character to the living room, whether it's a trendy macrame or woven wall hanging, a vintage quilt, or a colorful fabric wall hanging like this one from interior designer Alvin Wayne.Continue to 13 of 21 below.
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It's no surprise that in an increasingly digital, virtual, tech-driven world, our interiors have become more focused on natural materials and sensual, organic forms that make us feel calm, grounded, and connected to nature. In this sophisticated but down-to-earth living room from interior designer Carol Estes, textured walls, leather, and wood tones create a soothing natural vibe. A polished wood stump occasional table adds a nod to nature that puts a smile on everyone's face and will never go out of style.
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A Colorful Throw
In a neutral room, color is an accessory that you can add in small, powerful doses in the guise of bold throw pillows or brightly colored throw blankets like this mustard number from interior designer Emily Henderson of Emily Henderson Design.
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In this living room from interior designer Kate Marker of Kate Marker Interiors, a hexagonal wood tray perched on the leather ottoman allows it to function as a coffee table and house small decorative objects that help dress the space while keeping it from looking too cluttered. Adding a variety of geometric shapes to your decor scheme adds dynamism and a graphic touch, seen here as well on a patterned throw pillow and diamond-patterned rug.
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Covered Storage Baskets
Interior designer Desiree Burns of Desiree Burns Interiors added woven covered storage baskets beneath a console table placed behind the sofa in this living room that functions as a divider in the open space. The baskets help fill the empty space while providing a place to store throw blankets, toys, or anything else that will help keep the living room clutter free. The natural tones of the baskets work with the neutral tones of the room.Continue to 17 of 21 below.
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In this living room from interior designer Erin Williamson of Erin Williamson Design, a sculptural chess set functions both as decor and as a practical leisure time activity waiting to happen.
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Accessories can be functional, beautiful, or just a bit of fun. In this living room from interior designer Kate Marker of Kate Marker Interiors, the coffee table is accessorized with books, flowers, natural elements like a wood tray and sea urchin, and finished off with a necklace made of wooden beads.
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Sometimes you don't know you need a life-size baby giraffe sculpture in your living room until you see it. In this whimsical midcentury-inspired living room from interior designer Erin Williamson of Erin Williamson Design, a baby giraffe statuette stands tall in a corner in front of glass doors, illustrating that the best living room accessory is the one that strikes your fancy or warms your heart. Don't be afraid to go big if it fits your budget and personality.
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Interior designer Alvin Wayne lit up a blank wall across from the main living room seating area in an NYC apartment with black paint, a sculptural love seat with rounded corners, a collection of plants, and a neon sign with an expansive message. Neon not your thing? Try a vintage advertising sign or an old French shop sign sourced online or brought back from a trip to Paris.Continue to 21 of 21 below.
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A Silent Message
Interior designer Tyler Karu of Tyler Karu Design + Interiors added personality and a silent message of peace to this living room end table vignette with a shiny gold-toned decorative object that perks up the space and demonstrates that there is nothing like an element of surprise to make your decor shine.