How To Decorate A Living Room With 5 Simple Things

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Knowing how to decorate a living room with simple things can save you a lot of time and energy.

The living room tends to be the area of the home that is the most decorated.  And this makes good sense.

Because the living room hosts many functions, is a high-traffic area and is also a place where we entertain guests, it is often the showpiece of a home.

Luckily, you don’t have to have a lot of things or have spent years curating items to make a living room look beautiful.

In fact, you can decorate a living room with five very simple items that you can find just about anywhere.

In this post, we’ll talk about exactly what those five items are, how to use them, and where to find them when you’re decorating on a budget.

How To Decorate a Living Room With Simple Things

How To Decorate a Living Room With Simple Things

1. Area Rugs

The first thing you’ll want to seek out when decorating your living room is an area rug.

I recommend using an area rug whether even if your living room already has wall-to-wall carpeting.  The area rug helps define a space around which you can arrange your furniture.

By adding an area rug to this space you are intentionally creating a zone within which you intend to have certain activities.

Depending upon the size of your living room, you may have multiple zones.

An area rug is also the starting point for your furniture arrangement.

Beyond informing the flow and movement within your space, an area rug is a prime opportunity to showcase your style.

With it, you can reinforce your color palette, feature any print or pattern under the sun, and layer texture into your space.

If you’re decorating on a budget and shopping online the first places I would look to purchase an area rug are and

However, if you’re shopping in person you’ll find the best deals at stores like HomeGoods, Target, or Marshalls.

I would be remiss not to mention that the most important part of decorating with an area rug.  That is to make sure it is sized properly.

An area rug that is too small for your space will do more harm than good in terms of aesthetics.

Check out the post “Are Area Rugs Necessary?” for more detailed information on rug sizes and furniture arrangements around rugs.

area rugs

2. Plants

The next simple item that you can use to decorate your living room is plants.  Whether they be real or artificial, plants are extremely versatile when it comes to decor.

They come in all different shapes, sizes, and types.  This makes them an ideal decorative accent to bring life to your space.

You can choose large artificial trees, small potted plants, succulents, herbs, you name it. 

Use this to your advantage by opting to decorate your living room with this very simple item.  There is a plant, flower, that will work in any area of your home.

While the plants alone will make a statement by their organic shape, structure, leaf patterns, and colors; you can increase their effect on your space by being intentional about your container selection.

Ceramic pottery, macrame hanging planters, woven baskets, and fabric baskets are all great options to house indoor plants.

The type you choose will of course be determined by whether or not your plants are real.  Woven baskets and containers without drain holes are not appropriate for real plants.

Personally, I opt for faux plants in my home.  The upkeep is so much simpler, and the arrangement always looks nice.  There are no seasonal or temperature considerations to be concerned about when you go for faux.

That being said, artificial plants are more of an investment for the long-term.

I recently acquired an artificial eucalyptus plant* and some tea rose stems from Birch Lane*.  They’re some of the highest quality artificial plants I’ve ever seen.  Faux plants like these are well worth the investment, in my opinion.

Alternatively, if you’re decorating on a budget, go ahead and plant from seeds.  It will only cost you a few dollars.

Or, purchase a small potted plant from a garden center, Home Depot, Walmart, or Lowe’s inexpensively as well.

artificial plants

3. Books

Books are a fantastic interior decorating element for the living room or any space really.  Not only do they bring color into your space, but they also give you the ability to create dimensions on a tabletop or shelf display.

Stacking books 3 or 5 high can create a lovely elevated platform on which other home accessories can be placed.

Alternatively, books can be displayed open or upright with an easel.

What makes books such a simple thing to decorate your living room with is the fact that you don’t have to limit yourself.  You can choose any shape, style, or topic you like.

And best of all, books are everywhere.  Especially now that we’ve firmly stepped into the digital world.  Physical books are literally overflowing in second-hand and thrift shops.

About Book Selection

The types of books that you choose to use in your decor mostly depend on how you intend to display them.

If you want something for your guests or your family to flip through them while they’re sitting around, go for something with big, bold, beautiful pictures.

Remember, they don’t have to be traditional coffee table books or ones about interior design.

They can be cookbooks, travel books, or an artist’s portfolio.  Books about animals are also really great because they tend to have incredible, oversized photographs.

If you want to use books simply as a way to create different elevations on a tabletop then it really doesn’t matter which books you choose.

Yet another option is to curate books that go with the color scheme of your room.

You can do this by purchasing them individually, painting books, or even buying decorative book sets on places like Etsy or Amazon.

decorate with books

4. Wall Art

Wall art is a simple thing that you can use to bring a lot of style and interest to your living room.

Of course like the other suggestions above there are a lot of different types and styles of wall art.

In addition to canvas wall art, there are also watercolor prints, metal wall art, photography, and other types of wall decor that you can use to style a living room wall.  Basket walls are also very popular right now.

An important part of styling your living room is to create a focal point.  If your home doesn’t have one built-in like a fireplace or a wall of built-in shelving, using wall art is a fantastic way to go.

Just like area rugs, the patterns, styles, and colors that you choose to display on your walls are a perfect opportunity to help create a cohesive look in your space.

decorate a living room with canvas wall art
Source: – ‘Liquid Blueprint VI’ – Painting Print on Canvas

5. Pillows

Last but not least, a simple thing that you can use to decorate your living room is pillows.

Not only can pillows be placed on your furniture for added comfort, but they can also be used to fill large baskets for decoration.

Oversized floor pillows are great for extra seating and creating a relaxed, casual look in your living room.

Moreover, pillows are fantastic for layering different textures into your living room.  I have a whole post dedicated to decorative pillows and how you can use them in your home.

My favorite way to use pillows to decorate a living room is to switch out pillow covers from season to season.  You can them at many retailers online, but my favorite one-stop-shop for pillow covers is Amazon.

Over the years you will likely accumulate a lot of pillows.  Whether they be bed pillows or decorative cushions, you probably have plenty on hand already. 

In fact, you may not need to buy any at all to decorate your living room.  You can simply cover your existing pillows (especially those that may have come with the sofa) to give your space a fresh, new look.

In addition, you can recycle old bed pillows by cutting them down to size and then simply using decorative pillow covers to transform them into decorative cushions for your sofa and chairs.

decorate a living room with pillows

More Simple Items To Decorate a Living Room

Once you’ve integrated these top 5 simple things to decorate your living room, feel free to embellish your look further with additional decorative accents.

Things like vases, baskets, throw blankets, figurines, and decorative bowls make fantastic additions to bookshelves, coffee tables, and fireplace mantels.

Here are a few great examples below from Birch Lane.


Stay tuned for my upcoming living room refresh.  I’ll show you how I’ve integrated these 5 things into my space to decorate for a new season.

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