It can be intimidating to decorate a new apartment. And it can be even harder to redecorate one that you’ve already lived in for a while. But if you run across another space that you like and use it as inspiration, it can make your own redecorating process infinitely easier. You don’t necessarily have to copy the room exactly to achieve a similar feel – the key is to recognize the most noticeable elements in the space and to find comparable pieces that can be adapted to fit your own lifestyle. Here’s a roundup of unique living rooms that you can easily reinvent in your own space.
1. Simple Contrast
This could be the easiest style to recreate in your own apartment. Buy only black or white furniture and accents, and then punctuate the space with a couple of large houseplants to infuse a bit of life into the room (otherwise, you run the risk of it feeling stark). If you already have quite a bit of furniture that doesn’t match this color scheme, consider painting it either black or white. This high-contrast look is an easy, no-fail way to give your space visual impact.
Here, the memorable parts are the bright red accents. While everything else remains neutral, the pops of color act as focal points in the space. Buy a couple of brightly colored pieces of furniture, then pick a paint color that matches and repaint one wall. If committing to bright red furniture isn’t appealing, try buying red throw pillows and a red rug instead.
3. Designed Organization
Have a bike? Mount it on the wall so it can double as both décor and transportation. It is sure to be a conversation starter. The other important component in this room is the organization; although the magazines are sitting on the floor, they are piled neatly so they feel intentional. You can do this in your own apartment too – place items in specific places, making them seem like they belong there. For example, place one pile of books horizontally on your coffee table, with another pile oriented vertically. Then put an interesting object or vase on top of the shorter pile.
4. Functional Focal Point
Here, the leather couch is the focal point. It has a plain, mid-century modern sensibility, setting it apart from those bulky, overstuffed leather sofas that are inexplicably popular lately. Interestingly, the art is placed off-center above it to draw attention. Try applying these ideas in your own space by purchasing a distinctive style sofa and pairing it with a large, off-center photograph or piece of art. And don’t forget the rug… it’s one of the easiest ways to make a room feel “finished.”
5. Don't Be Afraid of More
This is actually a showroom, but it has an incredible vibrancy. There is nothing understated about this one. If you’d like to model your living room after this, keep in mind that “more is more.” Buy a bright, patterned ottoman along with a rug that has a similar appearance. Then create a set of large playing card prints using this super simple tutorial. You’ll notice that they’ve stuck to red and blue as their main accent colors, and this is a good rule of thumb for your space too – pick no more than two or three accent colors.
6. Mixed Materials
This sofa is similar to the one in we discussed in room #4, but the rest of the room has a completely different flavor. If you’re going for this look, be sure to find a hide-style rug and a clear lucite or glass coffee table. Then you’ll be well on your way to recreating this one. And because it has a vintage mood, be sure to put an old school piece of art on the wall – consider scanning and enlarging an old black and white family photograph so it has some personal value.
7. Travel Bug
The map is clearly the emphasis in this living room. Buy a large map online (or make your own) and hang it behind your couch for instant charm. And you never know, that map could come in handy one day! The trunk is the other interesting component. These antique trunks are actually pretty easy to find – check your local Craigslist ads, or buy one new. The Chesterfield sofa is another conspicuous piece in the room, but these can cost a pretty penny – so if you have a small budget, opt for a cheaper version in the same light brown leather color.
8. No Need to Be Neutral
Neon is a super easy way to create an unforgettable living room. Here, part of the effectiveness is the color combination. So if you’re not great at picking color schemes, stick with this one – neon yellow, orange-red and turquoise. If your landlord will allow it, paint a wide turquoise stripe across one wall and buy a crazy piece of fluorescent furniture. Or alternatively, spray paint an existing piece if you don’t want to spend an arm and a leg.
9. Re-balancing Act
With a more subtle piece of art, the couch or rug might be the focal point, but the skull art is the showstopper in this living room. Grab a print online… Zazzle.com has a ton of options. You’ll want to paint the room blue, too… and then you can probably use your existing furniture to achieve the same effect as long as it’s fairly neutral. Or if you’re starting from scratch, be sure to buy pieces that are subtle – earthy browns and grays will do the trick. The juxtaposition of subtly and class with the bleak art print creates a contemporary feel.
10. All on One End
And we’ve come full circle, back to black and white. But in this room, arrangement is important – if you look closely, most of the elements on the far wall are dark, while the majority of the pieces in the foreground are light instead of intermixing the items as in some of the other examples. If this is the look you’re going for, buy a black sofa and then paint the wall behind it black. A faux fur throw will be the perfect accent. Then keep the rest of the room neutral, focusing on white as the main hue.
Hopefully these distinctive living rooms have inspired you to spend a bit of time rethinking your own space. As you can see, if you break each room down into individual elements, it makes it easier to determine which pieces are essential to include when you’re recreating the look in your own apartment.