How to Decorate Living Room Spaces in an Instant

The living room is where you probably spend the most time kicking back and entertaining guests, so it’s always important to come in with a plan before you decorate living room spaces or rethink your setup to ensure that it feels as unified and inviting as possible.

On AD’s first episode of “Re:Design”—a series where designers take turns putting their spin on real spaces that desperately need a refresh—we focused on a some unfocused living rooms. We enlisted the help of New York–based interior architect Darren Jett, who knows a thing or two about punchy living spaces. As he previously told AD on a tour of his splashy Brooklyn apartment, “I don’t want to create just a beautiful space, I want it to be a space that transports you. It’s really doable for any budget or scale. You just have to have an imagination and a willingness to go there.”

Jett notes that the living rooms in question have one common thread: Each is a white-walled space that features incoherent furniture arrangements and varying degrees of clutter. Unlike projects he’s worked on where there’s an actual blank slate of a room in need of furnishings and character, he explains, there is a lot of life happening in these rooms, but not a clear sense of direction. His goal was to figure out how to make each room operate better within a tight budget.

One of the most important things he considered when reimagining each room was: What’s not working from a functional standpoint and where can we improve upon aesthetics according to each individual and their needs? For one bachelor with a cluttered living space, he thought of *American Psycho–*esque interiors with chromed-out ’70s finishes, while he prescribed storage and sofa slipcovers to ground another living room that had become dominated by kids’ toys. For another imposing space with high ceilings and dramatic fixtures, he suggests heightening the cozy factor with a darker, warmer color on the walls.

“With every project, big or small, no matter what the budget is, we have to understand who the person is and [add] a little bit of psychology behind who they are and what they’re into.”

Following a brief from a handful of different homeowners, he offers tips on furnishings and paint and maps out new design schemes for each of their living rooms. Minor touches like lighting, curtains, a fresh coat of paint, and a few key pieces of new furniture can transform even the most lackluster living room, as you’ll find out. See how Jett takes the wheel on reimagining five different living rooms with simple upgrades that anyone can implement when dreaming up how to decorate on their own.

1. Carve out a bar space, if you plan to entertain

A cocktail nook can upgrade any space.

Photos: Jack Belisle

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