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  • Anna Neal

Creating a cohesive living room, without looking "matchy-matchy"

Melinda and Stephanie recently hosted an Instagram Live to show how to create a cohesive looking living room. In case you missed it, you can catch a replay of the discussion here. Gone are the days of purchasing a complete living room set with matching couches, chairs and accent pieces. Top-to-bottom matching is a very easy way to make your living room look boring and dated. Here are some of our tips to achieving that cohesive look:


Start with neutral base pieces

We recommend that you find a neutral sofa or sectional that is both functional and stylish. If you want to use a lighter upholstery, it's important that you pick a fabric that works with your lifestyle, so it's oftentimes worth the investment for higher quality performance fabrics. While we love to use white upholstered couches in our home staging projects, we realize that super light furniture is not always conducive to every day living. Darker upholstered furniture is also a great starting point for your living room, thinking grays and navy, but if you start with a darker base piece, make sure to incorporate lighter pieces, like the rug or accent furniture, so the room doesn't feel too heavy. Leather is also a great neutral option for your base pieces.

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Pick a primary accent color

It's tempting to want to bring in a handful of colors, but we recommend that you stick with one primary color to use more frequently throughout the room and use other complimentary colors sparingly. Quite often we use blue, more specifically navy, as our primary accent color in staging. Blue is classic, and can sometimes even pass as a neutral, and we like to use it because it compliments almost every color and is easily accessible.


Repeat primary color in art, accessories and soft goods

Pull your primary color into other areas of the living room design, like the art, accessories or soft goods. However, in order to avoid looking matchy-matchy, it's important to add the color strategically and to not go overboard. Perhaps pull in the primary color through the rug and a pair of throw pillows. Or add the pop of your primary color through your table lamps and also in your main piece of art.


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Add in natural pieces and some metal accents

Accent furniture and accessories are an easy avenue to pull in some contrast to your living room. In terms of accent furniture, we love to use brass or black coffee tables or interesting wood side tables or consoles. If you do incorporate metal pieces, we recommend that you only use 2-3 different metals and that they are used sparingly and compliment the design. Other ways to bring in different textures is through mirrors and decorative accessories, think wood dough bowls and metal sculptures.


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Add repetition like pairs of pillows, pairs of lamps, pairs of accent chairs

Not everything needs to come in a pair, but we like to use pairs of furniture and accents to create symmetry in the living room. A pair of side tables and lamps creates a really cohesive look next to the couch and using a pair of throw pillows, particularly in your primary accent color, gives a sense of balance.


To keep things fresh, swap out accessories and soft goods seasonally

It's easy to decorate your house once and then call it good, but we recommend that you swap out your small accessories and soft goods seasonally to keep your living room from looking stale. You don't need to completely pick new accent colors colors or make a dramatic change, but try using new textures and fabrics with each season. As an example, we use light cotton throw blankets in the spring and summer months, but swap them out for thicker, richer fabrics, like velvets and faux fur in the colder months.


Here are some examples of some beautiful living rooms. You'll notice that they each feel cohesive and coordinated, but still unique and interesting!