Style, light, zoning: how to properly equip a living room in 2023

The minimalism team talks about the basic rules and mistakes in arranging a room for relaxing and receiving guests.

The living room is a space for the whole family to relax, and not just a place for receiving friends. Here they dine, work, read books, and watch movies. To create a welcoming environment for any activity, you need to take into account many design nuances.

We tell you how to equip a cozy and stylish living room.

Table of Contents


    Living room design can be done in a variety of styles. The most common are classic, modern, Scandinavian, minimalism, country, and Provence.

    Living room design in classic style

    “In the interior of a living room, the type of furniture, decor, details, and overall color scheme is important. Often, a person may like elements from completely different styles – for example, classic decor and modern furniture. In such cases, there is a risk of making the interior absurd, even though today few people follow exclusively one style in design,” said Anna, architect-designer, and co-founder of the MA SPACE studio.

    High-tech living room design

    There are styles that combine with each other, visually similar. For example, modern, Scandinavian, and minimalism. “Our customers prefer modern style in living room design or Provence style. The first one is multifunctional, universal, and practical. It is characterized by color contrasts, and the principle of “nothing more” applies. For Provence, details that are usually characteristic of country houses play a key role. Due to them, the overall comfort and “warmth” of the space is created, ”summed up Anna.

    Minimalist living room design



    Zoning plays one of the most important roles in the design of the living room. “You can separate the zones with glass sliding partitions or low pieces of furniture so as not to overload or reduce the space. Furniture should not be dark in color. Bright colors are acceptable – for example, for the children’s area, but only if they support the overall range of the living room and do not hurt the eyes, – said Anna.

    “You can create a themed living room with places of interest – for board games, a musical group (piano is better than a piano) with a place for singing; large table for activities with children and work. In a separate area, you can place a fireplace group with firewood around. The dining area will be decorated with a transparent glass cabinet with porcelain and faience,” advised Irina, interior designer, and board member of the Association of Interior Designers and Decorators (ADDI).


    Background lighting

    The living room is the perfect place to watch movies and TV shows in the evening. “With the help of a background lighting system that synchronizes with music or the image on the TV so that the viewer is completely immersed in what is happening on the screen, you can enhance the experience of your favorite films,” said Natalia.

    Local lighting

    We all love to read while sitting comfortably on the sofa, so the recreation area should be equipped with local lighting. “Floor lamps are suitable for this, as well as table or portable lamps that do not require connection to an outlet – thanks to the built-in battery, they can be placed anywhere in the room. By the way, the presence of a variety of lighting effects will allow you to choose the right shade for your mood,” Natalia.

    LED Strip Light

    An excellent lighting design tool is also an LED strip, which can be used to emphasize the graphic character of individual elements of the living room. It can be placed along the contour of the ceiling, along the shelves with books or around the TV, creating the effect of floating in the air, advises an expert from Signify. According to Neverska, so that your original living room design details do not go unnoticed, you should use the accent lighting technique.


    Easy chair

    Soft chairs are a fundamental part of the interior, they look good as a pair, side by side, at an angle or straight, it’s good to place a small coffee table between the chairs – it’s convenient to put a glass or a mug on it, said Sergey Peter, head of Design Bureau No. 1. According to him, the chair should be as comfortable, cozy and spacious as possible. In the living room, armchairs with a tilted back or even with a recliner look great – a footrest leaving from under the bottom, which makes the chair a couch, the designer believes.

    Hard chair with straight back

    Older people, and guests with musculoskeletal problems love hard chairs because they are easier to get up from. “Yes, and often you need to sit down for a short time – not to fall into a chair, but to sit up straight. In addition, the suit is less wrinkled on hard chairs. Such armchairs bring great variety to the interior,” Peter explained.


    Probably the most influential and significant element of the living room interior is the sofa. “Do not be stingy, carefully choose soft filling and upholstery, and try to sit on it when choosing,” advises Peter. “The sofa should give you incredible pleasure and comfort, wrap you up and look perfect.”

    Small sofa, canape

    A small sofa has an aesthetic function. It brings even more variety and layering to the interior of the living room creating additional comfort, the head of Design Bureau No. 1 believes. According to him, this is a good way to fill the voids of a large living room.


    Stools, banquettes, and armchairs are good to use in pairs near a sofa or coffee table, Peter noted. According to him, you can put them under a table, a console, or a shelf on the wall. Banquets are easily used as tables, they are mobile, multifunctional, and perfect for a party.

    Spare chair

    A spare chair, as a rule, is waiting in the wings to the side of the main furniture or in the back of the living room. “The main thing in it is its light weight and ease of movement. Such chairs are needed when suddenly a lot of guests come to you, and you do not want your dining group to look like a densely stocked collection of chairs every day. Spare chairs can often be in the image as an interesting object or artifact – that is, even provocative and contrasting, ”concluded Peter.


    Illiterate zoning

    Incorrect zoning is one of the most common mistakes in living room design. When it is inevitable to fit an office or a nursery into the living room, it is important not to block the passages and not allow “transit” zones, said Anna from the MA SPACE studio. According to her, the areas – recreation, kitchen, work, and children’s room – need to be isolated, but there should be a direct connection between them.

    TV against the light source

    A common mistake is placing the TV screen in front of a window or against the light. “You need to place it perpendicular to the window to avoid glare. For example, it is placed along the long wall of the living room, opposite the sofa. In the combined kitchen living room, you can provide a monitor with a swivel screen so that it can be viewed from the kitchen. In rooms with elongated proportions, we sometimes recommend placing a cabinet with a TV in the middle of the room, thereby zoning the “long” space,” Anna specified.

    However, in this case, you need to think about the direction of people’s movement, so as not to block it, the designer emphasized. According to her, one-room apartments and studios are pretty popular today, so the issue of proper space zoning is important.

    Wrong climate

    Another global mistake in the design of the living room is the incompatibility of interior design with the climate, Peter is convinced. “In cold climates, for example in our latitude, wood, wool, velvet, and suede have historically been used. In a warm climate, for example, in Sochi, wicker furniture, stone flooring, and cotton look more appropriate,” the designer believes.

    Monotonous furniture

    The mistake that most living room interiors have is the lack of variety of seating furniture and its dull arrangement, Peter clarified. According to him, upholstered furniture, chairs, banquettes and a bar area should be selected and arranged in such a way as to contribute to the maximum and varied pastime – from intimate conversations to lively conversations at a noisy party.

    “The secret is to have furniture with different ergonomic properties and functions in the interior, it is not necessary to give the interior an ideal, fundamental and finished look, which brings cloying, stiffness and suppresses motivation for spontaneity and dynamic communication. It is hardly possible to call an interior a good one, where your guests, instead of sitting down or sitting comfortably for a conversation with a new acquaintance, feel awkward, not daring to move a chair to the sofa, being afraid to disturb the perfectly adjusted composition of the dining group,” the designer summed up.

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