20 Totally Not Boring Living Rooms That Have Mastered the Art of Subtle Styling


I’m saying it: rooms do not need to be stuffed to the brim with a styled vignette in every corner to be considered beautiful nor interesting. In fact, sometimes, the quiet, subtle rooms can be far more interesting because restraint is hard people! Getting a simple room just right is the difference between a space looking barren and manicured (and it can go either way, fast). The 20 living rooms that follow are uncluttered (but not boring!), and are sure to get the inspiration flowing for your next home project.

Above: There is nothing boring in this space designed by LA-based firm Amber Interiors. Though seemingly simple, the space is full of intrigue thanks to an overload of textures—everything from earthy leather and faux fur to nubby linen and live-edge wood.

Designer Eileen Kathryn Boyd is known for her more-is-more approach when it comes to color, but in this minimal space she played with subtlety and shape instead of a harmony of hues. The slight curve of the sofa and the sophisticated palette leave little else to want.

Form and structure were the guiding principles in this neutral home assembled by designer Jessica Helgerson. Her clever implementation of circles throughout the room keep the eye in constant movement while the complementary textures beg to be touched.

The contrast game is on point in this home designed by Brian Paquette. The richly tactile brick wall sets the stage for its softer counterparts like the plush sofa, soft wood coffee table and brushed brass accents, proving that a simple room can also feel quite layered and lively.

The guys of Consort opted to keep a low-profile when fashioning this minimal living room. By keeping the various seating heights at about the same eye level, the space is inviting and sight lines are open. A single oversize mirror is the only wall decor needed.

Here’s a way to make a white-walled room look far more purposeful: paint the moldings and any other architectural detail (like the fireplace in this room by Studio DB) a light gray to create just enough contrast to keep things interesting (and echo those color choices throughout the selected furnishings and decor). With just two simple hues, this design team made quite an impact.

At first glance, this living room by Studio Lifestyle (who designed the home for actress Hilary Duff) doesn’t necessarily come off as “minimal” but look again, and you’ll see that there isn’t actually much going on in here. With just a few key furnishings and lighting, you can create quite the design story with minimal fluff.

When it came to creating this living space, designer Ashley Darryl kept it simple, but punched it up with thought-provoking art and a bit of color blocking. The white shell of the space provided the perfect stage for that killer blue velvet sofa and black, green and blue books create their own statement on the adjacent shelving unit.

Sometimes, a tone-on-tone room can be even more interesting than a space with a million things going on, like in this room designed by Brad Ford. His subtle neutral inflections keep your eye constantly engaged and primed for discovery.

For a space that has minimal colors, there’s so much to discuss! New York designer Sasha Bikoff brilliantly weaved a cool, almost icy palette that is still pretty inviting and filled with endless texture and sculptural wonders.

When you’ve got a view like this, who needs more than a place to sit and take it all in? San Francisco designer Nicole Hollis clearly agrees, as she kept this room simple and unstuffy to let the vistas do the heavy aesthetic lifting.

While you might be thinking “wait, this room isn’t remotely minimal” (and you’re not totally wrong here), there is a lesson to be learned from Greer Interior Design for a minimal space: all you really need is one element to take a room from subtle to daring. Strip away the gold leaf wall treatment, and you’re left with a darling sunroom.

Structure was the name of the game in this Scandi-style living room space designed by South Florida firm Olivia O’Bryan (featured in Luxe Interiors + Design Palm Beach). The right angles on the sofa and arm chairs are perfectly in line with the linear architecture and then the tufted bench is thrown in for fun, movement and contrast.

Leg game = strong! This streamlined space designed by Austin’s Claire Zinnecker is all about the rise of the legs, leaving everything sitting upright but feeling relaxed in the bleached wood.

Bennett Leifer shows off how cool it is to be square in this gorgeous Manhattan living room where angles are anything but boring. A touch of polished brass lends a cool ’70s vibe to the otherwise monochrome space.

Pared down but perfect: Designer Benjamin Vandiver prove that it’s not the amount of stuff in a room, but the quality of pieces that make an impact.

Tone on tone on tone was the course of action taken by the interiors team M. Elle to assemble this tranquil space. While full of a healthy helping of decor, the one-note palette keeps things simple on the eyes.

The serene Utrecht apartment of Sarah and San is quit sparse, and maybe the most minimal of all the rooms in this list, but somehow—thanks to some greenery and textiles—it still feels warm and inviting.

Tilted, slanted, swivel and swinging—movement was the driving force in this Jenny Norris designed space.

What else does a living room really need, aside from a pair of oversize sofas to sink into at the end of a long day? According to this killer space designed by Leanne Ford, not much!

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