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25 Years of Beautiful Living Rooms

Settle in, get comfortable, and take a look at 25 of our favorite living rooms

Produced by Julianne Hilmes
  • Living rooms are high-traffic spaces. We strive to make them beautiful, comfortable, and livable. Many of us also need them to be kid-friendly and pet-friendly. For the past 25 years, we've been featuring living areas that beckon you to get comfortable on plush chairs and cozy couches. So have a seat and enjoy this look at 25 of our favorite living rooms. 

  • Jenifer Jordan

    Blue-and-Red Living Room

    October 1989

    In this 1925 Georgian home in Highland Park, Texas, a renovation led to a bigger kitchen, a new living space, and interiors updated to reflect a love of antiques. An enclosed porch was renovated to create this light-filled garden room, which overlooks a backyard pool and brick terrace. Comfortable traditional seating surrounds the lone contemporary element—a glass-topped coffee table. The Oriental rug inspired colors for the upholstered pieces.

    Written by Karen Muncy
    Interior design: Rebecca Hughes

  • Bob Hawks

    Spacious Ranch House Living Room

    August 1990

    This spacious, sunny Tulsa ranch home is the perfect setting for the homeowners’ diverse mix of European antiques and contemporary American Western art—especially the living room, with its soaring cathedral ceiling. A vivid oil painting by Fritz Scholder draws the eye to the classic 18th-century French stone fireplace mantel. Flanking the fireplace are 17th-century Spanish candleholders and lamps fashioned from Chinese wood figures. A cream custom-woven carpet and oversized sofas upholstered in a lush fabric add warmth and texture to the room. Twin sofas face the reproduction coffee table by Minton Spidell.

    Written by Camille Kraeplin
    Produced by Nancy Ingram
    Architect: David Easton & Associates
    Interior design: Jack Wagor

  • D. Randolph Foulds

    Sunny Seaside Living Room

    August 1991

    The interior colors of this Cape Cod Victorian were chosen to reflect the home's location—perched on a 60-foot cliff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Though furnished with traditional pieces, the living room is naturally suited for a relaxed way of life. English-style club chairs welcome all comers, as does the cushy settee. The floorcovering is inexpensive sisal matting, prettied up with a hand-painted motif. The blue and white cabana stripes on the walls look like wallpaper but are actually painted.

    Written by Pamela J. Wilson
    Produced by Estelle Bond Guralnick
    Design: Lynda Agger Levy

  • Mike Jensen

    Comfortable in Seattle

    May 1992

    Landscape designer Tom Bayley’s house is perched on a forested bluff north of Seattle, nestled among trees and flowers, with views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. The natural surroundings were essential to the design, both outside and in. Inside, nearly everything looks toward the water and the mountains. Old family photographs fill one wall of Tom’s library, books another. Floor-to-ceiling windows reveal the beauty outside.

    Written by Dan Weeks
    Produced by Trish Maharam

  • Mike Jensen

    Living Room with a Personal Touch

    September 1993

    A remodel of interior designer Doug Rasar’s 1950s house in Bellevue, Washington, merged the dining and living rooms into one gracious space, visually defined by double columns and pilasters. Doug himself designed several pieces, including a Russian Biedermeier-style chair made of poplar burl and ebony. Furnishings throughout the house are a delightful and unpredictable blend of antiques, estate pieces, and happy-chance finds. One of those finds is the circular table with silver star appliqués, which is placed between a pair of reproduction Louis XV fauteuil chairs in the living room. Doug personalized the backs of the fauteuils with panels of fabric he hand-painted.

    Written by Pamela J. Wilson
    Regional editor: Trish Maharam
    Design: Doug Rasar

  • Rick Taylor

    Kid-Friendly Living Room

    Holiday 1994

    While architect René Diaz adapted this clapboard house to the Arkansas countryside, the exuberant interior caters to the homeowners’ personal landscape—children, community, work, and play. A double sisal rug covers the living room floor, replacing a more formal needlepoint rug. The sofa and chairs in the living room went from silk to sailcloth canvas in three slightly different shades of white. Velvet-and-satin patchwork pillows brush against the canvas. The leaf-pattern ceiling and maize-colored wallpaper create a serene, sun-washed feeling.

    Written by Doris Athineos
    Regional editor: Nancy E. Ingram
    Architect: René Diaz
    Interior design: Georg Andersen

  • Jon Jensen

    Indoor-Outdoor Living Room

    May 1995

    The crisp, clear colors in the formal living room of this Los Angeles home balance the brightness of the sun-splashed garden outside and visually invite it in. A sisal rug warms underfoot. An antique chair is given space so its sculptural quality can be appreciated.

    Written by Sandra S. Saltzman
    Interior design: Barbara Barry

  • Gordon Beall

    Neutral Tones in a Historic Home

    September 1996

    “Tuxeden” is the nickname for this grand Washington, D.C., home built in 1912 by Harvard-educated lawyer and banker Walter Tuckerman. The homeowners asked interior designer Sue Burgess to help tame the historic manse. 

    Ecru-and-toast tones are warm and calm in this space. Burgess chose the neutral colors to accentuate the handsome proportions and to accommodate the homeowners' striped linen sofa and leopard-print rug. The neutral serenity in this room is a break from the intense color elsewhere. In the middle, a mirror-topped coffee table adds a touch of glamour.

    Written by Ivey Gunn
    Regional editor: Heather Lobdell
    Interior design: Sue Burgess

  • Jenifer Jordan

    Neutral Living Room

    May 1997

    In Chicago, interior designer David Smith transformed this 1860s boarding house into a highly livable and exceptionally stylish home for himself. David used a color scheme of earthy greens, khaki, cream, and brown consistently throughout the house. Though subtle, the palette provides rich visual diversity through an array of textures and finishes.

    What the narrow living room lacks in depth is gained in stature with custom-made bookcases and artwork stacked for vertical impact. The only pattern comes from a leopard rug David chose “because I never get tired of it, and it wears well.” To inject color into the serene natural scheme, the designer relies on fresh-cut flowers and book jackets.

    Written by Pamela J. Wilson
    Regional editors: Sally Mauer and Hilary Rose
    Interior design: David Smith

  • Jeff McNamara

    Eric Cohler’s Living Room

    May 1998

    Designer Eric Cohler stirred new life into his old maisonette by playing off contrasts. The living room succeeds at being both black and white and rich in color and contrasts: a Regency armchair and an old English side table, a contemporary painting by Larry Charles and a Barcelona table circa 1960. The largest space in the apartment, the living room has two sets of windows at one end, with three bookcases built around them. The bookcase cabinetry also creates a recessed area for the drapery rods. Black velvet hangs in front of the windows.

    Written by Elvin McDonald
    Regional editor: Bonnie Maharam
    Design: Eric Cohler

  • Jon Jensen

    Small, White Living Room

    May 1999

    Interior designer Mary Roberts worked magic in making her small Portland, Oregon, condo sing with exceptional style. Mary repainted the “disgusting” pink walls with a white with “the faintest touch of lichen.” She also replaced the pink carpet with wall-to-wall seagrass.

    Flecked with touches of green, the essentially all-white scheme is a perfect foil for dark antiques like the English mahogany corner cabinet. The sofa and chairs that furnish the small space were either upholstered or slipcovered in white for the sake of visual unity and space enhancement.

    Written by Pamela J. Wilson
    Regional editor: Barbara Mundall
    Interior design: Mary Roberts

  • Eric Roth

    Serene Gray Living Room

    March 2000

    In his light-filled waterfront condominium, designer Charles Spada surrounds himself with sunlight and serenity. Within the mostly monochromatic setting, there’s warmth and variety in the mix of textures, painted surfaces, natural wood tones, gilded accents, and occasional spots of color.

    Old and new coexist seamlessly in the living room, unified by a subtle palette of grays—Spada’s favorite color. The sofa is Spada’s version of an 18th-century Knole—high-backed with arms that adjust for lolling. A pair of 19th-century Italian gilded chairs done in gray linen sit across from the sofa. A star-shaped table base adds sparkle.  

    Written by Estelle Bond Guralnick
    Interior design: Charles spada

  • Eric Roth

    Blue-and-White Living Room

    November 2001

    Professional watercolorist Ginger Aborn needed to bring light into her family’s 1786 Colonial in Hingham, Massachusetts. She started by painting every room white. “White is my thing, because it expands and unifies space, so I decided to stay with it,” she says. “Blue, next to white, is my favorite color, so that, with touches of yellow, became my palette.”

    In the living room, fabrics unify old and new pieces of furniture. Ginger designed two different tray stands for the coffee tables—a classical one in mahogany for her mother’s silver tray, and a Turkish-style table painted white for an old Canton platter.

    Written by Estelle Bond Guralnick
    Design: Ginger Aborn

  • Jenifer Jordan

    Art-Inspired Living Room

    July 2002

    Symmetry organizes this suburban Chicago home. Pale celadon walls with white trim, tailored window treatments, and furniture pieces in simple, modern forms prevail throughout the house. Contemporary upholstered furniture offers a relaxing environment, enlivened by contemporary art and the warmth of antique accessories.

    Painted in shades of red, a 1980 abstract by Susanne Doremus pops against the pale living room wall. An Eames chair, positioned directly under the painting, is sculptural and contemporary in design. Together, the two contrast with the symmetry of the conversation area, with its facing sofas and the matching armchairs that share a carved, wooden table. Wool draperies are gathered on rod pockets for a finished, not fussy, look.

    Written by Linda Hallam
    Regional editor: Hilary Rose
    Interior design: Stephanie Wohlner

  • Gordon Beall

    Pretty Pink Living Room

    September 2003

    Pink is the favorite color of the owner of this Georgian-style brick house in Richmond, Virginia. But as interior designer Suellen Gregory explained, “she’s very particular about its shade. It has to be a blue-pink, and it can’t go to salmon or to raspberry.”

    The two striped silk fabrics that cover a chair and ottoman in the living room both fall into that prescribed tonal range, as do the mix of pillows on the sofa and the skirt on the end table. The silk-covered sofa is accented with pillows in miter-edged pink fabric. The antique trumeau’s large scale makes it the focal point.

    Written by Candace Ord Manroe
    Produced by Eileen Deymier
    Interior design: Suellen Gregory

  • Emily Minton-Redfield

    Colorful Craftsman

    September 2004

    Lana Sachsenmaier's artful renovation of her early-20th-century bungalow in Atlanta melds periods, warm colors, a well-conceived floor plan, and architectural detailing. Color enhances the architecture, while art gives every room a definitive character. The living room has a coffered ceiling, warm yellow walls, and a softly muted rug laid out on the hardwood floor. The painting above the fireplace is by Chris Bilton. To the left of the fireplace is an antique Chinese herb chest; the piece on the right is 18th-century English. The Le Corbusier sofas are a surprising touch.

    Written by Eliot Nusbaum
    Produced by Lynn McGill
    Interior design: Lana Sachsenmaier
    Architect: Jim Winer

  • Gordon Beall

    Sunny Florida Living Room

    October 2005

    In a bright, airy home in Boca Grande, Florida, a neutral background of creamy beige flows from room to room, while “sun-kissed colors” give each room its own personality. Seamless indoor-outdoor living is key in this oceanside destination.

    In the great room, a row of arched windows looks out over the water. Their graceful symmetry draws the eye to the view while capturing the spirit of the home's colonial Bermuda style. The great room is large enough to contain two seating groups. This one is anchored by a handsome fireplace topped with an arched mirror that echoes the shape and scale of the windows.

    Written by Eliot Nusbaum
    Produced by Sally Mauer
    Interior design: Susan Kroeger
    Architect: A. Jeffrey Harrell

  • Tim Street-Porter

    Warm, Welcoming Living Room

    March 2006

    A rug was the first thing that the owner of this 1914 home in L.A.’s Hancock Park area bought after she purchased the property. That rug now grounds the living room and dictated the room’s design. “We started furnishing around its pastel colors,” designer Annie Kelly said, “gravitating to a large shapely Barbara Barry sofa and chairs.”

    Arts and Crafts pottery accentuates the green tint in the room’s yellow walls. An Empire chair in the corner mixes with new furnishings. A sconce original to the house was replicated to create a symmetrical pair.

    Written by Candace Ord Manroe
    Produced by Darra Baker
    Architect: Fran Offenhauser 
    Interior design: Annie Kelly

  • Gordon Beall

    Comfortable, Elegant Living Room

    March 2007

    Having worked with the owner on two previous homes, Detroit-area designer Joseph Keenan had a good sense of what his client wanted for the remodel of this 1922 home: durability and a sense of warmth. Keenan used contrasts of color, tone, texture, and form to fashion an elegant but comfortable home. The living room, with cream walls and ivory textiles, gains substance from the dark wood of the furniture. Contrasts continue with the sturdy brocade of twin armchairs played against the delicate fabric of the draperies. 

    See the rest of this house.

    Written by Ethne Clarke
    Produced by Sandra L. Mohmann
    Design: Joseph Keenan

  • Bruce Buck

    Colorful Showhouse Living Room

    October 2008

    At the Mansions and Millionaires Showhouse in Mill Neck, Long Island, Eileen Boyd turned this octagonal living room in a Tudor Revival home from white, traditional, and predictable to handsome, current, and fashionable.

    An unexpected Gustavian gray milk paint applied to the paneling and moldings creates a quiet envelope for a mélange of modern furnishings punctuated with bursrs of saturated taxicab yellow. The seating area is a lesson in balance. A raw linen sofa with accent pillows in stone, yellow, and a bright, luminous blue captures the main focus. Flanking the sofa, venerable tufted-back chairs get a contemporary lift with yellow fabric and black frames.

    To blur the edges of the grids on the paneling and windows, elegant drapery panels in a gray-and-white burnout floral pattern cascade from moldings to the floor. Yellow grosgrain ribbon trim on each panel unites the other jolts of yellow. The ribbon is pierced with silver nailheads that give the draperies a controlled bit of metallic shine.

    Written by Krissa Rossbund
    Produced by Bonnie Maharam
    Interior design: Eileen Kathryn Boyd

  • Michal Venera

    Family-Friendly Living Room

    April 2009

    A colorful and fresh design scheme graces this San Francisco home. The luminous living room, anchored by a rug with an oversized Greek-key pattern, features a seating arrangement that nods to both past and present. A sofa with clean lines and sand-colored upholstery faces a pair of curvy French armchairs in pale blue cotton. Designer Palmer Weiss chose to turn up the contemporary elements of the room with a simple yet elegant Lucite table floating between the seating pieces.

    Written by Krissa Rossbund
    Produced by Heather Lobdell
    Interior design: Palmer Weiss

  • Werner Straube

    Polished Silver Living Rom

    March 2010

    This Chicago-area homeowner asked designer Kara Mann for a classic design that was young, fresh, and out-of-the-box. The home’s palette indulges in smoky shades that are neutral but a bit gritty. In the high-style living room, the painted frames of matching settees in front of the fireplace are embellished with silver leaf. The silk drapery panels and Roman shades offer the slightest hint of sheen. A restrained assemblage of accessories contributes to the soothing scheme.

    See the rest of this house. 

    Written by Krissa Rossbund
    Produced by Hilary Rose
    Interior design: Kara Mann

  • Emily Followill

    Spacious Family Room

    February 2011

    This Atlanta home was built with family in mind. When working with her architect, homeowner and designer Amy Bergman put family first, designing an inviting family room that opens to the kitchen and a keeping room. The spacious room features iron French doors that open to a terrace. A large-scale coffered ceiling with a warm whitewash finish bounces light and makes the room feel cozy and inviting despite its size. Two wide doorways flanking the limestone fireplace step up to the keeping room and kitchen.

    See the rest of this home. 

    Written by Amy Elbert
    Produced by Lisa Mowry
    Architect: Linda MacArthur 
    Interior design: Amy Bergman

  • Tria Giovan

    Louise Brooks’s Elegant Living Room

    October 2012

    “This is our primary residence, and I didn’t want a beachy home,” designer Louise Brooks said of her elegant home on Long Island Sound. “So we went with the darker floors and classic details, such as the clean, simple trims.” She worked with friend and interior designer Lynn Morgan to perfect the look.

    In the living room, creamy white upholstery and a gray-and-cream-striped rug from Elizabeth Eakins set a serene mood. The rug’s gray hues are repeated in accents such as silver bowls and accessories. Ship lanterns on the built-in shelves and a painting of Edgartown harbor above the mantel are nods to the coastal setting.

    See the rest of this home.

    Written by Amy Elbert
    Produced by Stacy Kunstel
    Architectural design: Louise Brooks
    Interior design: Lynn Morgan

  • Francis Hammond

    Parisian Living Room

    September 2013

    When her job took Thuy Tranthi Reider to Paris, it was this apartment’s high ceilings, natural light, and elegant details that won her heart. All that was missing was furnishings, so Thuy called on friend and designer Eric Lysdahl to help. “We didn’t want this space to be too serious,” Lysdahl said, “so we went with a hip, young vibe.”

    In the living room, that meant balancing the ornate friezes, wood floors laid in a herringbone pattern, and gilt mirrors with sleeker, more whimsical elements and vibrant color. Furnishing were left relatively sparse. Matching gray sofas flank the fireplace. Lucite tables float above a zebra rug painted in metallic silver. Vintage chairs found at the flea market were updated with a painted stripe down the center—an homage to 20th-century style icon and fashion designer Pauline de Rothschild.

    See the rest of this apartment.

    Written and produced by Jenny Bradley
    Interior design: Eric Lysdahl

  • Joe Standart