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The living room is one of the most important rooms in the house. It is the most used space in the home for entertaining, lounging, and spending time with family and friends.

While furnishing the living room might not be a simple task, it certainly is an exciting one. With a multitude of furniture and decor options available, carefully choosing the right pieces for each corner of the living room is going to be vital.

And that’s why I have curated an extensive checklist for newbie apartment owners, which includes all the essential items you’ll need to create a welcoming and functional living space. So, whether you’re starting from scratch or simply need to upgrade your living room, I’ve got you covered. 

Living Room Essentials List

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1. Couch – Sectional, Sofa, and Loveseat

living room decor

Investing in a couch may be one of the most important things you will do for your space. Having the right couch, whether it be a sectional, sofa, or loveseat, will make a huge difference in how you experience our living room. The couch will serve as the place where you lounge, watch tv, gossip with friends, relax with family and occasionally sleep.

The couch will be the focal point of the living room so it’s important that you choose a couch that is practical and seamlessly integrates into your space. The couch will be essential when you prioritize comfort and community.

2. Area Rug 

A rug in the living room can help to bring the space together and effortlessly transform it. A rug can change the entire look and feel of the living room. Rugs help to break up your living room space and add definition to undefined areas.

Rugs can help to add color, light, and dimension to the living room. And due to its insulating value, it is a nice feeling to have a warm rug under your feet when navigating your space. 

3. Media Console / TV Stand 

A TV stand’s primary and original purpose is to store the TV. While you may find that many televisions today are being mounted, a tv stand is still an essential piece of a living room. The TV stand is multipurpose in providing significant storage space for your living room accessories and media-related items. 

4. Coffee Table

coffee table living room essentials

​Having a coffee table is a living room essential item that is not only useful but practical. A coffee table is a place where you may lay your remote or coffee books, rest your feet or hold your coffee cup while you relax. A coffee table adds attractiveness and helps to round out the overall living room decor and space. It makes a great counterpart to the couch and is the centerpiece of the living room. 

5. Ottoman 

Depending on the size of your space, an ottoman can be a great alternative to a coffee table. While the Ottoman’s main purpose is to be a footrest, it can also double as extra seating for your guests and hidden storage. Its versatility makes it an attractive living room essential.

6. Accent Chairs 

Accent chairs not only provide extra seating to your living room space, but it also adds personality to your decor and design. Accent chairs are fun accent pieces that can really help to energize the space. From Armchairs, Mid-Century modern chairs, tuxedo chairs, comfortable recliners, and swivel chairs, it is an excellent way to add pops of color and texture to your living room. 

7. End Tables 

End tables, sometimes referred to as side tables, are vital in the design of the living room. It adds a subtle touch of class and style to your living room. End tables are often used for holding a side table lamp, books, or cups on a coaster. It is a useful and convenient piece to enhance your living room space. 

8. Bookshelf

bookshelf in cozy living room

If you are a book lover with your personal library or you just love the idea of displaying beautiful things, a bookshelf might be the perfect furniture piece for you. A bookshelf provides a sense of organization in your space.

While its original intent was to simply store books, bookshelves have evolved into a place where you can style them with art, pictures, figurines, and some of your favorite travel memorabilia. A bookshelf adds a certain charm to a space and will make the living room feel a lot cozier and special.

9. Sideboard

Oftentimes referred to as a buffet table or credenza, a sideboard provides extra storage for the living room while also being a place where you can display art, pictures, and other accessories. A sideboard is extremely versatile and can help to define areas in the living room. A sideboard can be used in place of a TV stand, behind a floating couch or under a beautiful hanging mirror.

10. Ceiling Lighting

If you want to go a bit more dramatic with lighting and your living room has basic, builder-grade lights or lights that aren’t as functional, then swap out the lighting to suit your lighting needs. New lighting fixtures help to significantly update your room’s aesthetic. It can also make your home appear more spacious and inviting.

11. Living Room Decor and Accessories

decor and accessories living room essentials

When it comes to your living room, it’s going to be the little details and small touches that will often make the biggest impact and difference in how you experience your space. 

12. Throw Pillows 

Throw Pillows are an attractive statement piece that is essential to the styling of a couch. Throw pillows can add color, comfort, and depth to your couch. Throw pillows immediately communicate a sense of comfort and a cozy, comfortable vibe to a living room. While they are mostly for visual pleasure, it’s a great way to show off your personality and personal design style in the living room. 

13. Throw Blanket

Blankets are great for warm and cozy nights curling up in front of the living room television or by the fireplace. It also makes for a great accent piece that perfectly blends into your living room design and decor. You can drape it across the couch or tuck it in a cute decorative basket next to your couch. 

14. Window Treatments  

curtains living room essentials

Window treatments are great if you are looking to hoping to take your living room decor to the next level. From classic white curtains to mini blinds and roman shades, window treatments helps to filter light, offers privacy, and add to your stunning decor. Window treatments are a design element that can be both fashionable and functional.

15. Table lamp or Standing Lamp

Lamps can help to create the perfect ambiance and warmth in the living room. It can make the room feel a lot warmer and cozier. You can strategically place the lamps in dark corners and watch your room come alive or on the end table next to the couch. Whatever you choose, a lamp is a must in the living room for all lighting needs.

16. Plants

Plants will instantly make your living room space come alive. Plants add beauty and are great for maintaining air quality, adding an organic element to your decor. If you lack a green thumb like I do, consider fake plants that look real.

17. Decorative Baskets 

decorative baskets living room essentials

Cute decorative baskets in a living room add so much flair to the space. Baskets are great for organizing, highly functional, and visually stunning. From wicker baskets to woven baskets, baskets are great storage solutions that can help to maximize space and reduce visual clutter.

Baskets allow you to put things away that you would otherwise leave exposed due to their open nature and easy accessibility. Baskets come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and they are usually inexpensive. As a statement piece, they can add a lot of character, warmth, and a cozy vibe to your living room.

18. Wall Art 

wall art living room essentials

A living room is not complete without wall art. Whatever your vibe or personal style, there’s a piece of wall art that will compliment you and your living room’s design. Wall art will instantly elevate your space, add the finishing touch the living room needs and make it feel complete. Make sure to prioritize art in your space to truly enhance the living room space. 

Other Accessories to consider:

  • Vases
  • Picture Frames
  • Reading Materials – Coffee Books
  • Board Games

Living Room Electronics

  • TV
  • Extension Cords
  • Phone Chargers
  • Record Player
  • Bluetooth Speaker
  • Streaming Service – Roku or Firestick or Cable

Hopefully, you have found this living room essentials list useful. For more decorating tips, check out Cozy Living Room Ideas on a Budget and 15 Easy Home Makeover Ideas You Can Do on A Tight Budget.

Feel free also to follow me on my social media pages – Pinterest and Instagram or subscribe to my mailing list for other design inspiration and home decor ideas.

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Tamara White is the creator and founder of The Thrifty Apartment, a home decor and DIY blog that focuses on affordable and budget-friendly home decorating ideas and projects. Tamara documents her home improvement journey, love of thrifting, tips for space optimization, and creating beautiful spaces.

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