Photo Gallery: 44 Traditional Living Rooms
Inspiration for beautiful, timeless style.
This living room is only 11′ x 15′, but two streamlined linen sofas provide ample seating in tight quarters. The onyx-faced fireplace is original to the home, an 1,100-square-foot Colonial-style house that was built in the 1930s. Pale walls help the room feel bigger, while pink and purple accents pick up on the hues in the intricately patterned Persian rug.
In this luxurious living room, designer Nam Dang-Mitchell created a European-inspired oasis with a sophisticated, classic look. A low, open bench is the first thing you see upon entering the room. It feels more welcoming than seeing the backs of chairs or sofas, and enhances the flow of the space. On the walls, Venetian plaster feel timeless, as do the hits of natural texture that come from limestone, silk and grasscloth accents.
When renovating her own century home, designer Ingrid Oomen often opted to keep each room’s original features, bestowing modernizing touches as needed — like brightening splashes of white paint. Not so in this cosy space, where she let the gumwood panelling take centre stage; it adds distinction and warmth to the space, which was originally a dining room. Now a welcoming great room, its plush collection of mismatched seating feels cosy and inviting.
In this New England-inspired weekend home, a mix of antique finds and casual-traditional furniture add warmth and cosiness, giving each room an organic, lived-in feel. An airy palette of soft greens and blues feels peaceful and relaxing — a subtle counterpoint to the dark floors and high ceilings of this sunken great room, which was designed by Natalie Hodgins of Sarah Richardson Design.
In a small space, like this charming living room, white walls and ceilings allow an eclectic collection of vintage accessories, standout art and sculptural furniture to pop. The bright green hue of the tub chairs are subtly reflected in the throw cushions, while a woven rug adds a hit of natural texture underfoot. A Lucite side table holds tiny treasures, but doesn’t take up a lot of visual space.
Original ceiling coffers, flooring and decorative window moulding contribute to this room’s unique style, which blends antique, repurposed and new furniture. The room feels casual and inviting with soft warm tones and ample throw pillows.
This room owes its polished air to perfect symmetry — pairs of sofas, vases and pendants result in a calming and sophisticated space. To achieve this look, mimic moulding by creating “panels” with tape before painting the wall and plug in a simple electric fireplace for an instant focal point. Lush velvet pillows and metallic side tables add the right amount of glitz.
In this formal living room, a white linen sofa is the ultimate in crisp luxury. Peony-pink drapes and chocolate accent pillows balance the room’s masculine and feminine aspects.
Larger artwork and a mix of metals amp up the glamour. The rich look of panelling was achieved by applying moulding to the drywall, then painting it all in the same colour — beautiful and budget-friendly. The geometric lines are reiterated in the new boxy chairs and Art Deco–inspired fireplace screen by designer Stephanie Brown. The screen’s trimwork continues the lines of the chairs.
A large mirror makes the small room feel larger while adding sparkle. Elegant dark wood furniture stands out in the refined, ivory space.
A 1920’s Saraband rug offers a punch of colour in an otherwise neutral living room. Linen drapery, which softens the floor-to-ceiling windows, has a billowy, sheer quality when drawn.
This living room — in designer John Barnwell’s Toronto home — is well-equipped for parties: the ample coffee table holds piles of drinks and the Ultrasuede on the sofas wears well. (Good for John’s terrier, too.) The glass firescreen is a favourite element.
In this English Tudor home’s spacious living room, striking contrasts provoke interest. The modern Mies van der Rohe Barcelona stools sit beautifully nearby the antique marble mantel, and the sculpture, chinoiserie table and dark lamps pop against the pale walls.
A large work by Russian painter Oleg Vassiliev dominates this living room. It’s paired with an oversized cotton-upholstered sofa flanked by 19th-century suede-covered French chairs.
With windows facing west and south, overlooking a park, this living room is drenched in light. Subtle contrast emerges between the room’s traditional details and its subdued contemporary furnishings, such as the coffee table and tuxedo sofa. The panelled doors open to the library.
The grace of this mahogany-panelled library is accentuated by the clean lines of the silk-upholstered sofa and velour chairs. The coffee table is modelled after one by Diego Giacometti.
Michael Penney decided to paint the original wood mantel white and the brick surround a warm grey to update the look of his living room. The two bergere chairs from his old apartment were recovered in a striped Sunbrella fabric for durability and style, and they add to the nautical look of the room. The traditional coved ceiling shows the original character of the home, and works nicely with the soft blue wall paint.
Designer Sarah Richardson, host of HGTV’s Sarah’s House and Sarah’s Cottage, decorated this “Millionaire Designer Home” for the VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation Lottery. “I wanted it to have a coastal feel: a breezy, light-hearted tone that was sophisticated and elegant, too,” she explains. Velvet-upholstered furniture and wood add a sumptuous note to the living room, while mirrors add sparkle.
English bureaus flank the fireplace, corralling clutter in this formal yet cosy space. Timeless silhouettes upholstered in family-friendly fabrics meet the demands of everyday use.
Elegant seating — slipper chairs in taupe wool, and stools in hand-woven tiger-print silk velvet — surrounds a Louis XVI desk cut down to coffee-table height. (The sophisticated room allows for two generous seating areas.) The bronze statue was originally a garden sculpture. Interior designer Sloan Mauran considers this the best room in her house. “I didn’t have to do much more than paint and upgrade the lighting,” she says.
The living room in this Vancouver home is outfitted with standard, not condo-sized furniture. “I don’t recommend having small-scale pieces in a condo or everything looks miniature,” says owner and designer Karla Amadatsu. To create the illusion of space, she chose pieces with clean lines, like the dining area’s rounded espresso table, that allow for better flow; it has a leaf and can be expanded for larger groups. The upholstered Parsons-syle chairs have low backs to keep sight lines open. A large Venetian mirror brightens the room and helps visually expand the space.
Designer Michael Angus painted the two inexpensive builder doors at the end of his living room black, making them look like vintage metal. A master of the mix, he paired a contemporary teak coffee table with an antique leather stool and slipcovered furniture. The focal point of the room is a simple fireplace which Michael installed to give the sense of being in a house, rather than an apartment.
Follow us as we tour Michael’s apartment on Online TV.
The serene former living room of fashion designer Paul Sinclaire is like a canvas deftly punctuated with art and accessories. Handsome mouldings and a herringbone brick firebox add sophistication to the space.
The former Victorian semi of Tommy Smythe, associate designer with Sarah Richardson Design and co-star of HGTV’s Sarah’s Cottage and Sarah’s House, was defined by its striking mix of darks and lights, and ornate and demure pieces. In the living room, the symmetrical placement of chairs, demilune console tables, lamps and floral arrangements lends a feeling of formality. A daybed, which provides seating on two sides, stands in for the typical sofa. The antique lantern (part of a set) once hung in the hallway of Tommy’s childhood home.
Traditional elements combine in this cosy space for reading or entertaining. Light drapes contrast perfectly against chocolate walls. (Dark, rich paint tones create an antiquated appearance.) Skirted furniture — a classic throwback — ceiling millwork, crystal accents and tufting on the sofa complete the look.
A clean white palette keeps the look current and fresh while a leather wing back chair elevates the room. A decorative chair with flared legs can be used as extra seating and is more airy than an upholstered piece.
Recovered in grey wool, the sofas in this Federal-style home are a crisp foil to the living room’s unique collection of accessories, like a bold zebra rug, framed 18th-century room sketches and a $45 junk shop metal table. Assorted curios, like the woman’s shoes on the side table and the small sculptures found throughout the room, speak to the homeowner’s interests and personality.
Watch a video tour of this restored home.
Layering fabrics, patterns and colours turns any space into a snug refuge from falling temperatures outdoors. An on-trend grey wall colour and soft grey striped rug underfoot add to the cosy feeling, while unfitted windows keep the space from becoming fussy or visually cluttered.
Stately mouldings reinforce a refined aesthetic, and lush florals bloom as accents in this home decorated by designer Sarah Richardson, host of HGTV’s Sarah’s House and Sarah’s Cottage.
“One of the best things I did in my old row house was to install this simple fireplace with its limestone surround,” says House & Home editor Suzanne Dimma. “I designed it with a sense of verticality, to feel elegant. Because the home was a rowhouse, the fireplace had to be built out from the wall between the living room and kitchen. Most of my furniture was flea market finds that I had reupholstered and slipcovered.”
Lively injections of turquoise and flora and fauna motifs are recurrent themes in designer Karen von Hahn’s formal living room. A shade of soft grey on the walls and couch keeps the overall look polished.
In the sitting room at Tawse Winery in Vineland, Ontario, formal antiques, like a straight-based settee, are softened with plush, pale upholstery, while accessories are kept to a minimum. Light walls contrast with dark accents, like the ornate bannister and limestone floor.
Designer and cookbook author Sophie Conran loves Christian Liaigre’s early 20th century-inspired furniture, such as the pieces pictured here. This living room showcases a stunning juxtaposition of modern shapes and old world accents, like the gilt-framed Van Dyck and carved-marble fireplace.
Karyn Gordon and Brent Penner of Toronto won second prize in our 2007 design contest for this chic library, built by Brent for a mere $800. Gallery-like black and white photos and a classic colour scheme unify the tiny room. “Built-ins are key when living in a small space,” adds Karyn.
Setting symmetrically placed love seats, lamps and built-in bookcases around the fireplace underlines the Georgian architecture of the home.
“Colour is something we all crave,” says designer Anne Hepfer. Playing with pattern and scale, Anne added interest to this space with different textures and upholstery fabric. As a general rule, she sticks to smaller-scale prints for more delicate pieces of furniture and opts for hip, graphic details on pillows.
“This quietly grand interior may seem more classically inspired than some of our other work, and it is,” says Nicky Haslam, principal and founder of NH Design. “When it suits the clients’