The 10 Essential Furniture Pieces that Should Be in Your Living Room, Plus Amazing Examples of Each

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Starting on your living room decoration journey? These are the 10 essential furniture pieces recommended by interior designers, plus great examples of each.

Putting a down payment on the house of your dreams or getting settled into a new apartment might make you feel like the hard work is over, but one giant task remains: decorating. The living room is likely going to be one of the spaces you spend a lot of time in, and may even serve as your home’s focal point, which means it’s extra important to put some work into finding the perfect furniture, establishing your aesthetic, and making sure your living room achieves the right balance of function and beauty.

But, where do you even start such a major task? Design expert and co-host of the popular HGTV show Fixer Upper Joanna Gaines encourages the amateur designer to set up their space with heart, stating, “Be intentional with your space. Don't be afraid to step on a limb and design your home the way you love it.” On the topic of the living room, British designer Terence Conran once said it should be, “...a place where we feel totally at ease — a temple of the soul.”

Of course, the reality is that most of us aren’t design experts. Starting out with a basic idea of the essential items you need for your living room is a great way to set yourself up for success. That’s why we’ve created a list of the top 10 furnitures items that you absolutely need to make your living room a perfect space for, well, living.

Here’s what you’ll get in this guide:

  • A list of 10 essential furniture items your living room must have
  • Profiles of two quality, affordable examples of each furniture item and information on how to save money on each.

Let’s jump in!

10 Essential furniture items for a functional living room

1. Lamps

Lamps are meant to illuminate your space, and create a warmth that you just can’t get from traditional overhead lighting. They can provide an interesting focal point for your space or simply blend in with the rest of your design aesthetic. Here are a few great lamps you should check out:

FernishMicah Floor Lamp

living room furniture essentials

  • Company: Fernish is a new startup furniture concept currently operating in the LA-area. Customers pay a monthly subscription fee for various furniture items as opposed to purchasing furniture. They can then decide whether to swap out for something else, purchase the item, or walk away. 
  • Price: $5/mo with a 12-month subscription or $130 to buy from Fernish, All Modern, or Viesso
  • Shipping: Free for monthly subscriptions of $99 or more; $75 for subscriptions under $99/mo
  • Features: From designer EQ3, this simply designed floor lamp comes with an angled metal base and a 40W bulb for use on arrival. 
  • Ways to save: Save $50 on your first month subscription when you sign up for their mailing list.

Kardiel — Arco Floor Lamp

living room furniture essentials

  • Company: Kardiel specializes in exact reproductions and updated interpretations of various pieces of Modern furniture. They design, manufacture, and distribute all of their products, meaning they can offer high-quality items at reasonable prices.
  • Price: $449
  • Shipping: Free for orders over $750, otherwise varies by location
  • Features: This lamp is a reproduction of a 1960’s design by Achille Castiglioni. It features a massive arch design that allows you to achieve the same feel as overhead lighting with the simplicity and style of a lamp. It’s made with an Italian black marble base, brushed stainless steel hood, and has an easy step-foot on switch.
  • Ways to save: Join their mailing list.

2. Coffee Table

The coffee table is a living room essential. Whether it’s the home for your photo books and magazines or just a place to set down your morning coffee, it’s crucial to get a coffee table that fits your space and looks elegant all the same. These coffee tables are a great place to start:

Rove Concepts — Nilsson Coffee Table

living room furniture essentials

  • Company: Rove Concepts specializes in small-batch, handcrafted mid-century furniture. They oversee all elements of the furniture building process from design to creation at their workshops across the world. Their items ship directly from their workshops, meaning you’ll cut out the middleman and save money.
  • Price: $425
  • Shipping: $129 for standard delivery or $279 for white glove delivery. Rural customers may have higher shipping rates.
  • Features: This table blends together a coffee table’s two main functions - storage and table space - into one sleek design. It features an elm veneer box on one half for storing stuff like magazines and coasters, a white lacquered table surface on the other half, and stands on four ash wood legs. 
  • Ways to save: Sign up for their mailing list to get promotions and updates. Right now you can save 15% using the code: SHOP15, plus they have great deals regularly on their Sale page.

MODTEMPO — Maddox Mid-Century Modern Coffee Table

living room furniture essentials

  • Company: MODTEMPO offers a curated online catalog of stylish furniture from several trusted vendors. They emphasize great customer service, working individually with each client to ensure they get exactly the product they want. Items ship direct from the manufacturer, saving you extra money.
  • Price: Starting at $179
  • Shipping: Curbside delivery is always free.
  • FeaturesThis mid-century modern inspired coffee table comes in two sizes, 25- or 30-inch, and can be purchased in pairs as a nesting set. The surface is a stained walnut, while the legs are made with steel and a brushed brass finish. Minimal assembly is required.
  • Ways to save: Join their mailing list to qualify for free white glove delivery.

3. Armchair

An armchair is always a great addition to your living room, particularly if you’ve got a smaller room and want to have added seating without sacrificing too much space. Whether your preference is something squishy, or something firm, there’s definitely an armchair out there for you. Take a look at these:

Joybird — Hughes Chair

living room furniture essentials

  • Company: Joybird is an online custom furniture retailer with a commitment to sustainable design. In addition to creating stylish furniture for your home space, they also give back by planting a tree for each item sold. All of their products come with a 365-day trial period, free returns, and flat rate shipping for unlimited items. 
  • Price: Currently $629
  • Shipping: $99 flat-rate shipping for orders over $999, curbside available at a discount for some items under $999
  • Features: This chair comes is a sleek, updated Mid-century style armchair designed to keep your back at the perfect posture. Choose from five different colors.
  • Ways to save: Joybird offers free design services as well as free swatches to help you choose the best color for your space. Sign up for their mailing list to get exclusive sales, discounts, and VIP-only perks.

Burrow — Armchair

living room furniture essentials

  • Company: Burrow is all about creating custom, functional furniture for your living space. From their stain-resistant fabric to surprise features like built-in USB chargers, they’re always thinking ten steps ahead when it comes to your needs. All of their products come with a 30-day risk-free trial and a one-year limited warranty.
  • Price: $495
  • Shipping: Free on all orders
  • Features: In addition to the aforementioned stain-resistant fabrics and built-in USB chargers, this armchair comes with reversible cushions that allow you to choose between tufted or not tufted. Choose from five different colors and three different wood options for the legs. All Burrow items come packed in easy-to-carry boxes and can be assembled quickly without tools.
  • Ways to save: They don't have any specific sales, but shipping is always free!

4. Sofa

A sofa is the heart of any good living room. It’s where you can recline and watch your favorite shows, host your friends for game night, or cuddle up with your pets. Online retailers have gotten especially creative with sofas these days, offering highly-customizable couches, flat-pack delivery, and easy assembly at reasonable prices. Here are a few great sofa recommendations:

Interior DefineOliver Sofa

living room furniture essentials

  • Company: Interior Define creates beautiful, customizable seating options for your house or apartment. They offer 365-day returns on their items and have design specialists on hand to help you pick the right couch. If you’re in one of the major cities where they have Guideshops, you can stop by, grab a drink from the fridge, and hang out while you choose your new furniture.
  • Price: Starting at $1200
  • Shipping: Free white glove delivery
  • Features: This sofa is super customizable - customers can select the size they want, choose from tons of colors and fabrics, and pick from a variety of different leg options. They offer a number of kid- and pet-friendly fabrics to protect your sofa from spills and other mishaps.
  • Ways to save: Join their mailing list to receive special offers.

Benchmade ModernCouch Potato Sofa

living room furniture essentials

  • Company: Benchmade Modern makes highly customizable furniture, including sofas that you can have designed by the inch with over 60 different colors to choose from. They have a relatively fast turnaround rate with their current time from order to delivery averaging around 30 days. Each of their items is handmade in the US.
  • Price: Starting at $1655
  • Shipping: Free curbside delivery, white glove available for $200
  • Features: This sofa definitely lives up to its name with medium-soft cushioning, low seats for better lounging, and soft back pillows you can sink right into. You can choose between fabric or leather upholstery, and it comes standard with a kiln-dried hardwood frame.
  • Ways to save: Sign up for their mailing list to get a 10% discount code for your first order. Check back for deals regularly like their current 15% off sofa sale when you use the code: SAVE15.

5. Ottoman

Your butt isn’t the only thing that needs a comfy place to settle in - so do your feet! Ottomans are a great option because they can easily work as seating if you’ve got extra guests, or just provide a place to put your feet up after a long day. These are some awesome ottomans:

Campaign Ottoman

living room furniture essentials

Company: Campaign is a leading online furniture retailer that specializes in flat-pack seating furniture. Their products are easy to assemble and disassemble and come with a lifetime warranty on the frames. 

Price: $345

Shipping: Free and fast shipping, typically arriving within three to five days

Features: Choose from two different types of wood for the legs and 16 different colors. The ottoman is made from 100% recyclable materials including polyester, high-resiliency polyurethane foam for the cushion, and American hardwood.

Ways to save: Save $50 on your first order when you sign up for their mailing list. 

Cameron Ottoman

living room furniture essentials

Company: Capsule Home is an LA-based furniture company with showrooms in NYC and San Francisco. They create stylish items that incorporate mixed materials and multi-functional uses, dreamed up by their in-house designers.

Price: Currently $199 (normally $299). Also available at retail price at Bed, Bath, & Beyond, Wayfair, Zola, and more.

Shipping: $20 flat-rate with delivery and assembly service available for $99

Features: This ottoman comes in four different colors and stands on lacquered solid hardwood legs. The fabric is a polyester linen blend and the cushion is extra soft, stuffed with a polyfill and duck-feather blend.

Ways to save: Join their mailing list for weekly promos and exclusive deals. Plus, check back with them for sales like their current Summer Sale where you can get 40% off select items.

6. Entertainment center

One of the living room’s main attractions is often a television or other media devices. Entertainment centers are designed to be functional, housing your gaming consoles, DVD players, Rokus, and more. But, that doesn’t mean they can’t also be chic. Check out these entertainment centers for inspiration:

ArticleSeno Walnut Media Unit

living room furniture essentials

Company: Article’s focus is on creating affordable, modern furniture for your living space. Because they don’t have showrooms and because their products come directly from the manufacturer, they’re able to pass savings on to the customer. 

Price: $799

Shipping: Flat-rate of $49 in the contiguous US

Features: This media unit is available in walnut or rustic oak. It features two cabinets with drawers and an open cabinet with an adjustable shelf and holes for cords. You can display a TV on top of it or hang it on the wall above.

Ways to save: Sign up for their mailing list to receive special promotions

IKEA — Lappland TV Storage Unit

living room furniture essentials

Company: IKEA has seen a rise in competition in recent years, but it remains the standard in affordable flat-pack, build-it-yourself furniture options. All of their items can be built (relatively) easily, and typically include all the tools you need to get the job done.

Price: $149

Shipping: Delivery of large items ranges from $29-59

Features: This TV console comes in a black-brown finish and has ample storage space with two open compartments for gaming consoles and CD or DVD players. The additional shelving can be placed on the left or right depending on your needs. The back panel is reinforced to hold a flat-screen TV and has holes to make gathering your wires simple.

Ways to save: Check out IKEA’s Offers page to find specials and discounts.

7. Shelves

Storing your trinkets, books, and plants should be a snap. These shelving options can help you display your favorite tchochkes with pride:

Floyd Shelf

living room furniture essentials

Company: Floyd started with table legs that allow you to make a custom table with your choice of tabletop, and has since blossomed into a full-blown furniture company with beds, tables, shelves, and more. Their focus is on building products that last, including when they are disassembled and assembled frequently. All items have a 60-day window for returns.

Price: $85

Shipping: Free in the contiguous US. Customers in NYC, San Francisco, LA, and Chicago can get same-day shipping on certain items.

Features: These brackets come in black or white and allow you to create your own unique shelf. Just select a piece of wood or other piece of material for the shelf, install the brackets on your wall, and set the shelf into place.

Ways to save: Floyd doesn’t typically offer discount codes, but they do sometimes have incentives you can get by following them on social media.

HemLift 3 Shelf

living room furniture essentials

Company: Hem is a Swedish-based furniture company that works with some of the top designers and leading manufacturers in Europe to deliver attractive, quality products. Their items ship directly from their warehouses and can be delivered for free in 34 countries worldwide.

Price: $399

Shipping: Free in 34 countries

Features: This shelf is a simple, functional piece designed to mimic a scissor lift. It comes in black or white and can be placed on the floor or mounted to the wall. More units can be added easily if you need extra storage.

Ways to save: They don’t have any specific discounts, but if you poke around on Hem, you’ll find select items on sale.

8. End tables

In addition to your coffee table, end tables are an important and functional addition to your living room. Whether you use them as a surface for your favorite drinks, or just a place to leave the remote so you don’t lose it in the couch again, these end tables are a great bet:

ArticleMaggi Side Table

living room furniture essentials

Company: Article

Price: $159

Shipping: Flat rate of $49 in the contiguous US

Features: With a vegan leather pouch for your books and a beautiful solid walnut topper, this piece from Article is another incredibly functional and attractive piece for your living room. It evokes mid-century design with updated twists like the black powder-coated metal legs. As it’s made with real wood, each piece is unique, with distinct wood grain, knots, and color variations.

Ways to save: Sign up for their mailing list to receive special promotions.

Capsule HomeOvoid Side Table

living room furniture essentials

Company: Capsule Home

Price: Currently $89

Shipping: $10 for standard shipping

Features: This side table is made of metal and features a powder-coated finish that you can get in three different colors: black, pale green, or taupe. In addition to a laser-cut table top, it features a bottom shelf for added storage. All of Capsule’s Ovoid tables are designed to be mixed and matched and can be stacked if you need to free up extra space.

Ways to save: Join their mailing list for weekly promos and exclusive deals. Plus, check back with them for sales like their current Summer Sale where you can get 40% off select items.

9. Rugs

A great rug doesn’t only offer a comfy and clean spot for your feet to rest, but it also provides a necessary accent to tie your whole space together. These are some of the best rug options out there:

Jaipur LivingYasmin

living room furniture essentials

Company: Jaipur Living offers decor and accessories that range in style from classic to contemporary. They invest in creating products that are sustainable and environmentally-friendly, plus they’re committed to giving back with global campaigns for health, literacy, and more. You can find their rugs on their website or at a number of other retailers including RugsUSA

Price: Starting at $138

Shipping: Varies based on size, weight, and location

Features: The great thing about the Yasmin rug is that it comes in a number of different shapes and sizes and can even be made to order based on your needs. It’s got a distressed look, is soft to the touch, and has a lustrous finish.

Ways to save: Check out their other offerings on RugsUSA where you can get a 50% off coupon on your first order by signing up for their mailing list.

Hem — Stripe Rugs by Arthur Arbesser

living room furniture essentials

Company: Hem

Price: Starting at $639.20

Shipping: Free in 34 countries

Features: These striking striped rugs come in two sizes and feature pops of bright color. They’re crafted from 100% New Zealand wool with a short pile-height, giving these rugs a silky, lustrous finish.

Ways to save: They don’t have any specific discounts, but if you poke around on Hem, you’ll find select items on sale.

10. Throw pillows and blankets

Once you’ve got your furniture in place, you’re going to want some nice blankets and pillows to cozy up with. Check out these cute and comfy throw pillows and blankets to add a pop of color to your living room:

Joss and Main — Drepaul Throw Pillow

living room furniture essentials

Company: Joss and Main is an affiliate of Wayfair that offers deep discounts on furniture and home decor. They’ve got thousands of everyday home items and regularly hold sales events.

Price: Currently $11.99 (typically $14.99)

Shipping: Free on orders over $49. Right now, make any purchase and unlock 30 days of free shipping.

Features: These decorative pillows are covered in a polyester blend fabric and filled with cushiony polyfill and polyester. They come in 10 different colors, so you can easily match them to your decor.

Ways to save: Sign up for their mailing list and check out their sale page for deals. Get the Wayfair credit card to receive $40 back on your first order of $250 or more, plus get 3% cash back on purchases.

Urban Outfitters — Geo Tufted Tassel Throw Blanket

living room furniture essentials

Company: Urban Outfitters is best known for their clothing, but they also offer home decor items with a distinct boho-chic aesthetic. Their items are generally fairly affordable, making UO a great option for new apartment dwellers and first-time homeowners.

Price: $69

Shipping: Free on orders over $50, $4.95 for orders under $50. In-store pickup is free.

Features: This blanket comes in three different colors and is made from 95% cotton. It’s got tufted geo-patterns and oversize tassels that give it a cute bohemian vibe. 

Ways to save: They’re currently having a sale of 25% off all furniture online, and regularly hold similar deals. 

Equipped with this guide and some design savvy, you’ll be well on your way to creating the perfect, cozy living room space for quiet nights in and memorable hangouts with your friends and loved ones. And, incorporating these ten essential furniture items will help you create a space that’s just as functional as it is fabulous.

If you’d like to learn more great tips like these - and how to save money on the things you buy every day - be sure to keep up with the Knoji blog. Plus, check out the Knoji homepage where we’ve answered thousands of questions about discounts at your favorite retailers.


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KC Clements
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