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Sure, we all know that a living room looks pretty empty without a sofa. And yes, you need somewhere to place your coffee mug. But what about all of the other little accoutrements that make a home look and feel complete?

Below is our checklist of the living room essentials that you may have overlooked, but are necessary components to any discerning man’s lair.

1. The Accent Chair

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Every king needs a throne - not a lazy-boy recliner. Even if a new sofa is not currently in your budget, an accent chair is a good way to elevate a space without making a huge investment.

TIP: Whether it be an antique leather cigar lounger or a sleek and slender mid-century dining chair, choose something that will make a statement.


2. Colorful and Patterned Throw Pillows

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Pillow shopping may be one of the least exciting activities for many guys - but it must be done. Not only will a bounty of throw pillows help to cover up that unfavorable couch you have yet to replace, they are an easy (and inexpensive) way of adding color and pattern to a room.

TIP: A good way to start is by pairing ethnic fabrics (i.e. ikat or kilim) with solid pillows of complementary colors.


3. A Statement Rug

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No, the purpose of an area rug is not to collect the dirt from your shoes. Much like throw pillows, an area rug adds another layer of texture, color and pattern to a space. And given its central placement in most living rooms, it inevitably becomes a focal point.

TIP: Go for a neutral color with a lot of texture, a bold color, or a graphic print. Look into some of our international favorites, which include Turkish Kilims, Overdyed Orientals and Moroccan Berbers.

4. Framed Artwork (image from oldbrandnew)

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Bare, white walls are…well, sad. They either suggest that you just moved in, or that you simply don’t care. I know, I know, mounting, framing and hanging are a pain, but taking the time to do so is absolutely necessary to completing a home.

TIP:You don’t have to create a full gallery wall overnight - start with a few larger pieces and slowly build your collection over time. We recommend trying some modern abstract lithographs for bold color and original black-and-white sketches for character.


5. Tchotchkes and Mantelpieces

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Your books need friends. They look sad on your shelves all by their lonesome. Add a few sculptural items to to break up the monotony.

TIP: These can be anything from ceramics, to figurines, to a rock you picked up on the side of the road. Get creative and have fun.


6. Coffee Table Literature

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While it may seem that the books sitting on your coffee table receive nary a glance, discerning onlookers certainly take notice. Part entertainment, part decorative, coffee table literature can serve as a sufficient diversion for aloof house guests, but more importantly, display one’s broad knowledge of cultural happenings and worldly affairs – or, at the very least, act as a compelling façade.

TIP: Glossy art books are always a great option, but we also recommend independent quarterlies, vintage magazines and art zines for variety.


7. The Conversation Piece

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Avoid future bouts of awkward silence by buying a couple of random things that serve no functional purpose. Whether it’s a fossilized antelope carcass, or 7 ft tall sculpture of a dart, these pieces not only make for great stories, but add a tremendous amount of character to a space.

TIP: A good place to start looking may actually be your parents’ basement - its even better when these items have personal meaning. If not, scour your local antique shops - if an item instantly catches your eye, it will likely do the same for your guests.

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