When it comes to small scale renovations, the living room is a space that should be prioritised as it becomes a home’s focal room, hosting entertainment, relaxation and family time. Prominent trends seen in contemporary living spaces include minimalist, monochrome and functional designs and features. Thankfully, we’ve moved on from thick carpets, eclectic colours, excessive florals and ornamental clutter.
Each of the modern design movements has a clear identity, whereas contemporary design is constantly influx, borrowing inspiration from various eras of design and melding them into something new and exciting.
If you are looking for living room ideas and inspiration for your new home, or need new concepts for your living room renovations, look no further, as we’ve compiled 40 of our favourite contemporary living room ideas.
Use Of Colour
by Michelle Gerson
Colour – one of the most important areas for contemporary lounge ideas. It’s a common misconception that a contemporary scheme is all about bright white. Contemporary living rooms should actually have a stark contrast in the colours used, even if you’ve predominantly used white and there’s one key piece of furniture in the room that purposefully sticks out. Monochrome is a favourite because it lets you move from one extreme to the other. Keep your colour choices confident and don’t be nervous about moving across the colour wheel. Contemporary colour palettes are strong and love to create interesting contradictions. That’s part of what makes them so dynamic.
Incorporate Varied Lines In Your Design
by March & White
Another of the main associations with contemporary design is that lines should always be clean and crisp. It’s another story of contrast though. It’s the modern movements that put all their focus onto strong lines. Contemporary style on the other hand prefers to mix the two. If you have a curvaceous ottoman and sofa set, bring in a modern art-style sculpture or an edgy pendant light that will command attention and provide diversity.
Contemporary Style Furniture
by Greg Natale
One of the commonalities in contemporary-style furniture is that the legs of sofas and armchairs are almost always on show. Tapered, angled wooden legs are preferred over traditional turned ones on castor feet or ones hidden under a skirt. Your surfaces and other furniture should mix exposed metals and glass with the occasional appearance from exposed wood.
Marble continues to reign supreme in contemporary interiors as much as in traditional ones, but here is where your lines should be uncomplicated. Smooth, strong, statuesque furniture in marble is the answer in a contemporary living room. Be mindful that too many finishes and shapes can tip your room into being muddled. Contemporary design might favour a mixture of design influences, but eclectic can quickly become unfocused and confused.
Accent With Metal
by Jessie D. Miller
Metal in contemporary-style living rooms isn’t to be kept for tables and larger pieces of furniture alone. Use metallic accents like hammered, polished steel on everything from photo frames and metal-trimmed trays to the edging of a floor length mirroror on oversized floor lamps. Glossy brass on an exposed armchair’s frame, a gleaming gold vase or a cuff around a wall or clock are all steps to giving your living room a contemporary edge.
Greg Natale understands the power of metallic in this eastern Sydney project. Retro-inspired furniture trimmed with wide brass collar bases, metal mirror edging and unique metal decor complete the look.
by Taylor Howes
Texture is one of the few laws of any room’s decorating scheme, regardless of the style you’re influenced by. Even if you were drawn to the less-is-more side of contemporary design, you’d still need to build layers of texture. Texture can be as minimal or maximal as the rest of your decorating choices. Sleek and sophisticated metals, against supple leathers and matte, honed marble will give you three different but subtle textures to keep your mind interested and your eye active. Texture isn’t all about what’s tactile either. You can achieve texture in your living room by combining colour and lighting too – anything that adds a visual stimuli and anything that plays with light.
Consider Your Lighting Options
Much like with texture, lighting ideas for a contemporary living room should move from ceiling to floor as they would in any style of space. Recessed spotlights are particularly contemporary and work well in any room, especially when combined with accent lighting. Try adding a highly sculptural pendant light that acts as artwork, or an understated design that hugs the ceiling if you want something more pared-back. A contemporary living room is also one of the only styles where you can get away with using strips of LED lighting without it impacting the overall look.
Use them to act as a border around your ceiling or hidden in soffits and dropped ceilings (like in this Taylor Howes space) to highlight the architecture and to emphasise a clean, geometric shape. Table and floor lights are a must and, although very much a typically traditional lighting feature, the use of wall lights has been on the rise with unique modern designs by the likes of Kelly Wearstler, Lindsey Adelman and Lee Broom. Keep to the same two finishes on your lighting to prevent clashing and mix up the light design so they’re not all from the same collection. Conical, flared shades, anglepoise lamps, large arched stems with oversized domed shades on floor lamps, and abstract ceiling shades are all welcome in the same space.
Into the Blue
by Mark Scott
Blue and white is a classic colour combination that’s perfect for a nautical scheme. Whale motif wallpaper adds a quirky twist to this timeless look.
A Sense of Space
by David Gles
Soft grey tones and crisp white details bounce light around this contemporary living room. Pale wooden furniture also helps to keep the room looking bright and airy.
Modern Meets Traditional
by Nigel Rigden
An understated decorating scheme allows period features to shine in this Victorian terrace.
Small Change, Big Difference
by Colin Poole
A simple Roman blind and textured flooring has resulted in an elegant update for this neutral living room.
A Big Impression
by Rona Walker – Arnott
Choose eyecatching furniture and accessories to create impact in a big, airy room with high ceilings – as seen in this Regency townhouse renovation that’s a perfect mix of old and new.
Naturally Laid Back
by Mark Scott
White walls, soft grey upholstery and pale wooden furniture create a relaxed and welcoming look. Choose a classic sofa as the centrepiece, then introduce pattern with a mix-and-match collection of patterned cushions and a geometric rug.
by Mark Scott
Pink is still a huge interiors trend! Layer soft rose with grey, choose a classic sofa as the room’s focal point and introduce pattern with decorative cushions and a rug. Contrast the soft colours with a statement floor lamp and coffee table.
by David Gles
Vintage sofas bring an elegant feel in this Victorian home. Promote a sense of intimacy in an open-plan or big room by arranging seating around a coffee table with a rug beneath. The aim is to create a cosy zone within the space.
A New Dimension
A corner sofa, such as this leather Freya from DFS, can help to give shape to a featureless room. A console table arranged with tall vases is a clever idea that gives the scheme height.
Room with a View
by David Barbour
A sofa with a low back looks contemporary and won’t interrupt a great view, as can be seen in thismodern farmhouse in Scottish highlands.
One of our favourite trends seen in modern living room interiors are stripped floors. Enhance your pristine, high quality timber flooring, or hardwoord laminate with neutral accent rugs or ceramic tiles.
Shades of White
White living rooms are classic, current, and still preferred by many. Consider a white colour scheme when repainting this room, or perhaps introduce white with your leather upholstery.
Modern living rooms are made more spacious with larger, wider windows. Focusing on clean lines and clear panes will create a timeless and classic appeal.
Adding a rustic feature to your living room decor will hint on a country chic aesthetic. We love the modern feel of this unique and rustic chandelier, a welcomed change to crystal alternatives.
Chandeliers are still popular for living rooms, however intricate teardrops, curls and crystals are a thing of the past. Modern day chandeliers are simpler, concise, and functional, like this delicate lantern esque feature.
Greys and Blues
The muted tones of blue and grey are very popular when it comes to modern interior design. Versatile in nature, a cool colour palette compliments the themes of industrial and minimalist spaces.
Floors and walls are not the only ways to create striking statements, why not create a sensational ceiling feature.
A Green Corner
We’ve seen a real trend of indoor gardens especially throughout living spaces to lift monochrome colour themes and freshen the airflow.
Pieces with history and character will give depth and personality to your contemporary living space.
Conversational art pieces make great decor choices throughout the living room. We recommend selecting pieces that are interpretative and calming, think styles like abstract, monochrome and pieces with hushed colours.
According to Smith, white walls allow the furniture pieces to pop in a contemporary living room. Here, an abstract rug provides the perfect pop of color in this otherwise neutral space. The design is far from traditional, but it feels entirely of the moment.
by TESSA NEUSTADT
White walls and a white ceiling to match give this room an effortlessly clean feel. There’s something so intriguing about the way the different materials between the walls and the beams in the ceiling match in color, playing with the pure white couches. Interior designer Tessa Neustadt has mastered the contemporary vibe in this room.
by PRESTON SCHLEBUSCH FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES DESIGN: STUDIO BD