Modern Living Room Ideas That are Anything

Out of all the rooms in a traditional house or apartment, the living room encourages the most imagination and experimentation. This is also valid if you adopt the modern design, a stylistic trend that began at the turn of the twentieth century and is focused on the concept of form following function. Every piece in a modern space should have a transparent process characterized by clean lines, neutral colors, and minimalist decor.

Although we respect traditional Modernism’s ideals, we now have mashup styles like modern bohemian, organic modern, modern Scandinavian, mid-century contemporary, modern classic, and many other variations of this iconic style. If you’re a genuine modernist or prefer a hybrid approach to design, you’ll find ideas for your modern living room below.

1. Don’t Be Afraid of Brightly Colored Furniture
Lauren MacLean’s new, Parisian-inspired Montreal apartment impresses us with its bold use of ochre, light pink, and violet. The bright furniture contrasts beautifully with the stark white walls. It’s a slightly edgy take on industrial design that’s bang on-trend.

2. Let the Outside In Traditional
Modern homes are known for having large, floor-to-ceiling windows. In her “modern organic” Los Angeles project, designer Emily Henderson nailed the look. You won’t reproduce this exact look in your room without a building, but you can leave your windows open to let more light in.

3. Choose furniture with a low-slung design
Simple, low-slung furniture can give your living room a distinctly modern feel. In this chic modern-industrial Sydney home, interior designers Arent & Pyke nailed the look, as seen on We Are Scout. To determine the minimalist, minimal style, look for leather, marble, iron, and other tactile touches.

4. Blend classic and contemporary designs
The best spaces are often a blend of two slightly different but complementary types. Emily Henderson’s modern-contemporary living room combines elements of both styles. The accent chairs and curtains add a contemporary flourish, while the sofa and light fixtures have a more minimalist feel.

5. Use Statement Lighting to Experiment
Many modern rooms have a single bold accent, and lighting is a great place to start. A sculptural statement chandelier adds a playful element to this otherwise contemporary space. Consider a starburst light fixture, such as the one in this beautiful Stockholm home, a classic modern shape.

6. Mix hard and soft furnishings
The rounded, 80s-inspired couch by interior designer Brittany Shields contrasts beautifully with her sharp new plinth table. This texture combination of hard and soft, plush and linear, is on-trend right now.

7. Use quirky artwork to add personality.
If you’re looking for wall art, don’t limit yourself to just statement paintings and photographs. Jess Bunge made the most of her small living room with a three-dimensional abstract line squiggle from Katie Gong Design and sculpture-like mushroom lighting. The more variety you have of what you display as “art,” the more enjoyable your modern living room will be.

8. Don’t Let a Limited Space Stop You
Modern architecture is well-suited to small-space living because of its “less is more” concept. To open up the gallery, take a cue from Rachael and Ryan Lambert’s NYC studio and go for a tonal, very white color palette and simple furniture.

9. Embrace Mid-Century Modern Thoughts
We still swoon over a full-blown mid-century space, even if mid-century modern is losing favor. Take cues from this Sydney home and go for natural wood, green hues, and clean-lined furnishings.

10. Add a touch of boho with colorful throw pillows
Arlyn Hernandez’s room beautifully mixes modern, traditional, and contemporary design elements, but her throw pillows, blanket, and rug add comfort and bohemian touch. In a well-designed living space, modern and boho are not mutually exclusive.

11. Allow your natural wood to breathe.
Natural materials work well in modern homes, which also have a lot of exposed wood. Instead of painting the fireplace mantel, walls, or windows, consider refinishing them. Emily Henderson did just that in her modern mountain house living room, and it transformed the space.

12. Consider a Plinth Table.
The beautiful marble plinth table, in our view, is the stand-out feature in Julie and Matt Stephenson’s monochromatic home. Create your color palette around the neutral hues in a beautiful marble piece like this to go full-on modern.

13. Settle on a tonal color scheme
With a current tonal color palette, you can carry your classic aesthetic into the twenty-first century. Don’t be afraid to use a dark blue or green on the walls, as seen in this Dulux home featured on We Are Scout. Since you can shop for pieces in a tightly edited, tonal palette, it will make furnishing a lot easier.

14. Use Accent Chairs to Experiment
As seen in Mel Burstin’s Silverlake home, several of today’s living rooms feature a more modern style sofa with accent chairs from a different age. The rounded chairs complement the linear sofa, coffee table, and shelving unit nicely.

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