There are a lot of different components to what makes up a modern style living room. Furniture, lighting, accessories and decor all need to work together to make a cohesive design style. But how much you incorporate of any one style is really up to you. With a few design ideas, you’ll be able to find that sweet spot in your modern living room design.
Get In Shape
Repeating shapes, like curves, geometric outlines or circles, in your furniture selections creates a sense of cohesion and high design, but in a subtle way. Choosing a few high quality, coordinated items and minimizing the color palette to a few set shades can help to emphasize that continuity of form as well.
Look to the Horizon
A classic building block of mid-century modern design is incorporating horizontal lines in the decor. Add them to a bold feature wall, or choose a slatted sideboard. Mix and match these stripey stunners in the room on different components, varying widths of the spaces and thickness of the boards, or mirror those lines in an area rug.
Using a warm, calming paint for your walls is a great way to add color without it overwhelming the space. Look for soothing tones, just a step richer than neutral, that are not too harsh or bright. Choose living room accessories like pillows and light fixtures that emphasize and bring out the tones in the paint as well.
Set the Room’s Colors
In a large, open living room it’s important to make the space feel pulled together as a cohesive whole. Select a few statement pieces, like a geometric coffee table or unusually shaped accent chair, but keep them in color tones that fit a set palette. The harmony in color lets unique items stand out, but still feel like an organic part of the design.
A key feature of industrial-modern design is letting the room take center stage. Whether that’s a large brick or concrete wall or exposed pipes or beams, these architectural elements are an integral part of the overall design. Add furniture pieces that play off the colors, like a black sofa and gray rug, to coordinate with exposed concrete.
Mix It Up
Add personality to a room with accessories that fit the design aesthetic but provide a variation in texture: Metal lounge chairs can contrast with natural wood elements, plush rugs contrast with the smoothness of terra cotta pots. Incorporate a mix of natural materials and manmade objects to give the room depth and complexity.
Pick and Choose
Go mid-century modern without looking like you’re on the set of Mad Men. Pick a few standout pieces, like an Eames-style lounge chair or Noguchi table, then fill in the rest of the room with streamlined contemporary accessories in a neutral palette. The simpler designs serve as a backdrop for the showstopper pieces.
Keep it in the Family
Make a small living room look put-together with coordinating pieces, like a coffee table and side table from the same design collection. Counter boxy modern elements with a small-scale, traditional-style sofa, made a bit more contemporary with simple, modern legs.
Build Contrasting Layers
While a streamlined modern living room design means keeping elements as simple as possible, using varying materials in interesting textures is a great way to add a lot of visual interest without adding clutter. Woven couch fabric, thick pile rugs, exposed brick, and natural woods and metals all work together and give a room subtle but striking design detail.
What’s Your Definition?
Large open-plan spaces are airy and mega modern, but can be challenging to furnish. Make the design successful by defining different areas with furniture and accessories. Large area rugs help segment out the floor plan into different “rooms,” while low-backed sofas and TV consoles help define the borders of each area without closing it in.
Soften the Edges
Large concrete walls can be amazing, but they can also be overpowering. Temper the harshness of it by coordinating the color of your furniture, like a couch, with the gray of the wall, but in a plush, inviting upholstery. Use other materials, like large artwork and large, lush house plants to break up the expanse of hard gray.
Keep Chaos Contained
In a clean, streamlined mid-century modern design, you want to keep as much of the clutter of modern living hidden away. A style-appropriate slatted TV console is great for tucking modern electronic components out of the way, but still allows remotes and other electronics to function properly.
Choose the Deluxe Option
Successfully designing a modern formal living room is about selecting sleek furniture and high-quality finishes with a big wow factor. Look for materials with a luxe feel like marble, silk, chrome, mirrors and glass. A limited neutral palette brings the room together, and also serves as a backdrop for large statement art. Use a reflective TV cover to hide the screen for an even more polished appearance.
Beyond the Pale
Room paint doesn’t have to be stark white to reflect natural light. Bluish whites, light tan, greenish whites and all lighter ends of the color spectrum are great options as well. Mixing different light-toned colors gives a room a subtle depth while still keeping it bright and airy.
Get on Island Time
To give a room an island vibe, look for pieces in organic materials like cane, rope, bamboo, rattan and wicker. Offset these natural, neutral tones with live plants and greenery. Darker furniture will give a more Polynesian/South Pacific aesthetic, where lighter tones will feel more beachy and Caribbean.
By the Beautiful Sea
Bring the beach in by embracing colors of the sea. Soft blues contrasted with bright whites give a crisp, oceanic feel. Choose furniture in creams, ivories and natural-colored wood, then tie it all together with nautical-style pendant lights. You’ll get just a hint of the seaside, while still feeling modern and airy.
Build Up Your Storage
Built-in shelves and cabinets are a great way to maximize storage in a small living space. Having them evenly spaced consistently throughout the room gives you plenty of bookshelves to showcase featured items while cabinet doors hide clutter. Build them floor-to-ceiling to make low ceilings feel higher.
Modern Simplified Classics
If you love a good rocker but don’t think they fit in with modern style, think again. New rocking chair designs get an ultramodern twist with a simplified silhouette, slim cushions and a sleek metal frame.
Big and Bold
An oversized shelving unit can become a design statement with care and planning. Where your items are placed can be as important as which items are displayed. Group like clusters together, add in-shelf lighting and curate your featured pieces for a dramatic focal point.
Blend and Contrast
For a well-designed rustic-industrial-modern room, look for opportunities to contrast textures and materials. The natural tones of a rich leather sofa and a shaggy faux-fur rug are juxtaposed by industrial steel shelves and angular lighting fixtures. Blending organic elements gives a richness and warmth to the room, softening the cold metal elements.
Simple, clean lines, high-quality craftsmanship and an emphasis on functionality are some of the key elements of a modern living room design. The level you incorporate the different components into your modern living room depends completely on your personal taste, but keeping those ideas in mind will help keep the room feeling put together and intentionally crafted.