December 15, 2022
The most important room in the contemporary home is the living room, which explains why we are always on the lookout for modern living room ideas. Not surprising since the living room is where we spend most of our waking hours while at home. As well as being the place where we entertain guests and visitors. With this article, we aim to offer you some modern living room ideas to help make the most of this very important room.
We have organised the different modern living room ideas into distinct categories: basic, décor, comfort, and colour, with a final part dedicated to modern small living room ideas. Through these considerations not only will you be able to create a modern-looking living room but also a modern-feeling living room.
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The difference between the terms contemporary and modern should be explained in the context of design. While contemporary refers to what’s current and happening right now the term modern is related to modernism and refers to a historical period in architecture and design. At the beginning of the 20th Century to be precise, when architects endeavoured to connect buildings and interiors to the other revolutionary changes that were happening around them.
The term modern today, however, still refers to fresh, youthful and clean lines in design. As a result, throughout this article, we will use the terms contemporary and modern in an interchangeable way.
There are certain aspects that are simply ‘a given’ with modern living room ideas. These are connected with the ‘modern lifestyle’ and changes in the way we occupy our homes. Natural light and spaciousness are a ‘must’ but even if you have a modest, small home the living room can be made to feel light and spacious. The open look can be achieved in several different ways including the following:
Floor-to-ceiling windows, roof lights and panoramic windows are wonderful for letting light in. However, even for rooms with fewer windows or smaller ones, the space can be made to seem lighter. We recommend using lighter colours on walls and upholstery to make the most of whatever light is available.
The most significant change in living habits in contemporary living rooms is that they are more often than not open plan. If your living room is a separate space create greater visibility with glass doors to connect to adjacent spaces, like the kitchen or dining area.
Another of the given criteria that has marked the evolution of the modern living room is its furniture, specifically the sofa. The dominance of the sofa is also explained by how habits of home entertainment have evolved. The sofa is king in the modern living room.
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To achieve the modern living room aesthetic, you don’t have to recreate a single, ubiquitous style of décor. Natural Interior Design, Retro Chic, Industrial Design etc. are all modern. All these very eclectic styles share some common characteristics which can be exploited to get the “modern look”.
Furniture arrangements in the living room can be configured in such a way as to look modern. The contemporary style of creating islands of furniture looks smart and works well in open-plan layouts. The idea is to group sofa and coffee table together, an armchair and a reading lamp, or a study corner with desk and shelving. Even a small living room can be made modern with simple grouping of the furniture elements.
Not only is natural lighting a fundamental element but artificial lighting is critical for creating a modern living room. With LEDs (light-emitting diodes) the options are endless and should enhance the architecture of the space. If there is no character to begin with, add it with LEDs.
To avoid the ‘cookie cutter’ look we recommend customising your living room with artwork and decorative objects. To be modern in the interior design sense means to be individual. So the more personal the better, however always make sure to get the balance right.
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Modern living room ideas include elements that are invisible as well as those that are visible to the eye. To be modern means to be aware of energy consumption in the home. It’s about air quality and thermal comfort, which includes stripping our homes of harmful chemicals and contaminants that can contribute to asthma and allergies. The following recommendations will help with both energy savings and creating healthier living rooms.
Remove carpets and replace unhealthy floor finishes with floor tiles for a quintessentially modern look. More so than any other finish porcelain tiles are hyper-antiallergenic and are free from artificial chemicals. Combine with under-floor heating for a clean aesthetic and for proven savings in heating bills.
The modern living room should be free from unsightly cables and visual clutter of all sorts. The smart living room is one where sensors control lighting, heating and entertainment systems are managed with apps. The savings in energy will repay the initial outlay and the look is ‘pure’ modern.
Another sometimes underappreciated aspect of the modern living room is air quality. This is connected to wellness and health generally. Specifically, and most importantly, having adequate ventilation. There are a number of ways to ensure sufficient ventilation and the requisite air changes:
The colour palette plays an important role in achieving the modern look. Some colours evoke a fresh and clean aesthetic, which is precisely what the modern living room should embody. The combination of several colours within the same family is recommended, but always with a dominant colour. Our preference is for a palette of cream or grey colours, because of their luminance and character.
Cream gets a bad press in the UK, often associated with magnolia in rental accommodation. But never underestimate cream, beige, off-white or oatmeal, these neutral shades can really make modern design shine.
This living room is a textbook example of a modern, open-plan, light-filled and spacious design. The colour palette only serves to underline everything that is modern about this living room.
The kitchen/living area combines clear timber tones and cream-coloured cabinets. Even the timber breakfast bar and marble worktop with cream-coloured veining work within the same palette. The overall effect is warmed with raw-coloured textiles and metal accents.
The high ceiling and expansive spaciousness in this living room, with floor-to-ceiling glazing, is made warmer through colour.
The organic tones of the timber effect floor tiles are also featured on walls. Together with the furniture and views over a planted garden, the overall look is organic and natural. The space feels warm despite its dimensions and modern aesthetic.
The colour grey is one of those colours that evoke timeless modern design. Even when we look at the colour grey used in historical contexts it has a freshness about it.
This modern living room softens the contrast between dark and light tones. The charcoal grey paint colour on the walls helps the matt and polished finishes to feel more unified. Notice how the metal, timber and glass accessories look like they belong. The overall effect is clean, characterful and still warm.
The grey metal window frames and shelving structure complement the beige and cream tones of the floor tiles in this modern living room. The grey tones of the upholstery, the accessories and the art objects do all the work here to make the space feel modern but living-in and welcoming.
If you don’t have a large living room space don’t despair, there are other ways to get the modern aesthetic in a small space. The most important thing to remember is to keep the décor clean, with minimalist lines and simple shapes for furniture and accessories. The following tips will make even the smallest of living room spaces feel modern:
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