Modern Living Room Designs and Features That Make Them Special?

Modern living room designs are easy to identify because they have a certain look? Modern living rooms are characterized by a series of key features that set a certain type of ambiance.

Modern Living RoomView in gallery

By exploring some of the distinctive features of modern living room designs you can see how best to use these elements in your interior design.

Arranging A Modern Living Room

Arranging A Modern Living RoomView in gallery

Decorating and arranging a modern living room is much like setting up any style of living room. You want to have a focal point, which is most likely the sofa, a fireplace wall or some other large, striking element in the room.

From there, everything else should work with and around that main piece.

Modern Living Room Trends

Modern high ceilings living room metalic mantel for fireplaceView in gallery

As we know, design trends come and go, even for modern living rooms. With the shifts that have happened in home life in recent years, some of the fresh trends reflect those sensibilities. Here are a few trends that can easily fit into a modern living space.

Calm Colors

This is easy to incorporate into a modern living room ideas because this type of space is already focused on neutrals and monochromatic palettes. Try branching out to some pale earthy tones for a calm vibe.

Outdoor Elements

This is one thing that never goes out of style in any living room. Instead of trying to make the space look like a 1970s Boho den, try adding select plants or nods to the outdoors. Choose a statement planter, a larger potted tree or a green wall design.

 Also, a large piece of wood from a downed tree can be a natural sculpture. Or, find a coffee table design that has a natural element as its base.

A Global Focus

You might not think that this would mesh with modern living room design, but it can. Choose furnishings, art or a statement accessory that reflects a global feel and they will change the living room overall.

Modern Parisian

Parisian Modern is a great way to add modern living room ideas in a traditional home. Transfer the monochromatic color scheme into the space but focus on decorative molding, the wood floor and a statement ceiling light fixture.

Keep the main elements minimalist but add in a Parisian twist, like a big gilded mirror against the wall or on the fireplace mantel.

Features of a modern living room

There are some elements that distinguish a modern living room from other interior decor styles. First, these spaces often highlight an architectural feature or special element in the room.

The overall look in these living rooms is for the most part linear and angular, with few curves and no ornate embellishments. 

In addition, a modern living room has a minimalist aesthetic. There’s no clutter, everything looks streamlined and clean.

Moreover, any natural light in the room takes center stage because there are no heavy window treatments and likely none at all.

Still not exactly clear on what these features look like?  Check out these examples.

Open Floor Plan

Modern high ceilings living room metalic mantel for fireplaceView in gallery

First of all, most modern living rooms have an open floor plan. This is the cornerstone of modern design in most living spaces.

These living rooms are connected to areas such as the kitchen or the dining room. The arrangement allows them to feel open, bright and spacious. Monochromatic living rooms almost always feel sophisticated.

The separate spaces are often visually delineated in ways that don’t use traditional walls. Partial walls, conversation areas marked by rugs and different types of artful room dividers are all options.


  • Traffic flow is better
  • Flexible, multifunctional room
  • Better lighting flow through the whole space


  • Heating and cooling cost more
  • Tidiness is paramount to the modern vibe
  • Lack of privacy can be an issue

Dramatic Focal Point

Modern high ceilings living room metalic mantel for fireplaceView in gallery

Also, you can tell that a living room has a modern design by the type of focal point it features. For example, a modern fireplace will definitely stand out.

Despite having a minimalist design and no mantel, this fireplace still takes center stage. The tall partial wall and long hearth with extensions dominate this part of the space.


  • Instant statement maker
  • Makes decorating easier


  • Can be expensive
  • You might get tired of it
  • If it’s structural, it can be an issue for resale.

Oversized Windows

Modern high ceilings living room metalic mantel for fireplaceView in gallery

Huge, floor-to-ceiling glass walls and windows are another important characteristic of a modern living room in general.

In the case of the living room, they emphasize the views and let in plenty of natural light. 

Moreover, with such large windows, it’s a crime to cover them up. Hence, unless privacy is a concern, most modern living room ideas don’t have visible window coverings. For privacy, opt for shades that roll up and out of sight.

Note how a big space can have an equally large cocktail table.


  • Lots of natural light
  • Fabulous Views
  • An open feeling that adds an unparalleled vibe


  • Lack of privacy
  • Needs regular cleaning to look good
  • Too hot without shade or thermal insulation

Big Art

Modern high ceilings living room metalic mantel for fireplaceView in gallery

Oversized wall art is super popular in modern design. In general, large pieces of art can elevate the look of a space without requiring a lot of other planning or effort. It’s a “one and done” kind of addition to a modern living room.

In the case of an open plan living space, one such piece is enough to make the whole volume look modern and sophisticated.

Large art makes a much bigger impact than numerous small works.


  • Instant focal point
  • Adds color in a chic way


  • Expensive to buy
  • Hard to rearrange

Select Wood Furnishings

Modern high ceilings living room metalic mantel for fireplaceView in gallery

Wood furniture is not a characteristic element of modern décor. In fact, it usually defines traditional or rustic decor. However, you can tell that a specific piece is modern by its design which is simply clean and eye-catching. This coffee table is a good example.

In fact, midcentury modern furniture features plenty of wood, but it is all straight lines, angles and smooth surfaces.


  • Wood goes with everything
  • Adds warmth to a space
  • Durable and versatile


  • Can be scratched
  • Can warp or swell in humid environments

Simplicity and Comfort

Modern high ceilings living room metalic mantel for fireplaceView in gallery

The focus in a modern living room is on comfort and simplicity. Consequently, a sofa or a sectional is, first of all, very comfortable. In most cases, it’s also modular and space-efficient.

The focus is not always on looks or intricate little details as in the case of other styles. In this case, it is the typical sprawling, cushy sectional you would expect in modern decor. Instead of a traditional cocktail table, this one features a grouping of smaller occasional tables. {found on apartmenttherapy}.


  • Comfort means you’ll use the space more
  • Simplicity means it’s easy to maintain


  • Some may get bored with the lack of detail
  • A large sectional can limit room arrangement options

Casual Vibes

Modern high ceilings living room metalic mantel for fireplaceView in gallery

While it is possible to have a modern living room be formal, a lot of modern homes have a very casual ambiance.

The framed wall art is sometimes just leaning against the wall instead of being attached to it. The way shapes and textures combine is really great and nothing in the living room feels overdone or contrived. {found on kennedynolan}.


  • Casual spaces will get more daily use
  • The whole family can use the room


  • Might feel more like a family room and not special enough for guests
  • Family clutter can be an issue

A Visual Statement

Modern high ceilings living room metalic mantel for fireplaceView in gallery

Pretty much every modern living room features one eye-catching element and that statement piece that makes it stand out. This can be anything from an actual living tree to a painting or a sculptural piece of furniture.

Without the large tree in this living room, the fireplace would be the focal point. However, the tree dominates the space.


  • Is a real conversation-starter
  • Drives the rest of the decor


  • Can be an issue for resale
  • Limits redecoration options

Bold Accents

Modern high ceilings living room metalic mantel for fireplaceView in gallery

White and neutral colors are very popular for a modern living room, but you’ll also find bold pops in many cases.

The use of bold accent colors and unconventional forms and combinations of materials and textures is also something to take into consideration when designing a modern living room.


  • Helps the decor stand out
  • Brings neutrals to life
  • Easy to change


  • Some find the pops of color jolting

Iconic Additions

Modern high ceilings living room metalic mantel for fireplaceView in gallery

Modern and classic work well together. That’s why a lot of modern living spaces include iconic pieces of furniture such as the Eames lounge chair or a vintage cocktail table.

The timeless beauty and elegance of these recognizable pieces are what allow the living room to retain its modern flair.


  • Easy to mix with other pieces
  • Never go out of style


  • Original vintage is expensive

Bright Atmosphere

Modern high ceilings living room metalic mantel for fireplaceView in gallery

A key characteristic of modern living spaces is their simple, casual and fresh look. This is achieved through bright colors, functional designs and the right combination of materials. For a small modern living room, this is a great tactic.

A neutral living room does not have to be boring. Something unexpected helps a great deal. Here, written artwork hung vertically instead is a quirky addition.

This coffee table could also be considered unexpected because it has a definite industrial vibe.


  • Brings in lots of light
  • Makes the space unique


  • Many people prefer a more coordinated look
  • Quirkiness can be challenging

Other Styles

Modern high ceilings living room metalic mantel for fireplaceView in gallery

And even though it can seem odd, many modern homes also include elements of other styles. Thus, you can have industrial, rustic and contemporary features in the same space.

This makes for a very intriguing living room decor scheme. However, as long as the modern elements prevail, the situation doesn’t change.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

What is a modern living room style?

Modern living room style skips bold colors and focuses on muted tones. Colors like navy, olive green, or earthy tones are common. White is always a classic as are ever-popular neutrals. However, some people still prefer bold pops of color in a modern living room.

What makes a room modern?

The modern style in general sticks to a color scheme that is monochromatic. The decor focuses on minimalism, natural materials, clean lines and plenty of natural light. At its core is a historical era that started in the early 20th Century, popularizing this type of aesthetic.

What is modern interior design?

Modern style often focuses on monochrome living rooms. The elements in the room have clean lines and there is plenty of natural light. Moreover, modern design must involve minimalism to create the right look. In fact, this style is connected to the aesthetic movement from the early to mid-twentieth century.

What do you put in a modern living room?

There are loads of ideas for decorating a modern living room, but all of them will revolve around minimalism. A lack of clutter and clean lines are key. After that, try incorporating elements like an oversized lamp, a large work of art or sculpture, elements from the outdoors an unobtrusive window treatment, if you use any at all.

How can I utilize a small living room?

Even a small living room can be a modern one. Stuck to a minimalist aesthetic when choosing furniture and keep all the elements cohesive. If possible use as many built-ins as you can and opt for wall lights instead of table and floor lamps. Finally, choose light wall colors.

How do I modernize my living room?

The easiest way to make a big impact is to repaint the space and rearrange the furniture. Try restyling your storage too. Then, add something whimsical to the space, find a fresh new coffee table and pare down the knick-knacks and conquer the clutter. Less is definitely more.

Why do people have sunken living rooms?

People started incorporating sunken living rooms in an effort to create a more intimate space within a large open plane. Sunken living rooms have not been popular in recent decades, but they are seeing a revival.


Modern living rooms have great appeal because of their clean lines, comfortable furniture and minimalist aesthetic. The increasing desire to declutter and streamline life at home is also driving the popularity of this design style. Many options exist for incorporating modern design in a living room, so you can find a way to make this work in your own home.