Modern Living Room Concepts That Raise The Bar

The modern living room never stops evolving. Today, the space is different than it was 20 years ago. Regardless of inherent purpose, living rooms possess features that capture ambiance and mood.

Christine Turknett of Breathe Design Studio homeowners should use trendy colors in easily-updated places. “Green is the color of the year, but I would stray from purchasing furniture in colors like avocado or lime green.”

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.

Modern Living Room Designs For 2022

The following living room designs were handpicked by our team of interior design experts. Each layout will help you find inspiration to create a modern living room for your home.

Focal Point

Arranging A Modern Living RoomView in gallery

Decorating and arranging a modern living room is much like setting up any living room. You want to have a focal point, like the sofa, a fireplace wall or large, striking element From there, everything else should work around the main piece.

Colors

Modern high ceilings living room metalic mantel for fireplaceView in gallery

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.

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

Modern Parisian offers contemporary ideas in a traditional home. Infuse a monochromatic color scheme into the space, but focus on decorative molding, the wood floor, and a statement ceiling light fixture.

The main elements should be kept at a minimum. Add a Parisian twist, like a gilded mirror against the wall or on the fireplace mantel.

Modern Living Room Features

You need to be aware of the elements that distinguish a modern living room from other interior decor styles. The spaces highlight architectural features. Living rooms have linear and angular designs, with few curves and ornate embellishments. 

Open Floor Plan

Modern high ceilings living room metalic mantel for fireplaceView in gallery

Modern living rooms have an open floor plan. The concept is the cornerstone of modern design among most living spaces. Living rooms are connected to kitchens or dining rooms. The arrangement allows them to feel open, bright and spacious. Monochromatic living offer a sophisticated feel.

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.

Pros 

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

Cons

  • 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.

Pros

  • Instant statement maker
  • Makes decorating easier

Cons

  • 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 characteristic of a modern living room. The views are emphasized with plenty of natural light. With large windows, it’s a crime to cover them. Unless privacy is a concern, most modern living room ideas don’t have visible window coverings.

If privacy is a goal, install shades that roll up and aren’t in view when they’re not being used.  

Pros

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

Cons

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

Wall Art

Modern high ceilings living room metalic mantel for fireplaceView in gallery

Among living room features, large wall art is a popular modern design feature. Large art pieces elevate a space’s appearance without requiring more planning or effort. It’s a “one and done” kind of addition to a modern living room.

With open plan living rooms, one piece is all it takes to make the space look modern and sophisticated.

Also, don’t ignore the impact of a lamp. If you want an ambient setting, choose a lamp with an opaque lampshade. If you want a bright atmosphere, you’ll need a lamp with a translucent lampshade. 

Pros

  • Instant focal point
  • Adds color in a chic way

Cons

  • 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 main feature of modern décor, but it defines traditional or rustic decor. However, you can tell a specific piece is modern by its design if it’s clean and eye-catching. In this example, the coffee table achieves modern aesthetic.

Mid-century modern furniture features wood, but it has straight lines, angles, and smooth surfaces.

Pros

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

Cons

  • 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}.

Pros

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

Cons

  • 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}.

Pros

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

Cons

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

Visual Statement

Modern high ceilings living room metalic mantel for fireplaceView in gallery

Every modern living room features one eye-catching element and that statement piece that makes it stand out. Use a living tree, painting or a sculptural furniture piece.

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

Pros

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

Cons

  • Can be an issue for resale
  • Limits redecoration options

Bold Accents

Modern high ceilings living room metalic mantel for fireplaceView in gallery

A neutral color palette is the preferred choice for a modern living room. You’ll also find bold colors are good, depending on your environment and the modern look you want to achieve. 

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.

Pros

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

Cons

  • Some find the pops of color jolting

Iconic Additions

Modern high ceilings living room metalic mantel for fireplaceView in gallery

Modern and classic are an effective pair. The colors are used for art deco spaces and help create visual interest. Modern living spaces include iconic furniture pieces like an Eames lounge chair or a vintage cocktail table.

Pros

  • Easy to mix with other pieces
  • Always in style

Cons

  • 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. Bright colors, designs, and a balanced combination of natural materials.

Neutral living rooms do not have to be boring. With this example, vertically hanging art offers a quirky addition. The coffee table could also be considered unexpected because it has a definite industrial vibe.

Pros

  • Provides more light
  • Makes the space unique

Cons

  • Many prefer a coordinated look
  • Quirkiness can be challenging

Other Styles

Modern high ceilings living room metalic mantel for fireplaceView in gallery

It might seem odd, but you can include industrial, rustic, and contemporary features in the same living space. When balanced properly, an intriguing decor scheme is created. 

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.

Are Fireplaces Good For A Living Room?

The problem with some fireplaces is how the heat they project will travel directly to the ceiling. Also, if the back of a fireplace is flat, a percentage of the radiant heat it produces will escape from the chimney.

Modern Living Room Conclusion

Modern living rooms are appealing because of their clean lines, furniture, and aesthetic. The desire to declutter and streamline life at home is driving the design style.

Many options exist when creating a modern design in a living room. Even with a small space there are ways you can transform your living room into a modern setting.