From interior design styles to chic colour ideas, discover these simple and achievable living room ideas.
What makes a living room modern? A modern living room can be defined as a space that’s welcoming, functional, and inviting for everyone. Far from the stereotypical cold and austere looks that come to mind, modern living rooms are now characterised by clean lines and uncluttered spaces which you and the whole family can relax in.
Since the term ‘modern’ can mean so many things, a modern living room can now range from minimalist, bold and colourful to luxe and monochromatic. Whether you’re looking to update your living room with relaxing textures or want to add a touch of the unexpected, these 20 stylish tips will help you achieve your desired aesthetic.
After you’re done reading our styling tips, browse our range of modern sofas to get started on decorating your modern living room.
When decorating a modern living room, prioritise clean lines and clear surfaces for a fresh and inviting space. Choose contemporary furniture with clean silhouettes which helps with the visual flow of the room; the more floor space that’s visible, the more spacious and airy the room feels. Focus on simple lines or chic curves for other items like a standing lamp, floor-to-ceiling cabinets or an entertainment centre to tie the room together.
Colours can make or break a space when it comes to interior design. So here’s a failsafe tip on how to plan your palette just right - the 60-30-10 colour rule. The main colour should take up 60% of the room and anchor the space, setting the tone for what’s to come. Typically, this would include the walls, a large area rug, or a prominent piece of furniture.
Then, bring in a secondary shade for visual interest and contrast, and limit it to 30% of the space. Add this colour with curtains or additional furniture like ottomans and coffee tables. The remaining 10% would be your chosen accent colour that ‘pops’ in contrast to everything else.
With more time spent at home, the separation between work and rest can blur. This has led to the rise of broken plan living where zones are created in an open plan layout to create smaller, more purposeful spaces. Turn a corner or alcove in your living into your work area if you lack office or study space. Zone the area with wall tiles to create a spot that’s distinct from the rest of the room. Choose tiles in a pattern and colour that sets the tone for productivity. Position the sofa away from your desk to highlight the separation between work and rest.
If painting your walls isn't an option for your living room (because your rental doesn’t allow it), ‘glow up’ with wallpaper. They come in a plethora of colours and are also a stress-free way to experiment with patterns or colour-blocking. Selecting a wallpaper colour palette sets the tone for what’s to come. A cool grey is great for a modern coastal interior, while sticking to a bright off-white is perfect for a minimalist Scandi vibe.
Trends come and go but a timeless sofa will always anchor the room. Go for modern sofas with sleek silhouettes and clean, structured lines for a contemporary feel. And when it comes to colour, you can never go wrong with neutrals, black, or white. A chic neutral sofa can easily be dressed up with pillows, an area rug, or by introducing a fresh wall colour.
For those who love black accents and raw finishes, modern industrial décor might be right up your street. This is the perfect interior style to mix wood and metal accents such as contrasting wooden flooring with a black metal coffee table. Stick to sleek and simple silhouettes with sharp finishes for a curated look. To soften these accents, choose a modern leather sofa for a slick yet cosy feel.
Even though clean lines are associated with modern interiors, introducing curves to your living room will add an elegant touch to the overall look. Break up the clean lines of the room with the gentle curves of a recliner sofa for a soothing, gentle feel. If you prefer to add curves in small doses, accessorise with a round side table, mirrors, or modern lighting.
Metallic finishes are an understated way to add luxe accents to a modern living room. For example, add a touch of glamour with dramatic lighting like a structural chandelier or a statement coffee table with metallic legs. Pick between gold, copper, or chrome and stick with one tone per room to avoid overwhelming the senses.
Modern living rooms don’t have to be stark and cold, they can be warm and inviting with the right textures. Go for soft upholstery like bouclé, velvet, leather, or linen when choosing a sofa. Dress up your sofa with cushions and throws that contrast your sofa upholstery for an elegant, natural look. Complement the sofa with a soft rug for an elegant yet snug feel.
Add a touch of the unexpected to your modern living room with a painted ceiling. If you choose lighter hues it will help open up the room while picking a darker shade makes your living room feel more warm and polished. Picking an invigorating colour such as green brings a fresh and sophisticated look. Keep the walls white and go for a contemporary grey sofa and metallic finishes to ground the room.
Incorporating storage and shelving into your living room not only allows you to keep your belongings safely but can also make a sophisticated statement when done right. If you have an alcove, a good tip would be to curate what you would like to display whether it’s books or home accessories. Take the opportunity to highlight your personality and interior style through what you display. For example, if your living room has a neutral colour palette complement the look with neutral vases or colour-coordinated bookshelves
Liven up your modern living room with indoor greenery. The type of plants that you pick can definitely bring their own vibe to the room. For example, adding a monstera plant (or two) to your modern living room will instantly give it a tropical or modern boho feel. If you want to direct attention upwards, hang creepers like money plants for a fresh and airy look. For those who want to go all out, group them according to height or size.
Bring a timeless touch to your modern living room with wooden textures. Opt for a wood slat feature wall to set the mood. Depending on the vibe you’re going for, light or oak wood will make the living room feel more open and spacious while dark wood creates a welcoming vibe and warms up the room, especially in winter. Match the wood slats with wooden flooring and a walnut coffee table. Add light contrast with a light grey sofa and small pops of colour with relaxing accessories.
While neutrals remain popular, choosing a jewel tone palette is a bold way to shake up a modern living room. Use these jewel tones to inject a deep and vibrant feel to your living room with their luxurious undertone. Take your pick from gemstone-inspired hues like sapphire blue, burgundy red, topaz yellow, or emerald green for your walls and match the look with a sofa in the same colour. The tip here is to balance with neutral colours or soothing textures to prevent the jewel tones from overwhelming the room.
Blending east meets west design, Japandi has been a mainstay trend for the past few years and shows no signs of dying down. Start with a light and neutral colour palette like beige, cream, or off-white. When choosing furniture and flooring, go for natural textures like wood, cotton, or jute for a soothing effect. Focus on the ‘less is more’ concept when incorporating this style into your living room as it prioritises minimalism and clutter-free spaces.
A decor style known for its glamour and decadence, Art Deco interiors are all about standing out and making a bold statement. A key element of this style is the clever use of geometric patterns and symmetrical motifs incorporated into the interior and architecture. Introduce geometric patterns through furniture, wallpaper, or chic tiling to jazz up your modern living room interior. Contrast these patterns with luxe textures like a velvet armchair and brass or chrome accessories to complete the look
Monochrome is all the rage now with its clean palette and is a sure winner in a modern living room. Simply meaning all-one colour, the modern iteration of this is to focus on an all-neutral palette. Start with off-white or cream walls for a soft, comforting backdrop. Layer the room with black and grey accents in different textures such as a grey armchair and a black cushion. Add visual interest by curating and contrasting accessories such as curved vases and abstract artwork. The key here is to draw attention to the clean lines and gentle curves while adding richness and subtle depth to your interior.
Light and airy colour palettes aren’t for everyone and if you favour darker, moodier colours, a modern living room is a great place to experiment. Create a cocoon-like effect with dramatic walls using a shade like burgundy or navy blue. Add sharp contrast with black to keep the bold look going by choosing a leather sofa and sleek coffee table. Bring in light touches such as a cosy rug and colourful artwork to soften the look.
If pops of colour aren’t enough for you, go all out with a gallery wall. This is the perfect opportunity to showcase your personality or interests to everyone. Choose a theme for your gallery wall to get started, it can be your own personal artwork, a series of photographs from your travels, or even curated family photos. Map out a layout for how you want to arrange your gallery wall before hanging up the frames. Go for an asymmetric layout for an eclectic feel.
Do you want to give your classic fireplace a modern touch? Paint it black for a timeless but contemporary feel. Pick a contrasting colour palette like light pastel hues when decorating around it to make the fireplace a focal point. Go for modern silhouettes to juxtapose the fireplace like a stylish armchair with clean lines, glam lighting, or accessories.
We hope these modern living room ideas inspire you to update your living room. As a décor style that’s timeless and extremely versatile, it can be introduced to all parts of the home. Check out our modern dining room style guide for more décor ideas and tips.