December 17, 2020

How to design a contemporary living room

Learn how to design a contemporary living room with top ideas, tips, and tricks to capture the look and create an inviting space you'll love.

Learn how to design a contemporary living room with top ideas, tips, and tricks to capture the look and create an inviting space you'll love.

With soothing colors, clean lines, and smooth surfaces, what’s not to love about a beautiful contemporary living room? A timeless style, contemporary decorating takes a light-handed approach that ensures your space will never feel dated.

It’s not difficult to create a calming and serene contemporary living room that invites you and your guests to sit down, relax, and enjoy good conversation. We’ll help you find the perfect contemporary style for your home, with ideas, tips, and tricks to capture the look and create an inviting space you’ll love.

What is contemporary style?

Often confused with modern and mid-century modern design, contemporary style encompasses looks developed in the latter half of the 20th century and beyond. It’s a fluid design — all about innovation and change — with influences from various cultures and styles. Contemporary furniture features rounded and softened lines, whereas modern furniture often focuses on sharp angles and stark lines.

These beautiful interiors use neutral elements mixed with bold color, focusing on the basics of shape, form, and line. With dynamic and daring looks that push boundaries and play with light, interior designers worldwide praise contemporary style for its ability to break away from traditional decor with elegance.

Contemporary living room design basics

contemporary living room: Chaviano Tufted Upholstered Sofa Pearl White

Whether you want more of a minimalist living room look or something more glam, contemporary furniture and accents can help you create it. It’s all about picking the right lighting, materials, colors, furniture, and lines. Keep reading for essential elements that will help you bring your design ideas to life.

Look for eye-catching lighting

Lighting is often used as an artistic centerpiece in contemporary spaces. In the living room, floor and table lamps are a must. They often feature sleek metallic finishes and straight lines, and maybe a bold shade introducing bright colors to the look. Recessed spotlights are also commonly used to highlight art and decor.

Try a sculptural pendant light or chandelier that doubles as an artwork focal point, or LED lights as a border around your ceiling. Make the lighting in your living room as visually attractive as possible and stick to one or two finishes to prevent clashing.

Favor calm colors

It’s a common misconception that contemporary decor relies solely on white. Many contemporary palettes focus on neutral colors and earthy neutrals like white, grey, black, cream, taupe, and brown, punctuated by a bright color to set the space’s visual temperature and mood.

For example, you could try a grey, tan, and white living room with a blue accent wall to break up the white walls. Add a striking area rug or piece of wall art in blue to complete the look.

Keep your color choices confident, and don’t shy away from contrast, which is a staple of the style. For example, black and white is a powerful combination that makes frequent appearances in many contemporary homes. Bold colors with interesting contradictions or a monochrome approach are more than welcome in a contemporary living room, too.

Use natural textiles

Cotton, wool, linen, and silk are examples of natural fabrics common in contemporary spaces. These textiles are favored for their textures and neutral tones. You might introduce bold colors or eye-catching patterns to the living area with throw pillows, an area rug, or a blanket.

Even if you’re drawn to the minimalist side of contemporary design, use fabrics to introduce layers of texture to your living room. You could do this with soft and supple accent pillows arranged on a tufted couch or floor-to-ceiling ripple fold curtains, for example.

Add sleek furniture

contemporary living room: Avonlea 2-Piece Upholstered Sloped Arm Living Room Set Off White

Contemporary living room furniture features smooth surfaces and clean lines. Carvings and adornments are typically omitted, and silhouettes are slim but rarely dainty. Most furniture is made from light woods like birch and maple, clear and frosted glass, and metals like nickel, chrome, and stainless steel.

Marble is another popular choice in contemporary interiors. Smooth, strong furniture with a marble finish will almost always fit in with a contemporary living room. But too many finishes and shapes can create a confused look, so pick a theme with colors and materials to use throughout the room.

Mix it up with varied lines

Varied lines are a must in a contemporary living room. Unlike modern design, contemporary style mixes soft curves with clean lines to make the design more aesthetically appealing.

For example, you might use a sofa and ottoman set with soft lines and then add an edgy pendant light that commands attention with a crisp, straight profile. For a pop of visual interest, add a geometric rug and floor-to-ceiling ripple fold curtains.

Accent with metal

If you love metallic accents, you’re in luck. Contemporary style living rooms can work well with metals like brass or silver. Retro-inspired table lamps, floor lamps, coffee tables, and more can add character to your living area — think furniture trimmed with wide metallic bases, mirrored tables with metal edging, or a gold marbled accent wall.

Not a fan of metallic home decor? Incorporate this element sparingly for a toned-down effect. For example, try a chair with exposed silver legs or a set of matching brushed nickel lamps.

Contemporary living room furniture you’ll love

We’ve highlighted some of our favorite contemporary furniture to make your family room shine. With high-quality pieces like these, you’ll be able to bring your decorating ideas to life.

3-Piece Coffee Table and Stools Set

contemporary living room: 3-Piece Coffee Table And Stools Set Cappuccino

This three-piece coffee table and stool set oozes contemporary charm with sinuous curves and a serpentine silhouette. It features a sleek chrome and cappuccino finish on the table and added storage in the upholstered stools, making them great for large and small spaces alike. Whether you have a small living room or plenty of space, this table and stool set is sure to elevate your living room decor.

Cecelia Power 2 Sectional With Headrest

Cecelia Power^2 Sectional With Headrest White

With an inspiring and efficient design, this power sectional sofa will energize any contemporary space. The sectional is wrapped in ivory upholstery to create a light and airy feel, with design features like power motion, power headrests, and a USB port to charge your devices. It’s perfect for anyone who’s ever wanted a leather or faux leather sofa with slick features for modern living.

5-Light Floor Lamp With Curvy Dome Shades

5-Light Floor Lamp With Curvy Dome Shades Chrome And Black

Add a touch of luxe lighting to your living room with this chrome and black floor lamp. This domed design features smooth metal shades affixed to a curved frame, with a simple black base to add sturdy support. With a kick of vintage inspiration, this lamp will have any contemporary living room glowing. It could also work well in a contemporary minimalist living room.

Square Accent Table

Square Accent Table White And Gold

This square accent table is a blend of classic and contemporary. With a white marble top and metallic gold frame, your contemporary living room will dazzle with this end table beside the sofa or recliner. If you love the look, you can add a geometric white marble and gold finish coffee table to complete the set.

Channel Tufted Chaise

Channel Tufted Chaise White

This comfy contemporary chaise is as soft and luxurious as it is beautiful. With textured faux sheepskin upholstery and a brilliant white finish, it’s a perfect fit for most contemporary living areas. The chrome stainless steel base features a U-shaped design for sturdiness and a touch of glam, offering a look that’s sure to become a household favorite.

It’s time to dream up your living room interior design

If you’re ready to bring your living room ideas to life, use this guide to flex your home design muscles and pick a few stunning pieces of contemporary furniture. From low-profile modern living rooms to bright and bold living spaces, you’re limited only by your imagination. For more decor ideas, check out Coaster Furniture’s living room furniture and living room design guide.

Avonlea 2-piece Upholstered Sloped Arm Living Room Set Off White

Avonlea 2-piece Upholstered Sloped Arm Living Room Set Off White

Chaviano Tufted Upholstered Sofa Pearl White Chaviano Tufted Upholstered Sofa Pearl White - Hover
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Chaviano Tufted Upholstered Sofa Pearl White

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