12 Modern Living Room Ideas That Are Anything But Boring

From bold colors to minimalist furnishings, these modern living room ideas highlight thoughtful architectural details with contemporary style.

blue couch and blue rug in living room

Justin Coit

Modern decorating can feel intimidating, but it doesn't have to be. There are plenty of ways to make a modern style work for you and your living space. From reinventing how you use your living room to finding new and unexpected ways to call on existing decor, you don't need to do a full renovation to make your space more contemporary.

Start by considering how your favorite pieces can take starring roles, whether it’s a graphic piece of art or even a stunning window view, and center your design around it. From there, lean into pieces that speak to you. Whether your design style takes a more midcentury tone or skews more minimalist, the modern aesthetic can work well for just about any space. Take inspiration from our favorite modern living rooms and you'll be a certified homebody in no time. 

01 of 12

Create Conversation Seating

two red chairs in living room with wood floor

Kim Cornelison

Rethinking your living room doesn’t require wiping out all your furnishings and starting over, but reimagining how the space is laid out can be helpful. Skipping a central seating location, or even creating a secondary seating moment, can give your living room a more conversational or intimate feel. When creating a smaller seating area, consider investing in pieces that can be more impactful but might be too busy for more expansive layouts with more elements at play.  

02 of 12

Add a Living Room Accent Wall

living room with blue vertical stripe behind tv and fireplace

Kim Cornelison

Color play is all up to the eye of the beholder (or homeowner), and when it comes to your modern living space, even a statement block or punchy door can do the trick. Here a cobalt stripe highlights the media wall and fireplace while defining the flanking bookshelves at the same time. Because of the bold use of color, the primary furnishings in the room stick with a more subtle color palette. Use small decorative items to reinforce the accent wall color in order to create continuity in the space. 

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Modern White Living Room

white living room with wood floors and gray couch

Annie Schlechter

Whether your living room is large, small, or somewhere in the middle, utilize minimal furnishings to give your space a more modern feel. Here, a large sofa with a chaise and two arm chairs keeps the space feeling open due to the large square-footage. If you’re working with a smaller footprint, though, consider utilizing a color palette of light neutrals for decor, furnishings, and upholstery to create a similar airy effect.

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Keep Lines in Mind

blue couch and blue rug in living room

Justin Coit

Heavy furnishings with floor-grazing skirts and slip-covered cushions can quickly date your decor. Think about how you can keep the space feeling open and airy, even if you need a lot of seating or storage. Here, exposed legs on all the furnishings give the space a breezy feel that works well with the low-lying layout. With pieces that have low profiles, the focus remains on the indoor-outdoor feel by keeping the views from the windows and doors unobstructed. 

05 of 12

Modern Living Room Fireplace

Living Room with tiled fireplace and built-in desk

Chad R. Mellon

The key to modern living is ensuring you don’t get boxed in. If a more traditional living room layout doesn’t fit with your lifestyle, create a space that does. A sleek fireplace tiled from floor to ceiling gives a decidedly modern nod, but it’s the built-in desk space that makes this space functional. If you're embracing work-from-home life (even on a hybrid schedule), don’t feel like your home work station needs to be hidden away. Here it’s in full view, not only creating a more functional space, but a stylish one too.  

06 of 12

Add Color and Texture

living room with wood burning stove, gray couch, wood coffee table

Kim Cornelison

Upgrading the textures in a space are an easy way to embrace a modern design style. Here, the throw pillows, leather chairs, slipcovered sofas, and even a rustic coffee table are all high on interest and appeal. Keeping the walls and sofas white allows the colorful accents to take center stage. The decorative elements like the bold floral artwork, coffee table books, and knickknacks bring a warm, modern feel to a space that’s overflowing with personality. 

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Rethink the Open Concept

living room with wood floors and wood fire place

Lisa Romerein

If you’re dealing with a wide-open concept, you don’t have to go with larger-than-life furnishings in an effort to match the scale. Instead, let the architecture do the talking and keep your furnishings decidedly minimalistic to create a modern counterpoint. A massive dining table and expansive sectional could certainly fit in this shared living and dining space, but following the lead of the home's minimal style lends an airy, contemporary feel.

08 of 12

Maximalist Decor

living room with white couch and animal on the wall

Emily J. Followill

The quickest way to fill a blank wall is larger-than-life artwork. Here, a bold floral piece brings a modern edge to the space, softening the heavy coffee table and mounted stag head. Keep the color palette simple with pops of orange to ensure the room doesn’t feel too busy. If a large art piece isn't in your budget, create a gallery wall with coordinating colors.

09 of 12

Combine Modern and Traditional Styles

living room with wood floor and white rug with blue couches

David A. Land

Exposed beams, a statement ceiling, and brick fireplace set the groundwork for a space that skews modern with a few traditional nods. Creating a modern living room is all about designing a space that suits your tastes and lifestyle, while incorporating contemporary elements. The result is oftentimes a collection of treasures that skew more modern, but mix well with other eras, styles, and aesthetics too. Here, the teal upholstery and marble coffee table top give a fresh feel to traditional wood furniture legs.

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Don't Skip the Decor

living room with gray couch and bookshelf

Justin Coit

No space in your living room should be left untouched—or undesigned. Here, color-coded bookshelves carve out a unique reading nook that's both pretty and functional. To recreate this blend of vintage and modern, pop over to your local secondhand store to stock up on book covers that fit your aesthetic. Pair these items with fresh and clean furniture and a houseplant or two for a decidedly modern look with a bit of personality.

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Living Room Shelving Ideas

living room with gray fireplace

Stacey Brandford

To create a modern living room, you don’t necessarily need to start from scratch. Think instead about how you can arrange your existing pieces in fresh, new ways. For example, instead of creating a gallery wall of hung frames, use an assortment of floating shelves. Use a mix of old favorites and fresh new prints to tie the space together.

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Use Your Existing Pieces

living room with gray couch and wood coffee table

Hector Sanchez

When it comes to creating a modern living room, focus on mixing rather than matching. From a mirrored pendant to a funky table lamp with midcentury modern details, this space is clearly a collection of pieces the homeowner is drawn to. To keep your living room room from feeling disjointed with so many unique pieces, add a large area rug to pull the space together.

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