Designing A Contemporary Living Room

If you're looking to update your living room with a modern style, contemporary furniture and decor make a bold statement without having to sacrifice a homey feel or your personal style. Contemporary looks are sleek and eclectic, so nearly anything goes, but following some general guidelines can help you create a room that looks like it was designed by a pro.

Lines and Shapes

Clean lines and defined shapes are the key phrases to keep in mind when you're designing a contemporary look. Furniture that features defined edges, wall decor in sharp geometric shapes, and minimizing anything with rounded edges or curves will all help you attain the style you're looking for. Most modern living rooms have a minimalist look and feel, so eye-catching, defined shapes help create an intentional feel to the space that's being used.

Colors and Patterns

Contemporary living rooms range from monochrome black and white color schemes to bold, vibrant colors. Keep bright colors to a minimum to achieve the best modern design and go for furniture in neutral colors. Though your design will feature many pieces in solid colors, there's room for patterns in modern living spaces too. A neutral sofa with accent pillows that feature bold accent colors in sharp patterns like straight stripes or square blocks add a bit of fun without overwhelming the sharp look you're trying to achieve.


Contemporary interior design emphasizes the natural elements, so choosing natural or natural-looking furniture fabrics helps tie the room together into a unified look. Opt for cotton, wool or sleek leather sofas, chairs and ottomans without embellishments that can make a piece look dated. Avoid fabric decorations on furniture, including tassels and fringe, that take away from the modern aesthetic. 


Put away any excessive decorative collections and avoid cluttering your walls with too many frames or art pieces if you're going for a modern vibe. Mirrors in defined, straight shapes, minimalist lamps in metal finishes and floating shelves are all good choices to help pull your main furniture pieces in with the rest of the room. Natural decor, such as wood vases or wooden abstract statues help create a cozy feeling without veering into the old-fashioned design territory.

If you're having difficulty deciding on the exact look you want for your living room, consider visiting a contemporary furniture store to choose a central piece you love. Once you have some basic furniture, such as a sofa and chairs, you can allow other modern decorating ideas to flow to tie it all together or ask a furniture sales associate for inspiration and decorating tips.