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9 touches to ensure a stylish modern living room

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
House Snyman Modern living room by Salomé Knijnenburg Interiors Modern
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Many homeowners consider the word “modern” to be dirty. That’s because they usually associate any modern room with a cold and dull space. But today we are here to set those people straight, as we have 9 tips and examples that prove beyond a doubt that a modern living room  can be just as warm, inviting, and visually pleasing as even the trendiest classic / colonial / rustic / or any other design under the sun. 

Take note that these 9 tips were not just pulled out of a hat, but have been tried-and-tested guidelines throughout the years that are still being used by professional Interior Designers / Decorators today. 

Let’s start with…  

1. A light neutral main colour for the walls

In House Designs - Modern Living Room Ideas Modern living room by Dessiner Interior Architectural Modern
Dessiner Interior Architectural

In House Designs—Modern Living Room Ideas

Dessiner Interior Architectural

Modern spaces are all about an open and welcoming vibe. That’s why you need to look towards the neutral colour realm (white, off-whites, beiges, browns, greys… ) for a tint that’s going to make your modern living room visually more expansive, plus help cast light around. 

2. Add 1 – 2 accent hues

For some visual variety, choose 1 – 2 accent colours (still within the neutral scheme) to spread throughout. To make it easier, pick one shade lighter and one darker than your main palette. These can be incorporated into small decorative items like lamps, curtains, etc. 

3. Bring in geometric and angular shapes

Modern design loves squares, rectangles, and straight lines (curves are more reserved for the contemporary style). Thus, go with items that look sleek and streamlined as opposed to traditional and overly decorated. 

4. Choose a rectangular couch or chair

Fourways Project Modern living room by CS DESIGN Modern

Fourways Project


For your modern furniture, try looking for pieces with clean finishes and straight lines as opposed to ornate features or patterns. But remember your devotion to those neutral colours! 

If you want your modern living room to have a bright, funky edge to it, by all means choose a couch in a striking colour. Just ensure that said colour doesn’t get repeated too often in the rest of the room, as that will minimise the clean, sleek look you’re trying to achieve. 

5. Go with a sleek coffee table

A glass coffee table is first prize for your modern living room, as you’re trying to expand on the room’s visual spaciousness. And ensure that it’s lightweight and far from bulky. Place it in the centre of the room (or your seating zone), and don’t be afraid to add some detail to it with some magazines, a vase, coasters, etc. Just don’t go overboard, as you want to place emphasis on the presence of space, not stuff. 

If you don’t have enough legroom for a small coffee table, one or two side tables will also do. 

6. Keep minimalism in mind when picking decorations

Collection Of Work 01 Modern living room by Liquidmesh Design Modern
Liquidmesh Design

Collection Of Work 01

Liquidmesh Design

Just like the minimalist style, modern design stays far away from clutter. That means that, when it comes to picking décor for your modern living room, choose 1 – 3 pieces for your coffee / end table. 

For the rest of the room, such as wall art or on your credenza, the same rule applies. 

7. Lay down a stylish floor rug

Living room - Steyn City Modern living room by Nowadays Interiors Modern Solid Wood Multicolored
Nowadays Interiors

Living room—Steyn City

Nowadays Interiors

Be careful with your choice of rug – if your couch is in a striking colour, that rug needs to be subtle and neutral, like your main colour palette. To be on the safe side, stick to a neutral tint for the rug’s main colour (it can flaunt some patterns if you’re scared the floor space might look too dull). 

8. Ensure character with scatter cushions and blankets / throws

Luxurious Clifton Apartment Modern living room by Inhouse Modern

Luxurious Clifton Apartment


Your sofas and chairs can be privy to more detail via throw pillows and blankets. And here you can move away from the neutral hues and adopt some eye-catching tints like aqua, chartreuse, cherry red, etc. 

If you want to keep your modern living room looking very streamlined, lose the pillows. 

9. Get thin, simple lighting fixtures

Barcelona Apartment by ARRCC Eclectic

Barcelona Apartment


Lastly, ensure your modern living room is well lit. But instead of decorative, bulky lighting fixtures, go with subtle designs that help to free up more visual space. And remember to layer your lighting (i.e. a sleek floor lamp over in the corner, then elegant wall sconces on the other wall, then some recessed downlighters in the ceiling). 

You now have a sleek and modern living room that has its fair share of colour and character – well done!

From one trendy style to another, let’s proceed with Beautiful interiors: How to nail Scandinavian décor

Easy, don’t you agree?
Modern houses by Casas inHAUS Modern

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