9 Design Essentials For Your Modern Living Room

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If you’re anything like me, you love modern interior design but when it comes to your own living spaces, you just don’t know where to start. How exactly do designers get the “modern” look when choosing colors, patterns, living room furniture, and accent pieces? Inspired by the 15% Off Living Room Sale at Design Within Reach (running through August 26th), I’ve sifted through tons of photos and decorating tips to find what I think are the 9 essential elements of the modern living room:

1. Creative Use Of Color

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The phrase “modern living room design” brings to many people’s minds scenes of rooms decorated in all white and silver, but this is really a misconception. Using bold colors creatively in your living room design will update it and add interest and life to the room. Try painting an accent wall in a bold color like red or dark blue. If that’s too much, you could try going with a sofa or an area rug in a color that pops, like this bold red Theater Sofa  from Design Within Reach.

2. Simple Lines

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When it comes to modern living room design, less is more. Look for living room furniture pieces that have simple silhouettes and nothing too froo-froo. If the piece looks light, as if you could pick it up (even if you actually can’t!), then it will probably make a good addition to your living room design. Chairs and tables with thin “hairpin” legs, like the Eames Collection chairs, are a good choice to add lightness to a room. Avoid furniture with a thick silhouette and a heavy feel.

3. Well-Defined Spaces

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Often times, the modern living room isn’t just a living room – sometimes it serves as an entryway as well, or blends right into the dining room or a reading nook. You can define your room’s space by furniture placement as well as by using area rugs strategically, as in the photo above. Area rugs also give you more opportunities to play with color and patterns.

4. Natural Elements

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Including design elements from nature can have a calming effect in your living room. Try adding a small indoor tree or some hanging indoor plants to the room. It may sound strange, but sticks or pieces of driftwood also make good decorative items. Make sure your design takes advantage of the natural light in your room as well.

5. Seating Variety

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Traditional living room designs often stick to only one type of seating, maybe a sectional couch with matching chairs. Update your living room design by mixing and matching your types of seating. Already have a couch? Add a lounge chair like the popular Eames Lounge & Ottoman from DWR, and then maybe a couple of smaller chairs and a pouf to fill out your living room.

6. Corner TV

Where to put the TV – that is the eternal question. The television is the centerpiece of many living rooms. But have you considered putting it in the corner? Something as simple as moving it into the corner can make your living room design look much more natural and add space to the room, like this. It will also make your living room more guest-friendly.

7. Word Art & Mirrors

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Have a favorite quote? Put it up on the wall! Word art and posters are great choices when you want to update your living room decor. Vintage movie posters, quotes on canvas, or minimalist paintings will all help bring together your living room design. If you’re not into the wall art, try decorating with mirrors.

8. Playful Patterns

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Modern living room design isn’t all about solid colors, of course. Adding some patterned accents to your living room will bring life to the room and gives you a chance to expand your color scheme. Try adding patterned curtains, throw pillows (like these fun ones from DWR), area rugs, or even a patterned ottoman to your living room for a more interesting style.

9. Material Combinations

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If you want your room to look instantly more modern, find living room furniture that combines materials, like metal and wood, wood and glass, or upholstery and wood. The Como sofa collection (upholstery and metal) or the Noguchi table (wood and glass) from Design Within Reach are good examples of combining materials for a modern look.

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