Modern Living Room: Basic Elements, New Trends, and Best Design Ideas

Modern with capital “m”, modern, and contemporary – are they the same? The Modern design style has well-defined features developed from the early to mid-twentieth century. This style is associated with neutral colors, a minimalist layout, natural textures, clean-lined shapes, and natural light, to name a few. Simultaneously, contemporary is somehow synonymous with modern, and they both are descendants of the Modern style. What makes modern and contemporary stand out is the additional integration of the latest trends. 

Now that you know what meaning hides behind “modern”, we can switch to the concept of a modern living room. Sitting room, family room, lounge, reception room, call it as you wish, is that space in the house that shows a general perspective on your taste and personality. It is more complex when we speak about living rooms for large families. Those usually represent a mix of more than one taste. Either way, if you haven’t decided yet on your lounge design, you should know that “modern” is a safe bet. Stay on the safe side with the following modern living room features. Stay up to date with the suggested trends. And stay original with the recommended authentic design ideas. Shortly, stay with us, and you’ll see the modern design from a new perspective.

Modern Living Room: Primary Features and Principles

The pillars of a modern living room are traced to the clearly defined Modern style and include the novelties of contemporary design. You probably know about functional furniture, natural lighting, light color palettes, and simple shapes. Yet, there are plenty of other basic features you should consider.

  • Large and well-lit spaces. Celebrate natural light and available free space. Let the room breathe without unnecessarily overloading it;
  • Coordinated color palette. Modern usually operates with monochromatic codes, yet occasional pops of trendy, vibrant colors are allowed;
  • Open-floor design. Erase the borders between functional areas and ensure the effectiveness of a spacious room flooded with natural light;
  • Natural texture. Modern appreciates healthy and natural features. Use as much natural texture as possible. Start with the basics, wood and organic fabric, and go on with richly grained bamboo, cork, sisal, jute, and rattan;
  • Functional layout. Display your furniture pieces according to practical systems that allow free movement and encourage interpersonal connection;
  • Decluttered surfaces. Try to store everything in closed spaces. Leave displayed the minimum of decor. Natural beauty hides in simple solutions;
  • Limited decor. Avoid any type of unnecessary accessories. Opt instead for a single statement piece and remember, less is more;
  • Oversized furniture. Bet on large and imposing furniture. It adds taste and comfort to the living room.

A New Burst of Color

Avoid all-clean color palettes devoid of the slightest pop of vibrance. At least consider a single colorful accent in a modern monochromatic living room. The following customized design displays a gorgeous Modern Open-Floor Living Room + Kitchen Project created by Alex Jolea, an exclusive online designer from Hackrea’s team. Witness the beauty resurfacing when this earthy orange sofa becomes the main focus in this all-white open-floor interior.

Top Trend of the Season: Eco

Keep pace with the latest sustainable design trends and give your living room an eco impetus. Bring in even more natural texture, untreated and rich-grained. Choose live greenery as an alternative to traditional decor, and switch to a more natural, earthy color palette. In the spirit of environmental protection, designers encourage us to use energy-saving light sources.

Curved Architecture

Curves have been here for a while now, yet designers strongly claim they are still quite a thing in interior design. If you haven’t done it so far, now may be the right time to decorate your modern living room with curved shapes. Use it on furniture, architectural features, and accessories.

Look Up: Wallpaper on the Ceiling

Modern doesn’t usually approve of wallpaper on walls, yet it has nothing against it on the ceiling unless the space doesn’t allow it. Add intriguing patterns to your living room without overwhelming the ambiance. It works better for high-ceiling rooms.

What’s New: Green and Blue

Two key color trends stand out on the designers’ new color palette. Blue and green. If you want a truly modern living room, you will give up on traditional white, gray, beige, greige, or any other neutral color that has dominated your interior for years. Pick blue or green as the most natural, calming, and trendy colors for walls and not only.

Revisited Mushroom Trend

Mushroom lamps are a unique kind of aesthetic, sleek, original, and out-of-the-box. In the lounge area, designers firmly recommend using mushroom floor lamps, whose impressive design will draw your attention as fast as you enter the room. Your living room will feel like those aesthetically pleasing interior design pictures in magazines.

Fully Eclectic: Colorful and Unusual

This is the opposite of what a traditional Modern living room should look like. Luckily, we speak about contemporary Modern, full of color options and creative solutions. Consider the most intricate shapes, colors, and patterns, and fill your living room with energy and optimism. 

Colors and Prints

If you want to keep it classic, choose neutral colors to recreate the timeless Modern color palette. Leaning slightly contemporary, choose in favor of more intricate neutrals, such as natural greens, blues, oranges, browns, and pinks. The defining color trend of the season is lavender, while moody dark tones firmly replace traditional bright colors. 

Invite more lively shades to spruce up your living room, yet keep them within limits. Use vivid reds, oranges, violets, blues, greens, and yellows for textiles and accent pieces. Frankly speaking, we have reached the point in design history when the border between neutral and bright colors slightly fades out, and the latter invade the unconventional and conservative design styles. 

As for prints, we wouldn’t say they define modern living rooms. On the contrary, they were once considered inappropriate in such interiors. Yet, the times have changed, and you can safely add graphic patterns to textiles and furniture with one condition – don’t overdo this technique. 

For more color inspiration, visit our new article on the best color trends to try this season


Let’s start with the basics. Modern likes to see paint on walls and ceiling, natural materials on flooring, and even more natural texture on furniture and textiles. To elaborate, consider eco-paint colors, solid natural materials like wood, bamboo, stone, cork, wicker, sisal, jute, or rattan, and softer materials like organic linen, cotton, and wool. These simple yet richly-grained textures are enough to make the right statement in a modern design.


No living room works without a comfortable sofa, accent chairs, and a statement end table. No modern living room goes without an extra-large sofa and sizable accent chairs with well-defined shapes and soft upholstery. Note that those seats should be arranged in a way to focus on interpersonal connection and conversation. 

An open-storage bookcase with aesthetic decor, a narrow side table with clean lines, and a mini-desk for an improvised workspace or a sleek dining table with feature chairs, if it is the case, is the furthest you can strive to reach. Let the room breathe. Don’t overload its airy ambiance with irrelevant pieces of furniture. 


Focus first on functionality. A modern living room needs artificial lighting sources to replace its defining feature, natural light, at night. Think of LED strips all over the ceiling to throw light on every corner or consider practical yet stylish fixtures, be they large centerpieces or a few large floor lamps. Wall sconces are only recommended if you need task lighting, such as for reading or working. Remember, natural light is the best friend of a modern living room.


As of late, we are seeing more and more designers switch their expert attention from traditional decorative units with candles, vases, figurines, and others alike, to modest yet intriguing art pieces. Choose a cultural era that suits your taste most, and decorate your living room walls with the most exquisite paintings. Modern values originality and nothing looks more authentic than an accent piece you chose all by yourself.

Modern Living Room: New Design Ideas

Modern Living Room & Dining Area

Designers have been debating lately whether open-floor living rooms are still trendy. Surely, this design concept is still in trend this season. Since an open-concept design is enough to ensure two vital modern features, a spacious and well-lit room, we suggest you add a new functional area to your living room. Combine materials and colors used in both zones. This concept works primarily for those who often host guests. 

Modern Art

Bring energy and color to your modern living room with colorful wall art. Get inspired by any cultural era. Speak through art, express through design, and stand out through taste. The best idea to personalize a scenario is by adding an accent that speaks to you personally.

Wood-Biased Mid-Century Modern

Pair indoors with outdoor motifs, clean lines with geometric shapes, and wood texture with vivid colors to create an unforgettable thematic living room design – the irreplaceable and beloved Mid-Century Modern style. 

Reinvented Retro

Present the striking design defining the ‘50s – ‘80s in a modern way. Asymmetry, colorful compositions, show-stealing accents, and whimsical patterns pair with decorated textiles and muted background colors to create an irresistible living room and make it your house’s main hallmark.

Choose the Right Proportions

Avoid tiny furniture pieces and unnoticeable decor. Go big or go home! Replace your old sofa with an oversize and voluminously tufted one. Switch from uncomfortable chairs to large and extra-comfy accent ones. And not least, opt for a size-appropriate decor, such as a tremendously large statement wall art piece or huge feature lamps.

Buy the Look: Black, White, and Wood

This intriguing combination is the new classic that effortlessly replaces the timeless yet overused black-and-white pair: whitewashed walls, wood texture, and black accents. Keep the proportions right, and your living room will give off a trendy and revisited Mid-Century vibe.

This year, expect no grays at all in modern living rooms. Designers replace muted pastels with saturated mid-tone colors and light shades with moody tones. Say goodbye to greige and welcome taupes and tans. Professionals even predict a shift from rich greens to teal, yet not everybody is ready yet to give up on pure green.

Is a Monochromatic Color Palette Still Relevant in a Modern Living Room?

First, you can choose this option if you cannot imagine your interior design without a clean one-color palette. In terms of trend, the monochromatic option feels slightly outdated in an era when such beautiful tones of vivid colors gain more popularity. At the end of the day, you are the one to enjoy the result day by day.

What Is the One Decor Piece You Should Definitely Avoid in a Modern Living Room?

We would say framed quotes displayed on walls. Don’t make it an accent piece regardless of how much you like a quote. Try paintings instead, yet not abstract. Or, you can try linear art, which can be personalized.

What Is an Absolute Must in Modern Design?

The next time you plan a modern design makeover, bear this in mind: stay simple yet original (don’t overdo the color palette, furnishing, or decoration); show your taste yet keep the layout functional; make sure your room receives as much natural light as possible, preserving the room spacious and airy. The rest is up to you.

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