Are you looking for a fresh take on traditional home decor ideas? With its clean lines, subtle textures and modern furniture, a contemporary style living room might be just what you're after.
In this post, we’ll discuss what 'contemporary style' means, what contemporary living rooms might look like and share a few simple design ideas to help you achieve a tasteful contemporary look in your living room.
What does contemporary style mean?
'Contemporary' means new and modern. Take a scroll through a few home magazines and look for the common trends you see - this is ‘contemporary style' - the 'up to the minute' home decor fashions of the day.
Emerging in the 1970's contemporary style was originally a mixture of the two most popular styles in the '60's (modernism and post-modernism). Since then the boundaries have been stretched and contemporary style has broadened to include other influences like Rustic, Farmhouse or Scandinavian design.
The exciting thing about contemporary style is that it is always changing. If you are someone who likes to refresh your home decor every now and then contemporary style will most likely appeal to you.
What are common forms of contemporary architecture?
These days, contemporary architecture varies greatly in style, often referencing earlier trends like Brutalism, Modernism or Post-modernism. That said, some hallmarks of 21st Century architecture can be identified, such as:
- Strong, geometric shapes and assymetrical facades.
- Lots of natural light (oversized windows, clerestory windows, skylights).
- A strong connection between indoor & outdoor spaces.
- Open plan and flexible layouts that cater to the changing needs of modern families.
In keeping with the times, contemporary architecture also focuses on sustainability and energy efficiency.
What does contemporary design look like?
Today's contemporary design, at least in terms of living room decor, is all about clean lines and simple shapes with a neutral colour palette. That might sound bland to some but actually you'll find contemporary living rooms are comfortable and inviting. Colour and texture are used to add interest and warmth to the room.
The aim for a contemporary living room is to feel light and spacious, with minimal fuss. Other contemporary features you are most likely to see include statement lighting (such as oversized sculptural pendants), indoor plants and the generous use of reflective surfaces like glass and stone.
What is a contemporary living room?
First up, your contemporary living room will be light and airy. Think open plan with high ceilings and large sliding doors leading to a covered deck outside. Floors are polished wood and walls are painted a crisp white.
Furniture is modern and sleek - an L shaped sofa in soft grey wool is teamed with two low slung Scandinavian armchairs and a sculptural coffee table. Add to this a textural sheepskin or bold geometric rug and a large piece of modern art.
Overall, the room exudes a sense of lightness, ease and calm. This is your contemporary living room in action!
What does contemporary furniture mean?
Just with like clothes, furniture trends change over time. If you are looking to up the ante in the furniture stakes and want to adopt a more contemporary vibe, then a quick google search on 'contemporary living room furniture' will give you a sense of what's currently in vogue.
One trend we are seeing is to mix different furniture styles in the same room. Carefully chosen pieces sit together to create a stylish modern living room. Remember though, a contemporary living room design requires restraint - no one piece of furniture should stand out.
What type of contemporary living room furniture is in style?
Forget fringes, ruffles or tassels, these days contemporary furniture is sleek and subtle. Shapes are bold - either straight, geometric or curvaceous and organic looking. Colours are neutral.
Natural fibres like wool, linen and sheepskin feature as sofa upholstery, rugs and cushions to introduce texture and character in subtle ways. Bean bags and over sized floor cushions are also popular, providing flexible seating options that cater to all ages.
How can I make my living room beautiful?
If your living room is looking a little tired then one simple and relatively inexpensive option is to paint it. For a fresh and contemporary feel, choose a neutral shade that makes your living space feel lighter and brighter.
Little things can make a big difference too. Add a touch of luscious sheepskin for a bit of luxury, either as a rug in front of the fireplace or as a throw over your couch. Hang a pair of black and white prints in matching glossy black frames, place colour blocked cushions on your sofa or a large indoor tree in a modern planter for impact.
What colors make a contemporary living room look bigger?
Generally speaking, lighter colours will help your living room feel more spacious. Dark or brightly coloured walls can close your room in.
If white walls aren't your thing, there are plenty of other neutral colours to choose from - creams, greys, dusty pinks or mossy greens. Grab a few paint samples and see what your favourite colours look like on the walls of your living room. If you feel unsure, an interior designer can help you.
What's the difference between modern and contemporary?
An interior designer will tell you that modern and contemporary are different interior design styles, although they do share some similarities. Both focus on simple shapes, strong lines and neutral colours.
Technically modern style hasn't changed over time. It's all about natural materials (like wood), functionality and sparse detailing.
Contemporary style on the other hand, changes with the fashion of the day. It includes elements of modern design, but also embraces curves, contrasting colours (black and white), ornaments and decoration.
What is modern interior design style?
Modern interior design is a particular look. Think simplicity, neutral colours and natural materials like wood, linen, wool and sisal. It's a very popular choice for living rooms and home renovations today.
Functionality is key. Your living room furniture might be limited to a sofa, a chair and side table, a rug on the floor and nothing more. All made from beautiful natural materials but free of embellishments, creating a sparse, uncluttered vibe.
What is modern contemporary furniture?
Modern contemporary furniture, on the other hand, is more bold. Colours are still tend to be restrained (neutrals) but shapes are strong with clean lines and sometimes a futuristic edge.
Contemporary furniture might also use coloured plastic or recycled materials (think coffee tables, chairs, stools). These look great when mixed with more streamlined pieces, injecting a bit of colour and playfulness into your living room.
Maintaining a sense of space in the room is still paramount, so remember not to crowd your living room with too much stuff. Swap something out if you need to.
How can I make my living room modern?
It's relatively easy to achieve a more modern edge in your living room, without having to completely transform it. Consider mixing in one or two contemporary pieces of furniture as a start - replace your sofa, chairs and/or coffee table for example. Seek out bold shapes with strong lines and exposed legs.
Empty wall space also provides you with an opportunity to modernise your living room - hang a sculptural piece of art, a large geometric print or a mirror to help the room feel bigger.
If your budget won't stretch that far, focus on smaller accessories. Place textural cushions on your sofa, a tall floor lamp in one corner or a mid century vase on your coffee table.
A contemporary style living room might be just the refresh you have been looking for. Focusing on bold shapes and neutral colours with minimal fuss, contemporary living rooms subtly introduce texture to create character and interest. Aiming for a sense of calm and lightness will ensure your contemporary living room is an inviting space for you, your family and friends.