15 Contemporary Living Room Ideas for a Relaxing Gathering Space

Contemporary Living Room Fireplace

A fireplace creates a natural focal point in a living room, and to give it a contemporary feel, skip a cluttered mantel. Streamline the fireplace wall with a single piece of statement art and a pair of modern sconces for a clean and simple finish.

Layered Vignette

A beautifully layered vignette on a sofa table adds a stylish moment and an opportunity to personalize your living room. Create a contemporary look with framed black and white photos, add height through a stack of books topped with a table lamp, and complete the vignette with a sculptural element such as this white coral.

Contemporary Neutrals

Opt for a neutral color palette to infuse your living room with contemporary style and sophistication. A tonal color palette has a calming effect and is anything but boring when done right—focus on quality materials, layered textures, and furniture with unique shapes to add visual interest.

Modern Wall Paneling

Add depth, texture, and extra visual interest with wall paneling. To maintain a contemporary aesthetic, keep paneling streamlined and simple, such as this square grid wall that's stained a rich shade of brown for a striking contrast with a curved white armchair.

Painted Brick Wall

Give your living room a contemporary makeover and refresh old exposed brick with a fresh coat of white paint. It's a much faster, easier, and less expensive than covering it with drywall, plus it adds a textural element and character. The white paint will instantly brighten the room, create a blank canvas for modern furniture, and bounce light around for an open and airy space.

All-Black Living Room

Go bold and color drench your living room with black paint for a stunning contemporary statement. Color drenching means painting the walls, ceiling, and trim in the same color for a more immersive experience. Contrast and brighten the dark paint color with layers of textured neutrals and multiple sources of light including oversized windows, a ceiling fixture, and a stylish table lamp.

Modern Accent Lighting

Install chic accent lighting such as this contemporary wall sconce to add a stylish touch and extra sources of light. Overhead light fixtures provide plenty of flood lighting, but can be harsh and overpowering. Include multiple sources of light, such as wall sconces, table lamps, and floor lamps to provide ample task and mood lighting.

Statement Lighting

Make a statement with oversized pendant lights that draw the eyes up, fill negative space, and incorporate a stunning sculptural element. While living room lighting is a practical feature, it's also a great way to add a contemporary touch with an unexpected light fixture choice.

Contemporary Aesthetic

Opt for a light and bright contemporary aesthetic in your living room. Here, a deep white sectional and pillows create a modern yet comfortable base layer for the rest of the space. A faded area rug and light wood coffee table warm up the room, an abstract triptych in black frames add contrast, and brass floor lamps and accessories bring in a subtle shine.

Statement Fireplace

Highlight a fireplace as the room's focal point with a cool and contemporary accent wall such as this gray and white tile wall. The small-scale pattern and glossy sheen are in stark contrast with the room's white walls and painted shiplap to the right, adding a mid-tone neutral that balances the two out.

Built-In Bookshelves

Paint built-in bookshelves a dark shade to give the traditional living room feature a contemporary upgrade. The moody paint color serves as a dramatic backdrop for books, framed pictures, and decorative accents. Elevate the built-ins with modern hardware, picture lights, or wireless puck lights for sleek evening lighting.

Statement Doors

Make a contemporary statement with unique living room doors, such as this black sliding barn door. A patterned detail adds a decorative edge while an oversized wood handle is a nod to a wood chair and shelves in the room. The deep black door color contrasts the soft woods and bright white accents in the space, and the custom door is a stylish upgrade from a builder-grade door.

Mixed Seating Arrangement

Instead of a matching sofa-and-armchairs set that tends to look dated, give your living room a contemporary refresh with a mixed seating arrangement. This modern furniture layout includes a comfy slipcovered sofa and armchair, as well as more compact side chairs and a pair of textured stools that provide plenty of space to sit, while creating a layered design.

Monochromatic Living Room

A monochromatic black and white color scheme makes for a clean, crisp, and contemporary finish in this stunning living room. To avoid a limited color palette from looking flat and boring, use colors in a variety of ways: through upholstery, decorative textiles, and coffee table books, as well as through solid and patterned surfaces.

Moody Living Room Walls

Instead of light and bright, go dark and moody with a deep paint color on the walls. Add an extra layer of detail with a wall covering such as shiplap, and hang a statement piece of art that stands out against the dark wall color. Highlight—literally!—the artwork with a picture light that adds a touch of classic style while also providing ambient lighting.

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