Do you find yourself drawn to contemporary living room décor but concerned about how to warm it up for real life? You’re not alone. The lines and design of contemporary style are fluid over time (today’s contemporary will not be the contemporary design of 2025), but currently they involve a bit of minimalist modernism, which has the potential for aesthetic sterility. Here are some options to consider for easily warming up your contemporary living room so that you have the best of both worlds – a great, clean-lined design with plenty of welcome and staying power. Deep Wall Color, because contemporary living room furniture is often clean-lined and hard-angled, the aesthetic can appear more rigid and cold than is probably intended. Soften the feel of the entire living room by laying a foundation of muted, deep, and/or warm coloring on the walls. Contrast Piping. There is something inherently softening and friendly about two-tone furniture, and contrast piping on contemporary living room furniture is as welcoming as it is classy. Particularly when the colors themselves are neutral and soothing, such as are on this eggshell-and-steel-blue sofa. Animal Reference. From faux taxidermy to wall art, statues to rugs, animal prints, patterns, and references adeptly combine the contemporary zest for chic wildlife with the animals’ intrinsic natural-ness. Even in a space where high gloss, reflective surfaces, and glamour are the thing, reference to animals brings the entire space down to an absorbable and truly inviting level. As shiny metallic, abstract, or modern as your living room’s light fixture might be, the inclusion of light bulbs with warm lumens will create an immediate softening of the space. This is a particularly effective balance to strike in the contemporary living room, as lighting extends throughout the entire room, not just affecting one visual experience. Layers of Layers. Whether your first love is layering prints in front of the mirror on the mantel, or mixing eight throw pillows on the sofa, or stacking area rugs, layering is an excellent design choice for softening a space. Edges and lines don’t disappear (which is important in contemporary design), but they do blur a bit when layered. These nesting-type oval coffee tables have an excellent layering appeal and add depth (which usually = warmth) to this neutral monochromatic living room arrangement. Tropical Foliage. While the days of matching printed upholstery to curtains (and even wallpaper and flooring) are history for many, remnants of those delightful prints still remain to create a sense of comfort in the contemporary living room. Tropical foliage and other related prints are always welcome in a modern living room. A throw pillow with frond print, for example, provides a sophisticated dose.Natural Wood. The grain and multi-colored characteristics of raw, exposed, and natural wood is a beautiful addition to the contemporary living room space. Not only does the neutral color of wood bring in warmth, but the inherent variation in the wood grain and shape itself brings in organic and nature-loving elements to the contemporary décor.Textured Textiles. Natural fabrics and wovens tend to have an innately inviting texture to them. Think of tweed, wool, and linen, for examples. Their appearance mimics the subtle unevenness that’s exhibited in nature itself, in tree bark, rock faces, and the cloudy sky itself. While the silhouette of a piece can be decidedly modern or contemporary, the upholstery can soften it right up. Green plant life, in small and large doses alike, offer an inherent freshness and softness to the contemporary living room, regardless of many other factors. Place a larger potted plant in the corner of the living room, or a smaller potted green on the coffee table or bookshelf. Plaid Touches. Let’s be real for a minute: few items of décor are as cozying as plaid. Plaid upholstery, walls, throw pillows, rugs, etc. On whatever and wherever plaid finds itself, the immediate surroundings feel friendlier, more familiar, and inviting. Plaid works in the contemporary space, though, because of its solid classic grid pattern, so the two pieces make an excellent pairing. You can have furniture with great lines that is still comfortable, as is evident by this plush contemporary sectional, which is key to a warm, inviting living room. Few people want to linger in a space where the furniture is stuffy or uncomfortable, but the opposite is true in a contemporary living room with beautiful seating that you can sink into and stay awhile.
Yellow adds optimism to your home, prompting feelings of happiness in all who enter. Interior designer Lisa Teague, designer of Quiet Home Paints, says most people know their color preferences — they just do not know that they do. "It‘s an intuitive process," she says. "My job is to explore with my clients their reactions to color. Do they lean toward clean colors or do they like a little earthiness?" Green represents renewal and lends a calming feel to a room. You can identify these preferences on your own. Experts advise pulling inspiration from a variety of sources. Collect photos of rooms that appeal to you. Find inspiration in a piece of artwork or fabric where you can already see how the color relationships play out. And don‘t forget to look inside your closet. Is there a scarf, a blouse, a wrap or a tie that you gravitate to again and again? Changing how you think about color can give you the confidence to make bold decisions. Designer Andrea Brooks says she approached the design of her own living room by starting with her long-time favorite color. "I’ve always loved pink," she says. "I know I feel my best and most confident when Iam wearing pink, and because of that, I was not afraid to bring it into my own living room." If you long for serenity, using the color gray in your home decor is a great place to start. But Brooks did not just pick just one pink, and she didn‘t count on it to do all the work: "By layering different shades of pink and layering in different textures through fabric, the pink reads as a neutral," she says of the room where she entertains friends or works on design projects. "It gets my creative juices flowing. It‘s an instant pick-me-up." If you want a color that encourages your family and friends to slow down and relax, brown can be the solution to your problem. Photo courtesy of West Elm. Brooks‘ careful approach to color combining and textural layering speaks to the interplay of all the painted surfaces, the fabrics, the wooden furniture, the accessories and the art that sets a good room apart. Some designers even take the wall color (or a paler version of it) into surprising territory. "Nobody wants to notice a big white geometric shape [the ceiling] when entering a room," says Lisa Teague. "I often carry my wall color up and over the ceiling so that you see the color rather than the shape of the wall. And of course, there are some architectural features that one wants to enhance. Color is a great tool for doing so." Reds, oranges, lime green and turquoise tend to bring excitement and stimulation to a space. Whites and pale blues and greens tend to soften it, expand it and give it a restful feel. Grays and blacks bring moodiness and drama. So choose with care. The palette you choose for your living room could excite you enough to make you want to throw open your doors with enthusiasm - or sigh with relief at such a heavenly respite from the outside world.
Control your catchall living room closet and get organizing tips that fit your daily needs. Depending on the age of your house and the style of its layout, you may or may not have a closet within the living room. If you do find yourself with a closet here, count your lucky stars. More storage space — especially the kind behind closed doors — is always a plus. A closet in one of the less-trafficked rooms, such as a living room, can solve problems you did not know you had. One approach is to dedicate the space to the things that fall outside the daily workings of a home. Ginny Snook Scott of California Closets says this can be the perfect landing spot for the items that rotate through our homes while we are busy welcoming and celebrating others. She recommends that clients treat this space as an entertaining storage hub of sorts. "We recommend hanging linens, which can keep them wrinkle-free and ready at a moment‘s notice," she says, "and this is a perfect space for them." It is also a good spot for large trays and oddly shaped serving items. Because this closet won‘t be used on a daily basis, it can be a safe home for the odds and ends — some fragile, some just bulky — that rotate through our lives, like vases, candlesticks, board games and such. Scott also notes that her own family room closet includes a gift-wrapping station complete with a tall desk and baskets and drawers for ribbon and wrap, where she can prepare a gift at a moment‘s notice. Decorator Rebecca Hawkins says that the more creatively you think about outfitting the space, the better it can work for you. "If your closet has plenty of room, you could put a pretty chest of drawers in there so you had have drawers for all the little things," she says. "But I have seen people hide media equipment in spots like this. Anything needed for televisions, computers or music — even Wi-Fi equipment." And that brings us to another approach to decking out the living room closet. Because it does not get rummaged around in as often as others, this can be a good spot for hiding some of your home‘s necessities that you don‘t want to spotlight. Think Wi-Fi network adapters, maybe even home security systems or fireproof boxes — anything that must be in an easily accessible and central location but also out of the way. Think about how you can best use this closet space for the practical necessities that keep your home in good working order or the things that make entertaining a little bit more effortless. Regardless of which approach you take, you will be glad to have the peace of mind knowing that things are safe and sound — and behind the door that keeps it all neatly out of view.
Many small living room ideas revolve around tricking the eye into making the area appear more spacious. Such strategies can transform an area that feels cramped and claustrophobic into one that feels cozy and aesthetically pleasing. Decorate in a way that maximizes light and space, and pay attention to how you use color, scale and weight. It can make quite a difference. It’s interesting to try new things. Sometimes traditional ideas about living room decor aren’t the best solution for a small space. Instead of using blinds for window treatments, use long, flowing drapes because they draw attention to vertical space, thus expanding the area of the room. Your living room, regardless of size, should be able to function as a space for relaxation and entertaining. Here are some of our favorite ways to make it feel more spacious. Designers often place mirrors strategically in small places in order to make them feel larger. One of the most common small living room ideas is to hang a large mirror in a central location to create a focal point. To reflect light and add a nice ambiance, put it behind a light source such as a candle or pendant lamp. If possible, position a mirror across from your window so it will reflect the view and give the illusion of another window. A room has a vertical dimension as well as a horizontal one. If your living room has a high ceiling, make the most of the extra space by decorating it in a manner that draws the eye upward. Floor-to-ceiling drapes are a stylish way to accomplish this goal. Another idea is to fill the vertical space with a menagerie of small to midsize artwork. This technique will make the room feel larger than it actually is, because it invites the eye to roam beyond the eye-level horizontal space that may feel confined. Neutrals and wood tones. One of the most popular small living room ideas is the use of neutral colors on walls, floor, ceiling and furniture upholstery. A palette of off-whites or beiges will expand the space by appearing to push back the walls. Soft hues also tend to illuminate a room by reflecting light. In addition to enlarging an area, a neutral palette imparts instant sophistication and creates a calming environment. When you shop for furniture, consider its visual weight. This concept refers to the perceived heaviness of an object based on size, color and design. Pick out pieces that have a lightweight appearance, as heavier ones will seem to constrict a space. Opt for pale colors over darker ones, and select pieces that have legs while avoiding those that are boxy. Glass coffee or end tables will take up less visual space than wooden ones because you can see through them. Any furnishings that don’t obstruct views will make an area seem more open. A list of small living room ideas would not be complete without the recommendation to select furniture that won’t overpower the room or appear to dominate the space. A sofa with thin arms and a tightly upholstered back is preferable to one with substantial arms and a multi-cushion back. If space is tight, you could do without a couch completely, either choosing a loveseat or opting to position four chairs around a coffee table. When picking out chairs, consider armless ones because they will take up less space than a model with arms. What are your favorite ideas for making your small living room look larger?
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