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Modern living room ideas

Invite modern colours, style and design into your living room. Choosing the right furniture, from sofa to shelving and storage, can build an up-to-the-minute space that’s sleek, appealing and functional. All you need is a little patience and know-how to make it work and flow. Here are our top 6 modern living room ideas to help you create the perfect contemporary living room.
Design Inspiration Lifestyle
Ultra modern blue leather sofa

1. Modern living room ideas - the modern sofa

From a sleek Italian style leather sofa to a chic Scandi style sofa, there are so many modern sofa styles to choose from.

A contemporary sofa is fairly simple in its design with clean lines. For an ultra-modern look, opt for a low profile sofa with a low back and arms. Some modern sofas have arm cushions adding to the feeling of luxury, while others have distinctively wide square arms. On-show metal or wooden legs are very much on-trend right now, creating a feeling of more space in the room and adding to the style.

Then you just need to decide on the configuration, and whether you prefer a compact two-seater, something that seats three or four people, a corner sofa or a recliner. A corner sofa makes the most of a smaller space, or defines the seating area in a multi-purpose room. If you have a large living space, a modular sofa made from lots of individual pieces, arranged in a variety of ways, will give flexibility as well as an up-to-date look.

How your sofa has been made, and what with, will also influence your choice, as well as the price. Quality sofas feature hardwood frames, and fillings that keep their shape for longer. The upholstery should be hard-wearing, with leather a good all-round practical choice that is easy to clean. Try to pick a colour that’s not likely to date.

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Modern yellow fabric sofa
G Plan 3 seater fabric sofa and Ercol tables

2. living room ideas - recliner sofas and chairs

This is the comfiest of our modern living room ideas. Nothing says 'modern' quite like a recliner chair – all that ingenuity and know-how buried beneath the material and cushioning, allowing you to sit normally or pretty much lie flat, as you wish. Or maybe it says more about how hectic modern life is, with our need to unwind and relax after a busy working day.

But the point is, a recliner chair (or sofa) represents the ultimate in relaxation for your modern living room. Choose a power recliner armchair so you can relax at the touch of a button, or have a power or manual recliner sneakily built into one end of your new sofa. Many of our power recliner models also have USB ports, so you can charge up your devices too.

Some modern recliner chairs have wall away recliners, perfect for more compact rooms. Try testing the recliner before you buy to see how much support it offers. Some can feel quite firm, with a power adjustable headrest cradling your neck, or inbuilt lumbar support relieving the pressure on your joints.

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3. Modern living room ideas - chic accent chairs

An accent chair makes a great addition to any modern living room. Quirky, eye-catching, and equal parts decorative and functional, it may be the design or colour that makes the chair stand out. If you want to make a style statement, or could simply do with an extra seat, a purchase here is worthwhile.

The designs of some chairs might echo the 1950s or 1960s, covered in bright velvet or leather, with sturdy wooden or sleek metal legs. Others may feature a steam bent wood or sleek metal frame. The limit only seems to be the designer’s imagination, with all kinds of shapes and materials in play. You can even choose a chair with a luxurious buttoned back and scroll arms – a splash of vintage style can make a real impact in a modern living room.

While some accent chairs – such as leather swivel chairs with footstools – are perfect for reading in, others are lower with sumptuous cushioning. Our cuddle or snuggler armchairs are made for serious chilling out.

Whether the chair uses soft linen or leather, has a Nordic feel or delivers something more unexpected, you can guarantee that an accent chair will draw the eye of your guests.

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fabric large cuddle chair or love seat
Modern wood and metal coffee table set

4. Modern living room ideas - cool coffee tables

Modern coffee tables come in a wide choice of materials, styles, shapes, colours and finishes. There are some inspirational wood designs, but modern coffee tables also come in glass, which gives the room an open feel. Metal and stone look good in a modern setting too – marble topped tables with elegant metal legs are very much in style right now.

Size and scale are also important. As a general rule, a coffee table should be no more than two-thirds of your sofa’s length, and as tall as the seat height or lower. Rectangular or oval tables work well in smaller rooms, while round or square are best for larger seating configurations.

Storage space in a coffee table, such as drawers or shelves, is useful for families, or for anyone with clutter to hide away - the best modern living room ideas are as practical as they are stylish.

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Wood and metal wood industrial display unit

5. Modern living room ideas - contemporary display units

Often, we don’t give enough consideration to display units. But with the designs currently available, there is definitely the potential to continue your chosen theme and to enhance the overall feel. Perhaps start by deciding which objects you need to keep close at hand in the living space, and whether they should be on full display or are best hidden away.

Display cabinets of glass and chrome, with built-in lighting, can draw attention to prized possessions. Even if you opt for a larger unit, the use of glass or acrylic can make it seem less imposing. Or opt for a quirky shelving unit to add an element of intrigue.

Consider also the size of the room. A large, wide display unit may seem to dominate a small space, but you can always try painting the walls the same colour to make it seem less obtrusive.

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6. Modern living room ideas - shelving

Shelving these days has moved beyond the mere practical. It still pays to consider your storage needs, but the best modern living room ideas can keep things flexible, mixing styles, heights and textures for visual interest.

Simple shelves, arranged on a wall to display your personal collection of travel knick-knacks and art, can be placed at different heights and in interesting configurations. The objects can be arranged according to height, so the distances between the shelves themselves varies. Floating shelves are very popular currently as are asymmetric and ladder shelving units.

Find shelves that fit in an alcove, or go all-out with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, but don’t worry about these seeming dull. Try arranging books horizontally for a clean, uniform look or choose a specific accessory colour for vases, ornaments and picture frames, and dot these throughout.

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Industrial style wood and metal shelf unit

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