I realized it’s been a while since I’ve shared any areas of my home and how they’re coming along, so I thought you might want to see how I’ve been designing a modern living room for what I call our front room.
We live in a tri level house and this is the first room you see when you come in the front door. We do spend a lot of time here, because it’s right off the kitchen, but our main living room is actually down a flight of stairs and that’s where we watch TV and try to keep all the toys contained.
This room has been a long SLOW process. It was completely empty for about a year. We moved here from a one bedroom apartment and filling up 2 living room areas was a challenge. I was also pregnant with Graham when we moved in, so preparing spaces for the baby trumped preparing a welcoming living room.
One main thing here that made a huge difference was tearing down the old fireplace (see it here in it’s outdated Christmas glory) and building this shiplap fireplace. Guys…I LOVE THIS NEW FIREPLACE. But…whomp whomp…it’s not up to code and that’s why I haven’t officially shared it here.
We made a super rookie move and didn’t look up building codes and there needs to be a fireproof surround around the fireplace. Basically, currently the wood is too close to the opening. It’s one of those things that I feel like we are never going to have time to complete, so I’m not sure when it will be done. Check back in 10 years.
Designing a Modern Living Room
So my overall plan for this room is obviously a simple, modern design. I’m combining textures and patterns with a few statement pieces to stick with a minimal theme without being boring.
The black couch (a thrift store find) and shiplap fireplace are my main statement pieces. My goal with everything else is to add texture and make it feel fun and cozy. That would be the pillows, plants, baskets, blankets and rug. It’s funny how adding just a few of the right things helps everything come to life.
This past week I added the shelves and the rug. Before that, the mirror had been centered over the couch and it just didn’t look right. Since then I’d been wanting to play around with some shelves and envisioned them offset from each other like they are now. I run all my ideas by my sister (lucky her, huh?) and she wasn’t completely sure about that idea, but I’m glad I stuck with it.
I think it just adds a little more interest to the space.
The rug is also from Homegoods, but I’m not sold on it. Actually I’ve already returned it. I didn’t love the color or the fact that some of the shapes resembled snowflakes. I’m loving this rug, which is a little surprising because of the pinkish color, but it’s just so good and I think it would compliment the other colors in the room well. The rug you see here just blended in a little too well while also clashing too much with the carpet in real life.
I’m really happy with how this side of the room is coming along. The opposite side of the room is still completely bare, but I’ve always got an eye out for the perfect set of affordable midcentury accent chairs and have plans for a bench + plants in the window.
How to design your living room
So the big takeaway here is that is really doesn’t take a whole lot to create a nice, pulled together space. What is does require, however, are the right things. And I know figuring out what the right things are can be a hard, but here are my tips. I used these while designing a modern living room, but these tips will work for any style!
Decide on your statement pieces.
Pick 2-3 items that you really want to stick out. For me its the fireplace and couch. Yours might be a crazy colorful rug or a bright colored chair. Or even a super fancy chandelier. Maybe you have a brilliant piece of furniture that really shines, it can be anything.
Consider furniture, lighting and tables.
Cover the functionality of the room next. Where are you going to sit? Where do you need end/coffee tables so people can gather and chat comfortably with a drink? Try to imagine yourself relaxing in that room with a book at night. Where does it make sense to add extra lighting? Do as I say and not as I do (because there is no extra lighting in this room yet) but floor and table lamps are a great way to occupy space and balance out your decor. And duh, they provide light.
Fill in with the basics.
Every living space has to have texture to pull it together. Basics are pillows, blankets, baskets, rugs and plants. These will fit in more naturally if you can find practical ways to actually use them.
Keep enough pillows on your couch to be comfortable to sit around, but maybe overload it to the point that you’d have to move them. When buying baskets, think about what you’ll actually put in them (maybe blankets and pillows that aren’t in use?). I’m always a huge fans of plants in baskets. And please please please, add some plants to your home! This is a game changer when it comes to making your home feel ‘done.’
Now you can add in decor.
This is where you add in mirrors and shelves and your small finishing touches. At this point you can decide what your room is lacking and how to make up for it. Do you need more color or something more neutral? Are things looking flat and you need to add some more texture? Is there a big area of the room that looks bare or out of scale with the rest of the room?