Furniture is the third most expensive purchase most people make in their lifetime (after a house and a car), so it’s important to find something you’ll like for more than a few years. If you’re been flipping through modern home furnishing magazines, you may have found pictures of hard lines, uncomfortable furniture and white walls. But a contemporary feel can be warm and inviting. Here are three modern living room ideas that can fit in almost any home.
1. Leather in Clean Lines
Leather is a good long-term investment since it’s easy to clean and extremely durable. It also holds its shape better than upholstery. You may be thinking that leather limits you to overstuffed couches and recliners, but there are many pieces of leather furniture with clean, modern lines. And since leather is always inviting and unique—no two pieces of leather are exactly the same—it’s the perfect way to add personality to a simple modern design.
2. Mixed Materials
Traditional decorating uses the same base materials throughout a room. For example, all the furniture in a room might be mahogany wood, or a wrought-iron coffee table might exactly match a wrought-iron side table. For a more eclectic and modern feel, mix and match. Furniture sets are helpful if you’re tentative about your design skills, but there’s no reason you have to buy everything from the same collection. Also feel free to pair softer, more natural elements (woven roman shades, for example) with harder-edged elements (like glass tables).
3. Tone-on-Tone Color Schemes
The most common way to pick a color scheme is to find one element—such as a throw pillow, upholstered armchair or rug—and pull out various colors to use in other elements throughout the room. There’s nothing wrong with this tried-and-true method. But if you’re looking for a new feel, consider using essentially the same color but in varying intensities. For example, use a very pale aqua on the walls, then a much deeper teal for your sofa cushions. Many paint chips group a few colors in the same family together, arranged from lightest to darkest, so they can be a valuable (and free) resource when you’re picking out furnishings to match your wall color. Just be sure to stick to two or three colors at most to avoid a careless look, and use patterns to break up solid expanses of high-impact colors.