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How to Put Together a Contemporary Living Space

Updated on February 17, 2016

One look at Pinterest’s “home design” tags will show that contemporary living spaces are in. The sleek, clean look is serene to most, but while contemporary living rooms often look simplistic, there are quite a few elements to consider when pulling together the space.

If you’re looking to redesign your living room to have a more contemporary feel, your first consideration should be how you intend to use the room. While in the past a living room might have been a space reserved for formal entertaining and often empty otherwise, today’s living rooms may also be used as family rooms, play spaces, or TV viewing areas, especially in homes without a separate family room or den. Knowing the elements you wish to include-- whether that includes multiple seating areas for guests, a desk for children to work on homework, or an entertainment center-- can help you plan an effective layout.


Lighting can make all the difference when upgrading a room from dated to contemporary. If your room does not include a lot of natural lighting, you may want to consider adding windows or additional artificial lighting to ensure your room is well lit, as dark rooms tend to feel small and less inviting. Layering sources of light such as windows, skylights, recessed lights, sconces, or lamps will give you many options for adjusting the lighting in your room, whether you want it as bright as possible or dimmed and low-key for an evening gathering.

Clean Lines

The key to contemporary design is to maintain clean, uncluttered lines. Placement of furniture should allow traffic to flow freely through the room without awkwardly routing guests through conversation space. To help ensure that surfaces such as coffee tables and end tables remain clear, consider including built-ins such as bookcases or media consoles, such as the ones shown below made by Sea Pointe Construction for a Laguna Niguel home remodel. For multifunction living rooms, including doors on these built-ins can allow you to hide electronic components and other potentially unsightly but practical items when you’d prefer the room to have a more formal feel, while keeping them easily accessible for daily use. Smart storage will allow you to have the things you need on hand without making your living room feel cluttered.

Hardwood Floors

Hardwood flooring is a popular option in contemporary design. Wall-to-wall carpet, while a relatively inexpensive alternative, has fallen out of favor for use in high-traffic areas such as living rooms because of its propensity to stain and to absorb odors. If you like the feel of textiles underfoot, a good compromise is to use area rugs. These can help define seating areas as well as bringing in a pop of color or texture to a room. Depending on your taste or your home’s overall architecture, you may even want to consider a natural stone or concrete floor.

The best part of a contemporary living space is that once you have the foundation in place, you can make it your own with pops of color in your furniture, décor, and wall art. Overall, have fun and make the space reflect your own sense of style.


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