All Your Queries On How To Design A Modern Living Room Solved!

by Mehnaz Farooque | February 28, 2024 | 12 mins read

How to design a living room

“The living room should be a place where we feel totally at ease – temple of the soul.” –

Terence Conran, English designer

‘How to design a living room?’ can be a question with several answers. There’s not one single way to hack the most suitable living room design. There are layout choices, flooring options and seating arrangement ideas to consider among other things. However, there is a list of things that you can sort to create the most relevant living room design.

The living room is the place in the house where you can chill, rest and socialise with family and friends. Did you know – before the late nineteenth century, the living room was known as ‘parlor’, derived from a French verb ‘parle’ which means ‘to speak’. It was later, in the middle of the 19th century, that the term ‘living room’ became popular as the role of this space in the house changed over time. From a mere public space in the house to sit and talk, the living room became a part of the house where you can do different activities like watch TV, read books and display your family photographs. It became a space where we spend a lot of our time with our family and bond. Therefore, designing the living room is also a way of designing the heart of your home. And the heart of your home, above all, should resemble more like you and your family.

We have compiled here an exhaustive list of things you need to keep in mind to know how to design a modern living room. Take notes and bookmark the page because we are bringing you some amazing living room design choices and tips that will help you land up with the perfect living room for your home. 

1. How To Design A Modern Living Room Layout And Furniture?

The first thing while answering ‘how to design a living room’ is to be aware of what kind of living room layout you prefer. If your home already has an open design layout, you can go ahead and design the place with some open living room design ideas like a pastel colour scheme with modular furniture choices. However, if you want to keep things defined with partitions in your open living room, try to plan the whole living area by visualising it first. These days, you can get several types of room partitions that separate the areas without interrupting interiors. In fact, CNC cutting designs can act as a partition as well as a design element.

So, based on the type of living room layout, you have to choose the appropriate furniture types. 

  • Choose a wide lounger couch set for spacious open layout living rooms. Go for compact loveseats or lounger chairs for smaller or closed living areas.
  • For open living rooms, you can choose wall-length or floor to ceiling TV units with storage cabinets to keep everything under the covers. If you have a closed living room layout, choose a simpler TV unit that doesn’t overwhelm the place. 
  • You can add different types and colours of seating furniture in open layout living rooms. However, go for one colour couch set for a closed living room to avoid overdoing the seating area. 
  • If you are placing a jaali partition to demarcate the living area, don’t block the whole section. Instead, use the partition to cover half of the room so that the place looks spacious and wide.

2. How To Design A Living Room Dining Room Combo? Add Partitions And Structural Breaks!

Most contemporary houses have an open living room area with the combination of a dining section. This can be both simple and difficult to plan. Simple because it allows you to maintain a uniform design throughout your living room and dining section. And difficult because it may require more time to plan the whole living cum dining room design. But don’t you worry; we are here to make difficult things easy.

In case your living area has more dedicated space, you can separate the dining nook with a jaali partition or a wooden frame to delineate the areas. You can also make use of furniture sets to delineate the living and dining areas. For example, a wooden bookshelf, a vertical planter stand or a pooja unit can beautifully divide the living room and dining room without blocking the design. If you want some structural delineation between the two sections, you can go for staircases or arches to boldly define the sections. 

3. How To Design A Modern Living Room? Choose A Theme That Goes With Your Style

Interior design gravely depends on themes. Even if you aren’t following any particular theme, there’s always an underlying motif that designers follow to plan the design for homes. Thus, you need to pursue a general theme for your living room to give it a personality. If you want a modern living room design, go with contemporary colour schemes and furniture choices that would resemble modern times. However, this is not as simple as it sounds! There are hundreds of couch types, colour schemes and wall designs to choose from in a modern living room setup. Thus the right way to go ahead would be to follow these steps:

  • Choose a modern theme like an industrial look, minimalist look, rustic theme or botanical theme. 
  • Decide on a colour scheme. Do you want your space to have a pastel colour palette or perhaps a dark colour scheme?
  • How about the lighting? Do you have enough natural light flowing into the room? If not, what kind of ceiling or wall lights would you prefer?
  •  Know your favourite materials and textures such as wood, metal, wool and silk for the different items you will place in your living room. 

4. How To Design Furniture In A Living Room?

Furniture is the backbone of home interiors. Therefore, pay attention to the quality and look of the furniture sets in your living room. A thumb rule is to not overwhelm the place with random furniture. Keep things minimal and impressionistic. So, choose furniture as per your living room area. The next step is to decide what kind of furniture you prefer. Pay attention to the seating furniture first.

Choose a sofa or a couch that goes with your style of living. If you love to watch movies on the TV or to spend time reading books on the couch, choose a lounger type couch that is comfortable. In case you want things to be minimal and mature in the living area, go for mid-century wooden sofa sets. If you have enough carpet area for the seating section, choose a couch set, an ottoman and a single couch. In case the living room space is less, go for a love seat with a lounger chair to add some drama to the place.

Don’t go for metallic seating furniture as they can be uncomfortable and cold. You can choose materials like wood, velvet (if you like) and leather. The next is the entertainment unit. Go for a TV unit that is easy on the eyes and blends well with the seating setup. If space allows, add a pair of side tables and a centre table in the room.

Love this design? Make it your own

5. How To Design Lighting For A Living Room?

Living rooms are supposed to be bright and vibrant. So, place your seating arrangements by the window, from where you can enjoy a proper view and daylight. Windows will keep the place naturally bright and airy. In case your living room doesn’t get too much natural lighting, use ceiling light options to keep the place well illuminated.

After considering the lighting needs in your living room, go ahead and choose the types of lighting you want. You can go for:

  • Fancy sculptural LED overhead lights
  • Wall sconces
  • Built-in or LED strip lighting
  • Statement light fixtures 

Make sure to choose the type of lights as per the theme of your living room interiors. In case you are following the industrial design look, choose ceiling track lights or rustic floor lamps to accentuate the look. If the theme is luxury, you can go for ornate chandeliers and elegant wall lights. 

6. Pay Attention To Living Room Ceiling Options

Ceilings can add drama to a place or make the entire interior fall flat. Therefore, don’t overlook the ceiling choices for your living room. Firstly, select a ceiling design that blends well with the theme of your living room interiors. If you are going with a vintage style living room, you can use the moulding ceiling design. In case you want an industrial style room, go for exposed brick and wooden beams on the ceiling to add to the look.

If you are up for it, you can also go for a wainscotting ceiling with panels. Ceiling choices will also affect your lighting choices. Therefore, go for the lighting selection only after deciding on the ceiling types. You can also avoid false ceiling styles and go for the original ceiling if the room’s height is not too much. For such plain ceiling designs, choose paint colours appropriately to keep the space looking spacious and tall.

7. Choose A Flooring Type That Adds Space To The Living Room

Like the ceilings, the flooring choice can define your living room too. Therefore, go with the options that are the most suitable for your lifestyle and location. If you are in a more tropical region, go for marble flooring options. In case your home is in a colder region, you can select wooden flooring or carpet flooring. Out of the many flooring choices, hardwood floors are the most preferred ones. These flooring types add warmth and a luxurious feel to the room.

Some popular flooring choices in home interiors are:

  • Hardwood flooring (strip, plank and parquet)
  • Ceramic tiles
  • Concrete flooring (best for industrial design theme)
  • Marble floor (brings a luxurious appeal to the place)
  • Vinyl flooring
  • Bamboo flooring (to add a natural element to the room)

8. Make Living Room Design Statements With Accent Elements

When you’re wondering how to design a small living room, don’t hesitate to bring in some bold accent design elements to your space. This can be in the form of an accent wall that stands out in the room or a bold accent couch that instantly brings vibrancy to the room. Accent design elements are now a popular part of modern living room designs. The accent elements introduce an interesting twist to otherwise monotonous or limited setups.

You can create a living room accent wall with any type of bold and striking design such as a brick cladding wall, a floral wallpaper or a 3D wall design. Besides the wall, you can also add a bold couch with a striking colour to create an accent design element in the room. Even if there’s no accent wall or an accent couch, you can pep up your living room interiors just with a bright colour lounge chair!

9. How To Design A Living Room Wall With Pieces Of Art?

The living room is a section of your home where most people come and gather. Therefore, it’s a place that demands some display of art to define the room’s sentiment and your personality. So, depending on your style of interior, you can choose wall art pieces that strike a chord with you and your guests.

Don’t keep the walls of your living room empty. Add a piece of meaningful art to enhance the living room setup. You can also go for quotes, handmade paintings or family photos to spice up your living room walls. 

10. Master The Art Of Arrangements In Your Living Room

The last part of the answer to the question ‘how to design a modern living room’ is to master the art of arrangements. Instead of just winging it, try to set up a list of steps to perfect the arrangement in your living room. Here are the steps to keep in mind:

  • Find the focal point of the living room. For example, the seating area. Then arrange the rest of the setup around that focal point.
  • Emphasise immovable furniture sets like the TV unit and arrange the seating pieces accordingly.
  • Place a rug or a carpet to define the seating area in the living room.
  • Keep the coffee table at a reachable distance from the couch and the chairs.
  • Don’t block the walls, keep them free so that the space looks wide.
  • Maintain the movement flow in the room so that people have enough space to move around.

The living room is where everything is happening. It is the most social part of your home. Therefore, giving it the right look is of utmost importance. So, follow the rules of this guide on how to design a modern living room and create the perfect living room for you and your family. In case you want some more help, feel free to reach out to us or visit your nearest Design Cafe experience centre.

Do you want a living room that is lively and livable

If you enjoyed reading about how to design a living room, also explore how to decorate living room furniture.

Dreamy Interiors That Spell 'WOW'

Speak to our design experts today!

By submitting this form, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of use.

Mehnaz Farooque is a content writer at designcafe

Mehnaz Farooque

Mehnaz is a creative content writer at Design Cafe who is often found obsessing over Ghalib's Urdu poetry or J.K.Rowling's books. She believes in this world of social assumptions and opinions, memes are the only way to make life better. Her love for detailing inspired her to write about interior design. If not working on a blog or binging on her favourite show F.R.I.E.N.D.S, she's dreaming about spending time in the mountains.

Space-saving tips and informative guides delivered to your inbox!

Space-saving tips & guides delivered instantly!

Stay up-to-date with our weekly Newsletter