Photo Gallery: Contemporary & Modern Living Rooms
Be inspired by sleek spaces.
Stylist Claire Stubbs entertains dinner guests frequently, so she had Toronto firm Anthony Concrete Design make the clever fireplace hearth, which runs long enough to become seating for her 12-person dining table. White walls, recessed baseboards and an absence of trim and mouldings create a gallery-like setting for her collection of paintings by local artists.
A cosy sectional delineates the living area, featuring a large-scale cedar and stone fireplace — the same materials used on the exterior of the home. A coffee table by Vancouver artisan Brent Comber offers a rustic touch.
A love of natural materials, organic shapes and superb artistry creates a tactile and visual feast in the home of fashion designers Joe Mimran and Kimberley Newport-Mimran. The Martha Sturdy ball sculpture, David Hicks style geometric rug and twig side table create texture and visual interest in this space.
In this upstairs den, photography by Colin Faulkner and a whimsical area rug create a personalized context for iconic mid-century pieces such as a Noguchi table and Arco lamp.
Low-profile furniture keeps the eye focused on the fireplace, which is framed by a wall hand-finished with a high-sheen, two-tone polished plaster treatment and a wide granite hearth.
To keep the living room’s neutrals from reading as bland, homeowner and stylist Sabrina Linn used pieces with texture and tone-on-tone prints, including the herringbone sisal area rug, animal-print art and striped floor-to-ceiling drapes.
This 1970s home on Calgary’s Lake Bonavista was renovated into a contemporary space that maintained the integrity of the original architecture. The sunken living room shows the house’s retro personality. Design firm McIntyre Bills added a flamed granite slab to the original stonework of the fireplace, creating a juxtaposition of different textures. The smooth hardwood and shag rug also add to the play on texture.
A seductive play of tones, textures and silhouettes evokes a lounge-like vibe in this living room. A New York flea market yielded the ageless tufted-leather sofa and chairs, contrasted against a pale antique rug and glass-and-metal tables. Sexy black lamps and an abstract wood sculpture offset the linear window frames.
A striking fir ceiling evokes a warm loft look. Clean-lined sofas arranged around a large rug create the intimate feel of a cosy sectional. A large plant adds texture and helps divide the open space.
This living room is flooded with light from the floor-to-ceiling windows. Homeowner and designer Ashley Botten’s challenge was to create a cosy, inviting space for her young family; she accomplished that with grey-green walls, softly hanging grey drapes and ethnic textiles.
Watch a tour of this home on H&H Online TV.
Graphic black and white accents, a shag rug and a sleek waterfall coffee table enhance this style-savvy room. A window bench provides extra seating without cutting into floor space, and features Marimekko’s Joonas cushion cover on either end, by designers Maija and Kirstina Isola, and the Bottna cover by Anna Danielsson.
Warm, neutral fabrics, durable wood furniture and a textured rug are dog and kid-friendly. “I love having kids running around and we encourage all of our friends to bring their pets,” says Krista. An open-concept living-dining area allows them to spend more quality time together.
Maude Arsenault and Eric Tessier painted the exposed brick in their Montreal home the same colour as the walls to give the room a seamless look, while floating white shelves allow selected objects to stand out.
On chillier days, designer Peter Fleming’s double-sided fireplace helps heat the living room and principal bedroom. To give the metal surround a warmer look, Peter rusted it with a solution of rock salt and warm water, then waxed it to a dull finish. A rehabilitated Russel Spanner chair, saved from a junk store, contributes to the house’s mid-century modern vibe.
Watch a video tour of this house!
Modular leather sofas flank a Niels Bendtsen glass coffee table in this sparsely furnished space. Vancouver architect Clinton Cuddington modified a prefab fireplace unit,
removing its faux-brick insert, to create the clean-lined wood-burning fireplace and its twin log storage cubby.
This Calgary condo’s living room has a low-profile sectional sofa and backless chaise to keep views unobstructed. The glass coffee table with a geometric chrome base complements the space’s clean, minimal aesthetic, while a rustic cowhide rug, luxurious velvet pillows and a seagrass basket layer on warmth and texture.
The ’60s abstract by Robert Swain cues the subtle pink, purple and blue accents. Two big sofas give the effect of a sectional, while the Barcelona chairs keep the space open and welcoming.
In this living room decorated by Lloyd Ralphs Design, a contemporary sofa, chairs and ottomans are juxtaposed with standout pieces like a Gae Aulenti coffee table, an Ashley Hicks cocktail table and sculptural accessories. Splashes of burnt orange and animal print pillows complement the room’s warm palette.
White cabinets were placed on either side of this fireplace to hide electronics, CDs and photo albums. The fireplace’s red bricks were painted white, and a spare surround was added, allowing the room’s key pieces, such as the mid-century modern Eames lounge chair, to stand out.
This living room exemplifies 2011’s new layered look, with luxurious textures like velvet, faux fur, leather, sisal and well-curated books, plants and objets to give modern style a cosy update. Nods to classic modernism endure with timeless furniture and crisp white walls, but the overall look is softened with hand-thrown pottery, ample pillows, tufted upholstery and lots of wood. Silvery blue keep the palette au courant, while warm earthy tones enhance the homey vibe.
“This home’s boldness gives it a real western Canadian feel,” says homeowner and designer Douglas Cridland. From his Calgary home’s coffered walnut ceiling and arched windows, to its olivewood built-ins and honed black granite floor, the luxe materials reflect Doug’s well-travelled tastes.
Tracey Lebedovich and Josh Fehr of North Vancouver won ‘Best House’ in our 2009 Design Contest for turning a dated, wood-panelled ranch house into a stylish, functional home. In the living room, natural light pours through two walls of windows, keeping the main level open and bright all year round. A retro colour scheme and mid-century Eames chairs nod to the original style of the house.
A streamlined sofa, sheer drapes, white washed brick walls and glossy flooring combine to create a sleek and modern loft space.
“I’m a big fan of Scandinavian design,” says New York-based interior designer Brad Ford. “It’s simple and uncomplicated, yet functional and stylish.”
The home of DwellStudio founder Christiane Lemieux and her family, this SoHo loft in New York perfectly blends old-world style with industrial accents. Matching black columns and lamps add punch in an otherwise neutral space. Gilt offers a feminine note.
With a bleached-hardwood floor and an architectural mantel and fireplace, this living room has a mix of modern furniture and vintage finds, like the candleholder above the fireplace. Leggy furniture emphasizes the airy feel.
“The leather sofa was from Arriz’s old loft; it’s actually a collector’s item,” says House & Home editor Suzanne Dimma. “The den was the only place in the whole house where it would fit, so we had to make it work. I love it when someone gives you a challenge and you have to work around it.” Suzanne saved space by combining the den with a home office, and added offset cabinets above the desk to add interest to the office area.
Embrace the raw elements of condos and lofts, but add your own personal touches. The contemporary walnut wall, built-in bookshelf, shag rug and purple accent cushions lend a feminine touch to this industrial space, for instance.
This award-winning Toronto home features an open concept kitchen that separates the living room from the office area. A plywood and teak veneered island is equipped with a cooktop and sink while the teak-covered range hood also houses lighting. Varnished plywood ceilings and walls create warmth and keep the sun-drenched space from feeling too bright. Poured-concrete flooring gives the home an industrial vibe.
“My current home completely lacks architectural detail — despite it being almost 100 years old — so the mouldings in this space have me oozing with jealousy,” says Kim Johnson, co-author of the popular Desire to Inspire blog. “They are so glamorous and elegant. I love the juxtaposition of their classic vibe with the mid-century furnishings — quite an unexpected pairing.”
In the formal living room of Toronto developer Peter Freed, carved grey Philippe Starck sofas and a quartet of conversation provoking stools add whimsy and theatre to an otherwise pared-down space.
This family room’s south-facing windows provide passive solar heating and plenty of natural light. The modern rustic cube tables are made from salvaged maple.
Erika Federspiel of Toronto won “Best Living Room Transformation” in our 2008 design contest for this character-filled space. Erika had the Danish chair and ottoman refinished and reupholstered to work with the room’s black, grey and brown palette.
Toss pillows and a fur throw add a luxurious touch to a modern linen sectional in the living room of ET Canada’s host. The low seating of the couch creates the illusion of higher ceilings in the space.
Featuring a pivoting TV stand and revolving end table, this cleverly designed console serves both the living room and bedroom areas of this small open-concept space.
This glamorous black and white living room is grounded by a graphic patterned rug. A chunky wooden side table adds warmth and a visual break from the bold palette. Curvy bergere chairs are an opulent antique counterpoint and the large pencil drawing of the homeowner’s children adds a personal tone.
This modern living room has a green side — the wood stools are made of reclaimed wood and the leather and chrome armchairs are vintage finds that have been re-upholstered and renewed.
Inspired by a Chanel suit, polished marble flooring and a wood-burning fireplace clad in Carrara marble set the tone of luxury in this stylish living room. A large area rug, which is actually six smaller rugs stitched together, anchors the space. Black and white is a timeless palette and by simply switching the colour of accessories you can change the look of the room.
The design of this living room is simple and streamlined, yet there’s a nod to cosiness. A horizontal piece of wood delineates the fireplace mantel and echoes the horizontal lines of the shelving. Touches of texture, like the rug, leather chairs and caned chairs, prevent the space from seeming austere.
A finished basement feels more like an upstairs oasis when it’s packed with so many great design ideas. Floating walnut shelves, a gas fireplace with a rolled-steel surround, and a textural shag rug are just a few of the elements that elevate the space.
Watch a video tour of this beautiful, bright basement!
With an energy-efficient fireplace as its focal point, the seating area is grounded by a hide rug. A white sectional sofa is a blank canvas — echoing the rest of the room — and an ever-changing display for toss cushions in new palettes.
Wall-to-wall sliding glass doors framed in Spanish cedar allow light to flood this sparse yet calming room. The walls are painted in the creamy Dune White (CC-70) by Benjamin Moore, which complements the warm tones of the mid-century modern Danish furniture pieces.
Large, factory-style windows add drama to this airy, light-filled space designed by New York-based interior designer Steven Gambrel. Low furniture keeps the space open. Orange storage boxes displayed on shelves reference the slatted wood wall seen through the window, creating a connection between the indoor and outdoor rooms.