Decorating & Design

September 6, 2012

Ask A Designer: Contemporary Living Room

Q. I’d like a modern, loft-style look in my new apartment, but I’m not sure how to get it. I’ve painted all the walls white and purchased a new sofa. But I still have bedsheets on the windows because I can’t decide on a drape colour. I like black and white striped rugs — would one work here?

— Gloria, via email (To submit your own question, see our Ask A Designer™ page.)

A. Your sofa and media stand are large pieces that balance each other well; they’ll be easy to work with. While your chrome chair is modern, consider replacing it with something warmer. The Storsele rattan armchair (shown) from Ikea has a glossy lacquered black finish, so it feels more contemporary than country. Add a neutral seat cushion for comfort and frame the sofa with one armchair at either end.

Instead of drapes, install sleek white roller blinds, which will provide privacy and soften the look, but still allow light to filter in.

A bold striped rug will look great — they work especially well in modern spaces (checkout the inspiration shot). But instead of black and white, try Dash & Albert’s Catamaran Stripe rug in Charcoal/Ivory (shown). The colours are a bit softer and will work nicely with your sofa.

Look for a coffee table with a sophisticated retro style, like the Vandyke cocktail table (shown) from Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams. Its warm satin brass frame will balance the the rug’s strong contrast, and the overall design will elevate the rattan armchairs.

Consider adding an art wall above the TV, as in our inspiration. Use a variety of frame sizes in white and black, with one or two gold ones in the mix. Bring height to the shorter side of the media unit with a Buster floor lamp in Deep Patina Bronze (shown) from Robert Abbey to balance the taller portion.

Of course, I’m always a fan of neutral, but adding some colour never hurts! I like the pop of cerise in the Tabla and Diamonds pillows (shown) from Judy Ross Textiles. Scatter a couple along your sofa to liven up the room.

Finally, open storage can be tricky to style since it always has to look its best. Pick up a few inexpensive paper-laminate boxes to hide all the messy bits.

See more Ask A Designer responses. Plus, submit your own question, with instructions from our Ask A Designer™ page.

1. Lamp, Robert Abbey. 2. Rug, Dash & Albert. 3. Pillows, Judy Ross Textiles. 4. Table, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams. 5. Chair, Ikea.