Photo Gallery: Colourful Contemporary Living Rooms
See bold & lively modern living room designs.
An opening below the wall and a stone column create the illusion of a fireplace.
Unexpected pieces, such as vintage bowling pins and a typography print, add life and colour to this room. A pale turquoise wall layers a serene note into this quirky space.
A brightly coloured space from the creator of Apartment Therapy.
In Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan’s living room, rich layers and a judicious use of colour fuse high style with family-friendly design.
Light fills this open-concept space.
Natural linen window coverings bring warmth into this entertaining room. An accent wall painted a muted shade of teal complements the beautiful reddish sapele wood panelling.
Make a statement with Hermès orange.
This bright yet livable hue looks best in a flat finish. Crisp white trim keeps the palette fresh. And like the bolduc ribbon that’s tied around every Herme?s box, chocolate brown furniture — in sumptuous fabrics such as velvet — offers a sophisticated finishing touch.
A bright and lively living room.
New recessed lighting, a leaded-glass window and mini floral mosaic tiles on the fireplace surround gave the tired, wood-trimmed living room new life. Fashionable chairs upholstered in a kelly-green trellis print are the perfect companions to a simple white sofa.
See the “before” photo in our Stylish Family Home Makeover gallery.
Inspired by street lighting, this light was originally designed for dining rooms.
The Arco lamp by Achille Castiglioni and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni transforms the ceiling light into a freestanding floor piece. Its strong aesthetic presence and space-age connotations makes it a favourite in high-style living and office spaces.
Refresh a room with a coat of two of paint.
Update a tired room by changing up the wall colour — or better yet, the walls, trim and ceiling. Use a mid tone on walls and a paler tint on the ceiling with trim in goes-with-everything grey as the basis for a rich, regal space. Add a complement to enhance the look: try experimenting with colour wheel opposites (think shades of red with greens, shades of blue with oranges, and shades of yellow with purples) in soft graduated shades. Here, H&H senior style editor Morgan Michener added gold-hued upholstery, embellishments, art and accessories to make lilac walls pop, with hits of black to anchor the arrangement.
See our photo gallery for more fast decorating fixes.
This den pays homage to the retro architecture of the home.
In this 1970s home on Calgary’s Lake Bonavista, floating wooden shelves incorporated into the fireplace’s Pece limestone surround create an asymmetry that is very mid-century modern. Designer James McIntyre chose a Nuevo floor lamp and bright orange sofas to go along with the theme.
Add layers to a bookshelf by hanging artwork in front of shelves you don’t need to access frequently.
A yellow velvet couch pops against the black bookshelves behind it. Floor-to-ceiling shelving provides enough space for countless books, objects and mementos.
Dark furniture grounds a bright Panton chair and painted floors.
“Yellow and turquoise together are quite the flashy combo, but here it all gets very sophisticated against a clean-lined velvet sofa in dark plum and beige panelled walls,” says Arren Williams, stylist and founder of the design blog, Arren Williams Design Lab. “Take out those two key bright colours, and replace them with neutrals, and you’d have quite the safe, chic space – though if you ask me, it’s the neon colours that make the room really work.”
See more of Arren Williams’s design picks in the Arren Williams’ Favourites photo gallery.
Bright colours and patterns look sophisticated when paired with on-trend neutrals.
Yellow drapes with a box-pleat valance and patterned wallpaper combine for a polished tone-on-tone effect in Victoria Webster’s living room. The sofa, carpet and trim in pale grey balance the graphic impact of the yellow wallpaper without stealing its thunder.
See more sunny spaces in our photo gallery of 26 Happy Yellow Rooms.
Stone, seagrass, wicker and wood mix with slate grey and quince green for an edgier take on the Hamptons look.
A daring colour palette, large windows and an incredibly high ceiling all contribute to the jaw-dropping style of the 2010 Princess Margaret Showhome’s open concept living room. Patterned pillows in crisp blue and white bring decorative punch to the home’s clean, uncluttered aesthetic and classic furniture. Breezy sightlines between rooms maintain an airy feel.
Mismatched vintage chairs and a bold Bev Hisey rug add character to this space.
When renovating and decorating his first house, stylist Arren Williams installed deep baseboards and dentil crown mouldings in keeping with the period of the house. The mouldings and walls were painted white to unify and brighten the space, and provide a clean backdrop for the rich brown tones of the vintage furniture, including a modern teak chair found in the garbage.
Make use of vertical spaces in lofts for extra storage options.
Oak shelves hung above the living room desk emphasize the 18-foot ceilings, as well as provide a place to store books, objets and other items. The combination of wood tones and off-white paint gives the space a warm feel, softening the industrial elements. The home gym looks over the living area.
See more of this space in our Stylish Loft Living gallery.
A bowl of oranges, a striking Jacobsen Swan chair and a tangerine-coloured throw add vibrancy to an otherwise neutral colour palette of cream, brown and grey.
A vase of branches adds texture, while a Noguchi coffee table, a celebrated art print, and Arco floor lamp add design savvy. A soft shag rug pulls the look together and softens the deep tones of the hardwood floor.
Mix DIY pieces with investment furniture for a crisply edited space.
A durable, budget-friendly alternative to hardwood, slate-look ceramic tiles create visual flow throughout this house. The living room’s modern aesthetic is offset by a classic 40-year-old Heriz wool rug. The homeowner had the rug’s border trimmed for a contemporary look.
Street style meets sophisticated fashion in this space.
A mod mix of black, indigo and burnished gold rakishly blurs the line between hipster hangout and members-only hideaway. To get the look, introduce retro polish with smoked-glass accents, then enliven the moody ambience with vintage leather pieces and graphic patterns, from handsome stripes to exotic tribal prints.
Dark tones, luxe textiles and handsome details turn a ho-hum living room into an elegant space reminiscent of a Gentleman’s Club.
Deep charcoal walls draw the eye to the concrete ceiling and contrast beautifully with the crisp white slipcovered sofa and pop-art pillows. One statement piece of art, rather than a gallery wall, keeps the look simple and high-end. A white tray provides visual relief on the dark coffee table and becomes an ever-changing display space.
See more stylish condo spaces in our Luxe Condo Decorating Ideas gallery.
Add energy to a neutral white space with bold red and blue accessories.
Former H&H staffer Michael Penney transformed this budget studio apartment into a bright, Scandinavian-inspired and multifunctional space. A sisal and cotton rug anchors the living area, filled with inexpensive furniture such as an Ikea sofa and two Parsons-style side tables pushed together to form a coffee table. In the corner, a plywood panel wallpapered with a colourful floral pattern acts as a large art piece. (A cheap and easy way to add style to a rental without angering the landlord.) Fern leaves mounted in Ikea picture frames create an affordable art wall above the couch, while in the window, a long piece of bamboo from Chinatown replaces a pricier curtain rod.
Get more Budget Decorating Ideas in our photo gallery.
Apple-green cabinetry adds punch in an otherwise neutral living area.
A comfortable sofa, George Nelson bench and chenille rug offer warmth in this modern space. The TV cabinets, customized by One Point Six in Vancouver, show a playful twist on the traditional wall unit.
For instant impact, paint walls with 16″-wide vertical stripes in a simple two-toned palette.
Take the stripes right over baseboards and mouldings for added drama. Continue the theme with striped accessories — different widths easily mix as long as every pattern has a similar background colour.
A sparkling chandelier, glass coffee table and Saarinen side table keep this room airy and light.
“While that round shag rug is slightly too much – even for me – it really does quite the smashing number in the space. I’d lose the shag, but keep the colour,” says Arren Williams, stylist and founder of the design blog, Arren Williams Design Lab. “I love the commitment to colour and pattern in this space, right down to the tiled hearth, patchwork sofa and multi-head ’50s floor lamp. Plus, any space with white painted floors will get the thumbs up from me.”
See more of Arren Williams’s design picks in the Arren Williams Design Lab photo gallery.
The Vancouver haven of The Cross’ designer.
When consulting with clients, Peter always gives this advice: “Surround yourself with the things you love and buy the best you can afford.” He applied that wisdom when he designed his first condo — complete with come-hither cushions, display-worthy artifacts and splurge-worthy artwork. “And every space should have great lighting,” he insists. Enter the Bourgie lamp from Kartell, a modern accent atop of stack of books.
Get creative with bookcases in an open space.
These clever bookcases run the entire perimeter of this open-concept room, offering storage without cluttering up or breaking sight lines. At only 27” tall, these open shelves are perfect for storing books and curios, freeing up concealed storage areas for less aesthetically pleasing objects. Be sure to limit the number of pieces placed on top of the bookcases to maintain the open feeling.
An expansive industrial conversion loft in Regina.
White-painted brick walls let the stunning architecture of this space speak for itself. The colour scheme was taken from Regina’s natural elements: wheat-yellow and leaf-green. Vintage film lights and and weathered metal accents contribute to the raw feeling of the loft, while cosy textiles and the fireplace make it livable.
Bright walls, storage and accent pieces pull this room together.
The intense colours of the walls and bookcase backing are set off by crisp white trim and shelving. The scale and size of the bookcase offers plenty of storage for office items, and also adds character to the large space.
Have you found an amazing wallpaper pattern but can only afford one roll?
“This idea from designer Summer Thornton is a great example of an easy way to give a space architectural interest, colour and pattern all in one go, while keeping the project budget manageable,” says Apartment Therapy‘s managing editor, Janel Laban. “She simply framed out a wallpapered section of the wall with painted moulding for maximum impact and minimum cost.”
Or try these DIY Wallpaper Panels for a less permanent display.
Get more Apartment Therapy design lessons in our gallery.
See our photo gallery for more fast decorating fixes.
Colour-blocked books add punch to white shelves and collectibles.
Former H&H style editor Michael Penney splurged on a chocolate brown tuxedo sofa with a well-made frame. A seagrass rug and vintage glass and wood furniture introduce texture and personality in the space.
Glass, mirror and rattan mix beautifully in this boho-chic sitting area.
A white sofa and faux-bois lamp look fresh against a deep-blue wall. A Moorish tile rug and painted rattan chairs create a global, eclectic atmosphere.
Refined furniture and a complementary palette tames an audacious combination of patterns.
In this living room design, oversized, painted stripes visually raise the ceiling without looking busy. The large, playful floor lamp lends a fresh, fun perspective. A lively range of purple and brown hues, combined with a mixture of striped and floral patterns, also adds a lighthearted note.
For more lighting options, see our Statement Lighting photo gallery.
A charcoal love seat, Moorish patterned rug and bright yellow painted desk give this small room a contemporary look.
Striped wallpaper helps move the eye up and across the ceiling, making this tiny den appear larger. The thrift store lamp base (with a Jonathan Adler flavour) looks like a million bucks thanks to a coat of white spray paint.
A loft with a mix of vintage and contemporary styles.
A beautiful floral wallpapered accent wall in daffodil yellow is the perfect complement to warm chocolate tones and an expansive exposed brick wall. Sunshades let in diffused light through the large, industrial windows.
See more sunny spaces in our photo gallery of 26 Happy Yellow Rooms.