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80 Modern Living Room Ideas That Are So 2023

The term modern can mean so many things, and if you think about it, so can a living room. In this day and age, open-floor plans inhabit the space that smaller, self-defined rooms once did, housing living rooms that serve many functions. Here, you read your books, watch your Netflix, eat your meals, entertain your guests…you live. And such modes of living modern life require a similarly multifaceted design scheme.

Admittedly, a living room and the modern aesthetic don’t seem like a particularly compatible duo. As Cochineal Design principal and cofounder Sarah Sargeant points out, simply hearing about a modern living room might conjure a look that’s “sterile, austere, and one-note.” But in reality? Modern living rooms can deftly bridge the gap between the welcoming and well appointed. “Modernity has a streamlined tone that balances historic forms with a fresh sensibility,” New York-based designer Augusta Hoffman explains.

In fact, a modern look can mean incorporating anything from minimal to midcentury, natty to neutral, chrome to concrete. But where to start when you want to find your own version of modern? “I think that the most successful modern spaces find beauty in practicality, while using rich materials to soften the minimalism," Hoffman adds. Sargeant agrees. “For us, modern means it achieves lifestyle needs while also being minimal leaning,” she tells us. “We believe mixing time periods, tones, and textures can achieve a current look.” In 2023, Sargeant says, the secret to achieving a modern living room is “taking environmental, ecological, and longevity factors into account.” In other words, using locally sourced materials, working with nearby vendors, and minimizing climate impacts by reusing and buying vintage will help your living room transition nicely into the new year.

Factoring in such prerequisites, creating a living space that is rooted firmly in the present while still feeling timeless can feel like a tall order. To help, we’ve combed through our favorite living rooms from the ELLE DECOR archives to find the sleek spaces that push modernity into its furthest reaches. From can't-miss light fixtures to clever layout ideas, think of the list below as your 2023 design bucket list.


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