2020 | The Latest Modern Living Room Design Ideas For Your Home

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Is it finally time to say goodbye to chunky knit throws and tripod floor lamps? If you were looking to overhaul the design of your living room, the experts say yes. When it comes to living room ideas, it seems there are trends that have persisted for years, that are now making way to simple luxuries, sustainability and a softer style of living that feels a little more lived-in, a little less sparse, with just a hint of traditionalism. 

With so much going on in the living room design space, and the endless scrolling on Pinterest looking at lounge room ideas, furniture and decor, it can all get overwhelming pretty quickly. 

To help you out, we’ve perused the latest industry reports, trend forecasts and leant on the advice of experts to give you a list of what’s in – and what’s out – when it comes to design and living room decor.

Modern living rooms call for sustainable furniture and decor

We live in an age where the act of purchasing a piece of flat-pack furniture, an acrylic rug and mass-produced decor fails to make a dent in our bank accounts. While these pieces are cheap and cheerful, the idea of having to replace them again in just a couple of years is becoming less and less appealing to us. Not only because of the increased cost over time, but also because of the affect this kind of purchasing behaviour has on the environment. 

Instead, designers and homeowners alike are looking to pieces that echo a real sense of craftsmanship. Whether the piece is brand new, or vintage, there is a real nod to purchasing items that will really stand the test of time.

Classicism is the new modern design trend

Classic touches are back in a big way. Some are calling this nod to the past “Grandmillennial” style, which by all accounts, seems to focus on a maximalist kind of aesthetic. In 2020, however, we’re seeing small touches of the classics in living rooms, classical ornamentalism, if you will. 

It’s taking shape in the form of large hanging wall tapestries, busts, candelabras and Grecian details. Designers are incorporating these elements into spaces without going overboard, and we’ve gotta say, we’re definitely here for it. 

Looking for more large wall decor ideas for your living room? Read this.

Bringing the outside in

When decorating living rooms, plants are still a big deal. While fiddle leaf figs are still popular, there are some new it plants that are making waves in the living room design world. We’re talking olive trees, cacti and the cast iron plant, which are all popping up in modern living rooms across the country.

A little about each:

  • The cacti will thrive in a sunny spot in your living room and is generally pretty low maintenance. 
  • The cast iron plant is native to Japan and Taiwan and is perfect for areas with low-light that you’ve been longing to style. We’re not going to say these guys thrive on neglect, but they’re generally pretty hardy and can tolerate infrequent watering. 
  • Indoor olive trees are taking the design world by storm and look fantastic in modern living rooms due to their light coloured foliage. While they are a full-sun plant, they will be okay in a sunny spot in your living room; just be sure to rotate them every week or take them outside once a fortnight for a big dose of UV. Oh, and remember to buy a dwarf variety because olive trees can grow very large.

Get the look, hire a designer from only $299 p/room today.

Room colour ideas in modern homes; we say don’t be scared of coloured walls

It’s been nearly a decade of white, on white, on white. We get it, it’s a safe colour, super-Scandi and a trusted go-to for many when they’re deciding to paint their walls. Now the tides are turning, and we’re seeing homeowners starting to embrace colour, but still in a neutral kind of way. 

Trend forecasting company WGSN have predicted spearmint as 2020’s ‘it’ colour, which looks beautiful with paired-back pale woods, linen couches and statement rugs and lamps. We’re also seeing interiors veering towards pale sea blues and even ochre-esque rusts, which can look fabulous in a living room, if the treatment and styling is on-point. Check out the Sydney home of famed interior designer Sibella Court to see what we mean. 

Yes, paint can be absolutely transformative. We’re even seeing rooms being washed completely in one continuous paint colour, including skirting, ceilings, window frames and cornices. It’s a technique that seems to have been brought to the fore by famed British designer Abigail Ahern, who swears by this technique to make rooms appear larger and more grand. 

Neutral colours prevail in living rooms… but in a different way

Walls have stayed fairly neutral over the past decade, whereas our furniture really has not. We’ve spent years opting for deep blue couches, gold side tables and moss green velvet occasional chairs because these features were once the crux of what modern living room interior design looked like. It was a very decadent kind of luxury, with the all-knowing nod to the luxe of art deco. 

But, looking forward, we’ll see more of an emergence of simple luxuries in our living room furniture choices. That means swapping out brass for wood and stone and opting for natural fabrics like linen, flax and rattan to communicate a more organic and natural feel. Gone are acrylic shag pile rugs, and instead we’re saying hello to seagrass mats and vintage Oushak rugs in a variety of toned-down pastels. Simple and relaxed living room decor is what’s driving modern living room design these days.

The experts are echoing these same design principles as well. Ellen Sideri, the CEO of ESP Trendlab told Architectural Digest that design in 2020 will take a more subdued approach. 

“We see a transition into gorgeous warm neutrals that cleanse the palate and hint at the reemergence of tradition,” she said. 

That means, neutral colours that used to feature largely in the background (white walls, we’re looking at you), will now make their way into the foreground. What is the name of this style? Some call it wabi-sabi (which is a beautiful way to create a stylish Japanese living room, by the way), but we think it’s a mix of all that is good in this world: relaxed, beachy, wabi-sabi, neo-traditionalism – it’s everything a modern and eclectic living room should be. 

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