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A lesson in design styles

Check out these stunning living room design styles that range from contemporary to traditional.


Contemporary living rooms feature softened, rounded lines and contain neutral elements with pops of bold colour.

Focused on the basics of line, shape and form, the designer ties everything together with a subdued palette of warm greys and lavenders, accented with butter yellows.

Create the look:

  • Paint the walls a neutral shade, like taupe or grey
  • Add brightly coloured accessories, like an abstract art piece or graphic rug
  • Use floor or table lamps that feature straight lines and metallic finishes

Cottage design is a colourful, comfortable look characterized by painted and decorated furniture with graceful lines. The cottage palette is purely botanical, including shades such as light apricot, dusty pink and cool greens.

Create the look:

  • Attach beadboard to walls that are painted in a light, sunny colour
  • Find an old, unique piece of furniture at your local auction or secondhand store, paint it a creamy white and distress it
  • Add pillows in floral, striped or checkered prints

If you can't choose one style, go eclectic. It's a mixture of different styles and periods, but pulls the look together through a similar texture, finish, pattern or colour. The designer creates an eclectic living room by mixing contemporary furnishings with traditional architectural elements, like the French doors and fireplace hearth. To keep the look cohesive, she uses a similar colour tone throughout the room.





Create the look:

  • Create a simple background by painting the walls a neutral colour
  • Pull your favourite furnishings into the space, but make sure they have a similar element that ties them together;
  • Be an individual. Mix in brightly coloured vases with elegant silver

Mid-century modern style is characterized by simplicity and natural shapes. It is often emphasized by ample windows, an open floor plan and the idea of bringing the outdoors in. A warm mid-century living room with a modern twist. The wall of windows and natural stone fireplace evoke an organic atmosphere, while mid-century modern furnishings add a contemporary touch.

Create the look:

  • Look for a classic mid-century piece, like an Eames chair or Guariche sideboard on eBay or Craigslist
  • Bring in natural elements, like wood furnishings or organic textiles

Clean and streamlined, modern style is characterized by a neutral colour palette, strong geometric shapes and asymmetry. Here, an urban loft features expansive windows and walnut hardwood floors is filled with sleek, metal-accented furnishings.

Create the look:

  • Allow neutral colours to take centre stage, like white walls with tone-on-tone furnishings
  • Add accessories with metallic or glass surfaces
  • Highlight the space with rugs or artwork that feature graphic shapes

Traditional design is comfortable and classic, featuring furnishings that are consistent in style. It may not be an unexpected look, but it’s timeless and can still look fresh. A mixture of well-scaled furniture, antique rugs and European tapestries creates this classic living room.

Create the look:

  • Arrange furniture, artwork and accessories symmetrically
  • Hang tailored window treatments, like formal swags or classic panels
  • Add pillows in classic prints, like damask or floral