7 Living Rooms Remodels Find New Life
7 renewed living room spaces offer ideas for relaxing and gathering
Rivaled only by the kitchen and bedroom, the living room is where you spend most of your time. So, designing it to match your lifestyle and personal aesthetic is key. Here, see how seven homeowners with unique modern living room ideas reimagined their spaces. From large open-concept layouts to smaller spots with creative uses of space, aspiring renovators can find inspiration at every turn.
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Cottage-style living room inspires a calm aesthetic
Part of a full-home remodel, this living room turned from dated to dreamy. Homeowner Monique always loved the idea of a cottage-style home. So, when she bought her 1940s row house in Queens, she hired a Sweeten contractor to help realize her vision. They ripped up the carpet floors to expose beautiful hardwood and chose a classic walnut stain. To make the room appear larger, her contractor suggested opening up the archway between the entry and living room. Plus, they installed European tilt-and-turn style windows.
The result is a living room that has Monique’s desired aesthetic (cottage meets modern) and is bigger and brighter. “My renovated space feels like a peaceful retreat,” says Monique. “I love how welcoming and warm it feels for my friends and their kids to come and hang out.”
Art deco arches uplift this living room
What stands out the most in this living room remodel is immediately clear: the stunning art deco archways. When their clients hired Can Vu Bui and Lane Rick, principal architects at the Office of Things, they asked them to reimagine the main floor of their 1920s rowhouse. And that they did! From front-to-back, they incorporated Art Deco details, like the arches you see in the living room. This helped to bring in space and light, which was the main goal. “We replaced the existing walls with elegant structural arches,” says Bui. The space went from dreary to cheery.
Elegant seating with a view
The living room in this Kips Bay, Manhattan apartment had good bones. It was already, spacious so no walls needed to be knocked down to increase its square footage. It featured a stunning wall of windows and original hardwood floors. The challenge for interior designer Tara Benet was to refresh this tired living room, last renovated 30 years ago.
To help her do so, she hired a Sweeten contractor. Together, they transformed a dull space into a work of art. They started by removing the old track lighting (nothing dates a place more than bad lighting!) The ceiling was concrete so they couldn’t install recessed lighting. The workaround? Two gorgeous chandeliers that do double duty. They effectively light the room and provide a beautiful focal point.
The flooring also needed to be redone. The original area rug was in the same spot for nearly 30 years. The intense UV rays faded the varnish over the years, leaving the flooring two-toned. The fix was to re-sand and re-varnish the entire floor in a light stain to add a fresh look. Benet also selected a white, with a slight orange base, for the walls. The result: a mix of muted and rich hues of blue and gold for a modern aesthetic that pops.
A small but spunky studio apartment
The apartment itself may be small, but the living room’s design is big in style. Taylor turned to Sweeten to find a contractor to help renovate her family’s 320-square-foot Manhattan studio. She knew it wasn’t going to be her forever home, so she renovated with that in mind. She was delighted when her contractor found curved pass-throughs underneath drywall and paneling. “It was great to find a bit of the apartment’s charm still intact,” said Taylor. She also ripped out the paneling and updated the dark teal walls.
Before the remodel, she said it felt a little like a “dungeon.” But by opting for a lighter color for the walls, it instantly brightened up the space. She gave it a modern feel by painting the window trim in a contemporary charcoal shade.
A Hollywood star gets a new living room for a growing family
Like so many other homeowners, Little Fires Everywhere actress Jaime Ray Newman and her husband dreamed of renovating their home. But when the couple discovered they were expecting their second, they realized it was time. “It was now or never,” says Newman. “We knew that with two kids, we’d want an open floor plan.” So, they hired a designer and a Sweeten contractor and got to work.
The result is a living room that is both stylish and functional for her young family. The room seamlessly flows into the kitchen and dining area for much-needed clear sightlines. A gray sectional ties into the gray and white cabinets of the kitchen while a console with wood doors complements the nearby dining table. The actor and producer have this advice for those thinking of renovating. “These are massive decisions that you can’t turn back on, so hire a designer if you have doubts,” she says. “And hire a contractor whose aesthetic you love.”
Reproducing the look and feel of a modern hotel
Wife and husband duo, Keren and Thomas Richter, run White Arrow, a design firm in NYC. Their client, a successful digital agency founder, wanted his Brooklyn apartment to have the essence of a sophisticated, urban hotel. He was used to traveling for work and this aesthetic spoke to him. One of the challenges was the narrow layout of the ground floor. A positive was the high ceilings, but the small, tight space also had what Richter explains as “a disjointed arrangement of extrusions and unflattering angles.”
They worked with a Sweeten contractor to fix this. Design techniques were employed to make the space feel wider and more expansive. For example, they bleached the floors to make them lighter. They also white-washed the exposed brick for a more modern feel. And finally, added dramatic chandeliers and sconces to draw the eye up. “The designs are super smart and well-executed,” the homeowner says. “I am really happy.”
A multi-functional family room
Tara and Ryan decided to live in their outdated loft in Soho for a few years before making the decision to renovate. When the couple found out they were going to have a baby, they sprung into action. They needed a space that was conducive to their new family life. Tara and Ryan hired a Sweeten contractor to re-imagine their 1,200-square-foot apartment.
In addition to a kitchen and bathroom remodel, the couple wanted a functional family/living room. “The vision was to embrace the original loft aesthetic with an industrial-meets-modern design,” said Tara. “We wanted to re-expose the brick along the entire length of the living room wall.” This gave it the updated industrial look they desired. This long wall also allowed them to add much-needed storage. They had built-ins installed, which are perfect for storing toys, books, and other household items. It is now an ideal family room—both beautiful and functional.
Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, scope, and style. Follow the blog, Sweeten Stories, for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation with Sweeten.
To design a modern living room, focus on improving the rooms’ brightness and spaciousness, as cramped spaces and poor lighting can instantly date a room. To mimic a modern living room’s airiness, explore removing entire walls or portions of walls. Add archways to improve flow through the rooms. To recreate a modern living rooms’ brightness, repaint walls in a light color, use light stain on flooring (not dark), and increase brightness with windows or upgraded interior lighting.