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Modern living room ideas on a budget

You don't need a fashionable architect to drag your home into the 21st century, nor do you need to invest in large amounts of steel and glass. A few simple modern living room design ideas can give your lounge a contemporary feel and change the whole atmosphere of the space.

Chic and cool

If you do not have the budget for sleek, high-tech contemporary design, that does not mean you can't make your home look up-to-date. Indeed, some modern living room ideas can make a virtue out of limited resources.

Before choosing a new design, decide what your living-room is for. If most of your family activities take place elsewhere, like a kitchen-diner or TV lounge, the living-room can be an elegant space for entertaining. Otherwise, you need to remember the practicalities of day-to-day living.

An austere, minimalist look can accentuate the advantages of having relatively little furniture. A minilmalist design requires clean lines and simple, even stark, colour schemes. Going for this Japanese-influenced modern look is probably not a possibility for famiies with small children.

Anybody who has visited an East London gastropub in recent years cannot have missed the prevalence of "shabby-chic" decor. This involves salvaged (or"upcycled") furniture, some of it deliberately roughed-up or "distressed", to create a comfortable vibe, popular with hipsters. This design scheme works well with exposed brickwork and (for the man of the house), a luxuriant beard.

Wood-burning stoves are increasingly popular, but you don't have to opt for a traditional hearth or fireplace. Sleek wall-inserted models are available that can fit in with contemporary decor.

Fashion trends

The downside of most modern living room ideas is that they are subject to the vagaries of fashion. What seems very cool now might look very dated when you try to sell the house in five years time. For this reason, be wary of making any major structural alterations that will be expensive to remedy.

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