20 Modern Living Rooms

Space, light, and twists on color use define this collection of some of our favorite modern living rooms from issues past. View the collection all the way through to discover a surprising application of coral paint.
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A glowing interior palette of bright pinks and reds is defined by jet-black steel frames, water tanks, and roofs in this Australian weekend home. Organic spacial form harmonizes to cohesive effect with the contrasting elements of black window frames and joinery. Refreshingly, the architect departed from a prevailing school of thought that insists rural dwellings blend sympathetically with the Australian bush. Instead, he imagined his building as a bold insertion. (Or the inside of a whale, ribs and all, according to the architect's friends.) Bold though it may be, the house is also practical, making use of clever solutions for resource use and child safety. Read more about the Judd home here.


Geometric elements such as square windows and a semicircular lounge frame the ample light coming from a southern greenbelt in this living room. Despite lot and permit limitations, the home is a remarkable ode to modern living in Austin—complete with a special family backstory. Click here to see every room.

A path of dark stone flooring creates a strong visual line through the open rooms and floating furnishings (such as these Metropolitan chairs by Jeffrey Bernett for B&B Italia). But there's much more to see in this home: Loyal readers will recognize the House of Earth + Light as the cover feature of the premiere issue of Dwell. See it all here.

Once a warren of small, dark rooms, the main floor now offers a clear sight line from the patio straight through the kitchen, dining room, sitting area, and spare room to the street-facing window. Skylights deliver additional light into the 9.5-foot-wide home. Read more about this iconic San Francisco house that is often (erroneously) cited as the city's smallest.

Architect Chad Everhart demolished a rotting Depression-era home (evidenced by cardboard-stuffing as insulation) and rebuilt it from the foundation up for just $159,000, land included, using locally-sourced pine and salvaged materials. Learn how he did it in Farmhouse Redux.

Guitarist Andrew McKenzie built his first home squat in the middle of a commercial apple orchard. Resembling a floating barn on the exterior, the interior is all modern, including McKenzie's choice of "honest" plywood walls over New Zealand's popularly-used GIB (a brand of plasterboard). A high ceiling - viewable as an asymmetrical apex from the outside - aids acoustics and makes the home feel larger than its modest 26x26 footprint. Read more about the McKenzie Residence here.

The soaring living room of architect Alejandro Sticotti could stand in for a furniture showroom: The architect designed the couch, coffee tables, and stumplike stools, while shelving was impressive enough to be picked up by Design Within Reach for production. But the Sticotti house is also remarkable for presenting a distinctively Argentinean dose of modernity, which stands in contrast to the century-old Tudors surrounding it. View the entire slideshow here.

The second level of this reinvented factory features an open kitchen and dining room that does double duty as office. But this isn't your typical live/work space. Basic Village brings the entire business operation (factory, office, retail) of its owner, Marco Boglione, under one roof and throws in a bank, bar, supermarket, salon, roof garden, and residence for good measure. See all of "Basic Living."

When Los Angeles architects Alice Fung and Michael Blatt began building their own home, they became their own ideal clients: Open to adventurous ideas, but still within the mainstream. They were also mindful of the historic Mount Washington neighborhood on which the home is built, avoiding the locale's development trend toward too-high dwellings. A high ceiling in the living room is architecturally stunning, but also serves a neat purpose of better capturing the home's northern-slope light. Modern and livable, Eames chairs are equally at ease with a sod seat on the deck. Take a peek into Domestic Democracy.


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