30 Living Rooms That Transcend Design Eras

Many successful artists and designers draw on the past for their innovative breakthroughs, and this principal certainly extends to interior decor too. It’s hard to browse through design magazines without coming across a modern room that incorporates a standout Mid-Century chair, or an industrial kitchen that relies on the exciting colors of vintage appliances. This post examines 30 fabulous living rooms that infuse their contemporary sensibilities with classical design inspiration – these throwbacks range from architectural features to upholstery patterns and, most often, vintage-inspired furniture.

Visualizer: Pavel Vetrov

Contemporary furniture and layout meet a retro-inspired color palette, all united by a single painting in the charming style of 70s graphic design.

Visualizer: Polyviz

While the furniture in this living room is perfectly up-to-date, it mimics the low-slung forms popular in Mid Century Modern homes. The wall panels to the right have a touch of Art Deco flair.

Visualizer: Nikola Arsov

Luxurious classic materials like dark wood and brass panels make this living room look rich and comfortable. The prominent collection of glass bottles is a whimsical combination of attractive and surreal.

Visualizer: Marat Zakirov

Historically styled crown molding and a modern geometric ceiling medallion set the stage for this interior that combines modern furniture with antique decor. The floor lamp recreates a 1907 design by Mariano Fortuny.

Visualizer: Maggi Samir

Here, the colors and intricate patterns feel very casual and traditional, but on individual inspection, nearly every individual piece is contemporary.

Visualizer: Wade Muller

White wainscoting and paneled cabinetry bring back a homey aesthetic filled with memories of trends past. But check out that tropical backsplash designs! An acrylic panel over patterned wallpaper is all you need to get the look.

Visualizer: Penint Design Studio

Herringbone floors never go out of style. This interior contrasts streamlined minimalistic furniture against a luxurious atrium backdrop. Arched multi-lite windows were a common staple of early 20th century design.

Visualizer: Elizabet Bereslavskaya

Traditional Asian influence embraces a layout that feels almost futuristic. Although “conversation pits” are still rare, they were sometimes included in high-end homes in the 50s, like the famed Miller House by Eero Saarinen.

Visualizer: wottan

Mid-century inspired chairs in bright lemon yellow add a touch of vintage charm to this distinctive living room. Sometimes mixed era homes require only one statement piece to make a point.

Visualizer: Taner CANDAN

What wonderful chairs! The combination of a high back and low profile definitely transcends eras. Both the textural fabrics and the dark woods are timeless materials that look great in any room with as much light as this one.

Visualizer: Fabio Fassina

Here’s another interior where one single addition stands alone in reference to a previous design generation – of course, the Fortuna lamp is a practical work of art. It’s an icon and exerts its influence in an especially powerful way within a minimalist home like this one.

Visualizer: Rahul Ravi

Wood ceilings and the ornamental stove are only a handful of the classic influences in this living room, but the fireplace is definitely a fresh spin on an old favorite. This model is the contemporary Fireorb.

Visualizer: Maria Fadeeva

Atomic-age inspiration brings its distinctive charm to this living room. The distinctive combination of irregular angles and compact curves are hallmarks of the style. The pendant light is called Atomium from Lambert & Fils.

Visualizer: Fabio Fassina

The architecture implies this apartment is a conversion of a much older building – the exposed beam ceilings, the fabulous windows, etc. But the furniture is innovative and fresh. Using a striped tiled floor in lieu of a rug is especially creative.

Visualizer: Sleiman Sbeih

Brass accents and nude leather are timeless accents, whereas the mirrored surfaces above the clock and rows of lighting in the back give a subtle nod to 1920’s cinema fronts.

Visualizer: Taleh Mehdisoy

Surrounded by classically styled paneling and delightful antique decor, this interior makes an unforgettable modern impression by switching out the iconic Chesterfield’s traditional dark leather with a bright shade of chartreuse green.

Visualizer: Hodidu

Retro color themes are an easy way to take a contemporary interior to another era. This living room also includes a few vintage-inspired furniture pieces, including the recognizable mid-century Hardoy butterfly chair.

Visualizer: Emrah Uğur Design Office

Picasso’s Girl with Mandolin (1910) stands in contrast – in terms of both color and era – to the rest of this modern living room. The curvaceous lounge chair to the left extends its palette and classical influence.

Hanging above the dining table is a gorgeous late-50s chandelier by Venice-born lighting designer Gino Sarfatti.

Visualizer: Sachin Mahajan

Vintage photographs of Hollywood icons like Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe offer a peek into the past, but the disc-shaped sculptures go back even farther.

Visualizer: Jade Vijt

Bright colors and curvaceous furniture feel like an updated approach to the upscale styles of luxury homes in the late 70s.

Visualizer: Rec Studio

These sofas demonstrate Bauhaus design influence through exposed bent-tube framing, a creative choice considering the lightly chic aesthetic of their whitewashed habitat.

Visualizer: Damir Duvnjak

The distinctive lines of Scandinavian furniture design contribute to this living room’s strong Mid-Century Modern influences.

Visualizer: Anthony Kalambet

Patterns inspired by desert styles bring classic charm to an otherwise very modern interior.

Visualizer: Viktor Pryshliak

Beige accents offer an interesting contrast to the modern industrial materials used throughout this living room.

Visualizer: Daniel Reuterswärd

Although houseplants are timeless, these “money plants” were certainly an important staple of 60s interiors, ideal for an interior that borrows other Mid-Century Modern elements like the smooth table and the highly collectible Arne Jacobsen floor lamp.

Visualizer: Adán Martín

Gorgeous herringbone floors set the stage for an interior filled with iconic vintage furniture, like the classic chesterfield in worn leather (a design said to have originated in the late 1700s) and a pair of Harry Bertoia’s famous Diamond chair design from 1952.

Visualizer: Millimetr

Here, vintage style features include the Bauhaus-inspired coffee table and the Arco Floor lamp, designed by Achille Castiglioni and Pier Giacomo in 1962.

Visualizer: Maxim Goryachev

The heavy use of wood is a reminder of days gone by, but the selections are especially contemporary. The floorboards are a special feature – their diagonal arrangement is a fresh take on a traditional choice.

Visualizer: Ngurah Arya

To close out on the article, this interior infuses a purely modern interior with the most subtle of throwback accents, like the low credenza and the lamp’s surveyor base.


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