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Our favorite modern sunken living room ideas on Instagram you can imitate today

You don’t see a lot of new builds that feature a sunken living room, but that doesn’t mean they’re not out there. Dating back to the 1920s, sunken living rooms gained popularity in the 1960s and 1970s, and while they fell out of favor over time, there are still tons of homes that feature this unique design element. If you happen to live in a home that features a sunken living room, you don’t have to resign yourself to an out-of-date look. Whether you want your home to be sleek and contemporary or luxe and eclectic, you can create a fun and cozy space in your home. Looking for inspiration? Check out these sunken living room styles on Instagram that are fresh, fun, and sure to make your living room stand out from the crowd.

Large sectional couches

Large sectionals are a great way to create a cozy space that’s large enough to fit the whole family or a circle of friends. Whether farmhouse or modern, these designs use every bit of space in the sunken living room to create a distinct area that doesn’t feel cut off or separated from the rest of the home. To pull off this design effectively, it’s important to measure the area carefully so you can choose a sectional that takes up as much space as possible. It may require you to place a custom sectional order, but it will be well worth it.

Let the light shine

There’s nothing better than a home filled with natural light, and it’s even better when it can come from oversized windows. Skylights are an especially striking feature, and installing one above the sunken living room can highlight this entertaining space as the center of the home. In the room below, the designer opted for a minimalistic, modern vibe with a neutral color palette. This is a great method for spaces with a gorgeous view, like this one of the great outdoors, so the focus is on the scene more so than the interior decor.

Color and texture

Vibrant colors, exciting patterns, and a variety of textures create inviting spaces. Although the clean lines and simple colors of minimalist designs look luxurious, they don’t necessarily make guests want to lounge around and swaddle themselves in cozy blankets. Plush, lived-in looks make guests feel right at home. The image below shows one of the most famous conversation pits in the world, and it’s easy to see why. Eero Saarinen and Alexander Girard’s Miller House in Columbus, Indiana, is upbeat and comfy, filled with vibrant shades of red, orange, pink, and purple that say “welcome home.”

Find your center

We love that this sunken living room is built entirely around the fireplace, the heart of the room. Between the warmth of the hearth and the cabin-cozy feel of stacked wood,  peace and tranquility rule this space. The soft lighting from the candles finish off this comforting room, making it a go-to spot for late-night conversations, drinks with friends, or curling up with a good book.

Be aware that you will need to warn new guests about the steps down into your living room so there aren’t any accidents. Those unfamiliar with the layout won’t be on the lookout for uneven floors and may trip or fall.  If you have little ones just learning to walk or older family members who are prone to falling, consider placing a temporary gate around the edge.

Sunken living rooms inject more character into your home than one single floor ever could. This unique design element creates more space between the floor and ceiling, leading to a room that feels large and airy. This defined space is also more intimate than regular entertaining spaces, providing family and guests with a place to step away from the noise for a little bit.

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Julie Scagell
I am a freelance writer based in Minneapolis, MN. My passions include my dogs, talking about my dogs, and taking pictures of…
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