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Contemporary Living Room Furniture

Contemporary living room furniture stands out for its clean straight lines and modern elegance.
Eileen recently moved into her 39th floor modern condo that overlooked a lake. She had chosen the place for the fantastic view. The trouble was, her old traditional living room furniture simply didn't look right. The heavy, formal style of the furniture felt stifling and she yearned for the modern feel and clean lines of the contemporary living room furniture she had seen in the interior decoration magazines she had bought. The trouble was, the more she riffled through the pages, the more confusing the choices seemed.

She decided to SOS her interior designer friend, Karl.

When Karl came by to have a look, he saw that the room had some really great features he could work with - a beautiful floor made of hardwood, large windows, and, of course, that spectacular view. He decided that his goal was to make Eileen's living room not only a room with a view, but, by reworking the floor plan, adding color, contrast, and, of course, a touch of contemporary class, the room could be turned into a haven in the sky.

"So, what do you think, Karl?" asked Eileen, as both settled into her overstuffed settee with mugs of coffee.

She opened one of the interior decoration magazines and said, "I mean, although I do want a contemporary look, I also want a place to relax in. Some of that stuff looks uber cool, but not too comfortable."

"Yeah, sure, I'm with you there," said Karl. "But, there's lots of contemporary stuff that's both elegant to look at as well as high on the comfort factor."

He went on to explain: Contemporary living room furniture, in fact, is so exciting because it experiments with new materials like molded plywood, tubular metals, cast aluminum, fiberglass-reinforced plastic, bent and welded wire mesh, and vinyl. The accent is on a monochromatic color scheme that is deliberately understated - with dabs of color added in unexpected spots of the room to enhance the downplayed look. The comfort factor is built-in to the curvilinear shapes as well as the integrated modular features that have versatile uses. Much of the materials used are lightweight, translucent, and aesthetically flexible.

Designers like Florence Knoll Basset, Le Corbusier, Charles and Ray Eames, characterized the essence of contemporary living room furniture, especially with the chairs that they created. The conceptual key of their diverse work was fashioning the seat and back forms which would support the human body comfortably, which they achieved by using flexible materials or surfaces shaped three-dimensionally that replaced the conventional cushioned upholstery. The sleek pedestal tables, streamlined display cabinets, abstract sources of light, and modular sofas they designed have the ability to transform a living room from humdrum to classy. Apart from new material and color schemes, contemporary living room furniture is about changing the organization of living space with innovative shapes. For example, the pre-WWII squares, rectangles and circles have been replaced by oblongs, kidney shapes, ellipses, flares, and S shapes.

"Yeah, that sounds lovely - I'd love something like that... Oblongs and S shapes sound divine." Eileen said.

Karl smiled and opening the interior decoration magazine, said, "Let's begin with the entertainment center. How about this TV stand? It's got cubicles for the speakers along with racks to store DVDs and CDs. Not only is it functional, it's got a futuristic design with lighting incorporated in it."

"Hmm... yes, it looks good... I like the frosted glass on it." Eileen replied.

"And have you noticed, it's got a nice innovative wire management system, so you won't have jumbles of wires to hide away."

"Oh, yes - that's lovely. It's tough hiding those things, for sure. I love its clean edges and beautiful finish. Especially the two drawers, which look as if they are almost floating."

"So, why don't we take ourselves to a furniture shop. It will be easier to pick the sofa... I am thinking of a rectilinear, geometrical style to go with the TV stand... And we can pick up an arty, wall mounted display shelf, to complement the two."

"Oh, yes... Great idea... Just the thing I was thinking. I saw a lovely ottoman with a faux cheetah fur cover the other day," she said, as they both got up.

As they went down the elevator, Karl said, "And we'll look at a few brightly colored - I'm thinking sunny yellow or tomato red - high-backed accent chairs to fill up a few bare spots of the room. And, for the coffee table, I have a lovely glass-topped metallic mounted one in mind. And while we're at it, we'll look at a few jazzy paintings too, to go with the ambiance - What do you think?"

"That sounds so exciting. I'm going to so love doing up my living room with you, Karl. I know it will be elegant, beautiful, comfy... and with a bit of wit added as a special dash."
By Rita Putatunda
Bouquets and Brickbats