Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Build a modern living room - start with the sofa!

Building a modern living room can be quite simple - start with a great sofa, add some end tables, and some wonderful lamps, and you have a great beginning. Auctions are great places to buy previously owned pieces that are stylish, and less expensive.

Once you have the basics, just add a rustic coffee table, framed prints and photos, and a dash of color in the pillows. Then invite some friends over to relax!

 Elle Decor - Designer: Tamzin Greenhill

Here we have the basics - white sectional sofa, bright yellow pillows, and an interesting table lamp. Build from there.

From Rue Magazine via Pinterest
I love the graphic black and white, along with a punch of yellow to jazz it up. 

The next Christie's Interiors sale in New York July 17th and 18th has some wonderful pieces to get started. This fabulous Jens Rison sofa (circa 1950) upholstered in white cotton, and on a walnut base is 80 inches wide and would set the modern tone.  This is Lot 484 and has an auction estimate of $1,000 - $1,500.
If you have a a big enough room, this banquette is sexy and made for a party! This was designed by George Cameron Nash, and measures 160 inches wide. This is Lot 471 and has an auction estimate of $800 - $1,200.

For a slightly smaller space, this Italian camel suede chaise longue is perfect. This is a B&B Italia piece, measure 61 inches wide, and has an auction estimate of $800 - $1,200. It's Lot 511. Add a colored pillow for some punch. This sofa can be free standing or pushed in to a corner of a small room.

I love these end tables. They are simple and graphic. They are modern, and made of gilt metal, lacquer, and glass. These are 15 1/2 x 19 1/2, and have an auction estimate of $1,000 - $1,500. 

These end tables need wonderful lamps. This pair of blue Italian glass lamps are perfect. They have an interesting shape, and add some color in to the room. They are 35 inches tall (Lot 474), and the three of them have an auction estimate of $1,200 - $1,800. I'm sure you could find a home for the green one, if you successfully bid on the lot! These only need a simple shade and you're set to go.

Let's say we've spent $3,000 so far. We can add a coffee table, and for just a little bit more, and you're ready to call your friends over. One of my go-to auction houses for rustic pieces and bargain prices is Copkae Auction in Copake, NY. This 19th century pine table sold for $40! The top measures 30 x 45 inches, and I think the base is very interesting.

If you prefer to keep it modern, this mid-century Marsman coffee table sold at Copake for $90. It's 48 inches wide, and would look great with the Jens Rison sofa, or the B&B Italia chaise longue. 

Find some great designs to build your modern living room at auctions. White or neutral upholstery works well, but I always want some color. Add punch with pillows, colorful lamps and artwork on the walls.



  1. where can i get a cool chair that is such as $200 to less?
    something contemporary such as an egg chair or a hanging chair.
    Feel free to visit my web blog ; Dawn Gordon

  2. I would keep an eye out for auctions. You can go to Live Auctioneer and Art Fact, which many auction houses use, and set up to get alerts when something matching your descriptions comes up.

  3. Decide beforehand when you are buying a new sofa whether it will be used as more as a show piece in your formal living room or a lounge location in your family room or den. If it needs to be more comfortable than pretty, be sure to test it out and know that you'll enjoy it.


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