Sunken Living Room Ideas – Glamorous and Impressive Interior Designs

by Kremy

Sunken living room ideas are a hot trend but the idea of having a sunken space for leisurely conversation goes a long way back to the early 1920s. Soon afterwards there were such places in the night bars and Hollywood houses of the 50s and 60s. Midcentury masters like Eero Saarinen and Alexander Girard went one step further and designed them as functional rooms, combining form and function and this unique design t is still relevant today.

sunken sitting area modern open plan living space

The authors of this interior concept confirm that this method of organizing the space is conducive to conversations, communication with guests and promotes mutual understanding. As a rule, when planning the interior design of a home, we assume that sometimes we will receive guests and want them to feel comfortable. In this case, a sunken living room is just ideal – the limited space has a psychological effect on people and creates an atmosphere of easy communication.

Despite the fact that modern sunken living room ideas are inspired by midcentury modern interior designs, nowadays we see unique spaces with their own charm and individuality. Coziness, seclusion and great visual aesthetics characterize the sunken conversation areas in the living room. It becomes a focal point and sets the entire atmosphere of the space.

Modern sunken living room ideas – a cozy and inviting place for family and guests

contemporary homes with sunken sitting area


By definition, a living room is the area where a sofa, armchairs, a coffee table, as well as a TV and / or fireplace are located. In a word, this is a place where you can relax with your family or with friends. Usually, this is the largest room in the house and in modern open plan homes it is often combined with the kitchen or dining room area.

large open plan concept living space with sunken sitting area

In spite of the huge popularity of open plan concept, the problem of separating and defining the functional areas remains. Placing the living area on a lower level is the ideal solution in this case, since it does not require any special partitions, no serious investment of time and effort for construction. The visual effect is truly amazing – such a living room, with all the furniture stands out against the background of the general living space.

Open plan living room with sunken sitting area

Modern sunken living room ideas differ in shape, size, depth yet every interior design has its own charm and uniqueness. Obviously the size, shape and depth of such living rooms, also called recessed living areas, step-down living rooms or conversation pits, will be determined by the architecture of the home, respectively the size of the open-plan area. Of course, whatever the shape and size, they should suit your seating needs. As far as depth in concerned, it will depend on the personal preferences of the homeowner and should be planned in accordance with traffic, age and décor style. When the depth is bigger, stairs should be added, as well as handrails for safety.

Pros and cons of sunken living rooms

advantages of sunken living rooms


When it comes to the pros and cons of step-down living rooms, one should consider that this design requires just as careful planning as any other. Yes, it is a great way to organize open plan living space and modern sunken living rooms ides introduce innovative ways of zoning the spaces.

A sunken living room is the perfect way to break up the monotony of the open space and create boundaries between transition areas. The space remains airy, visually appealing and safe at the same time. This approach allows you to define the functional zones without walls and is ideal for modern open concept style.

Sunken living rooms are inviting and create a sense of warmth and coziness to open floor plan areas. The design is separating but not isolating the living space and gives the look and feel of a larger room with the extra overhead space over the lower, sunken living area.

amazing sunken living room ideas sofa and decorative pillows

Step-down living rooms have a great appeal as the height difference in flooring adds visual interest to the interior. The sunken area creates a beautiful focal point and immediately draws the attention.

A sunken living room with a fireplace is even more attractive. Whether a wood burning fireplace, gas or electric fireplace, the flames add to the homey feeling and the inviting atmosphere of the home.

You can use a variety of wall and ceiling textures to define the sunken area. This will make the interior more interesting and dynamic. You can combine wood, tile, natural stone in the décor.

contemporary interiors with sunken living rooms

One of the major drawbacks of sunken living rooms is that they can be a challenge to decorate. You may find it difficult to find the right-sized furniture pieces that will fit the size and shape of your conversation pit. In addition, once placed, it is almost impossible to re-arrange the position of the seating or other furniture.

Accessibility problem is another con. Steps or stairs may be dangerous for older people, small children or for people with mobility issues.

When the sunken area is set in the center of open plan living space with heavy foot traffic, going up and down the steps may be inconvenient.

Last but not least, if you want a sunken living room in a home that is not designed to have one, creative a lower area in an existing one-level floor plan may be quite costly.

modern living room sunken seating area

In conclusion, we have to say that lowering the level of a zone is a fairly universal solution in terms of style. A recessed living room will look great when decorated both in a retro-style and in a contemporary style and you will see fascinating interior designs in the gallery below.


contemporary home design sunken seating area

modern home ideas step down living room

open plan living room with sunken sitting area in front of fireplace

pros and cons of step down living rooms

Pros and cons of sunken living rooms

spectacular sunken living room in front of fireplace



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