The Modern Parlor | Formal Living Room Design

Modern, beautiful, formal, and a truly unique all-in-one – this Parlor design is something we could not WAIT to share with you. Part of a large-scale home design for a wonderful family, this Formal Living Room space embodies classic beauty with a modern feel. With a unique centric space plan and sleek, art-forward design paired with some gorgeous lighting, this space competes for our favorite room in the house. We’ve got a lot to share, so let’s sit down for some Parlor Talk as we dish out all the details on this stunning room.


In the original building plan, this space was actually slated as a Formal Dining Room. But for this couple, they knew that wasn’t something that would serve them best, and we were excited to create a completely new vision. We fully re-imagined the space to be a place this family would use and truly enjoy, as well as adding lots of beauty and style. As one of the first rooms you see upon entering the home, part of our Master Plan was to create a completely unique concept, while still keeping it functional and comfortable for family living. Rather than a couch + loveseat or 2 chairs, we got creative with seating and designed an interior layout of beautiful custom chairs anchored by a round cocktail table. One unique detail is that the subtle curve on the front of the swivel chairs echoes the curve of the cocktail table itself, creating a lovely flow. This also served to bring focus to the gorgeous light fixture (more on that below!). The chairs are covered in a dreamy neutral upholstery, which serves the double purpose of making them extra inviting, while also letting the layout, lighting, and art take center stage. The combination and careful synthesis of a strategic furnishing placement plus striking art creates a space that is both engaging and serene- perfect for entertaining or just relaxing and enjoying the room.

The Lighter Side

THIS light fixture. One thing we love about lighting is that when well-chosen, it can be so dynamic- showcasing and bringing together so many design elements in one feature. This fixture is striking with a bold, design-forward look, but also brings in lots of classic character and charm with a traditional shape. We get the best modern + regency vibes from this one, especially with that hint of gold leaf embellishment at the base. The intersection of style makes it perfect for a traditional room in a home with a modern design flow. And that deep charcoal against the brass? We’ll stare at that goodness all day long.

Regina Andrews Beaded Pendant - Cat French Design

Creating the Landscape

If you’ve been following for a while, you know we love to have fun with color. But an important thing to know is that beautiful, creative color doesn’t necessarily have to be bold. Part of a skilled design strategy is creating a color palette that perfectly fits our clients and their space. This wonderful couple loved the look of softer, serene tones and we jumped at the chance to showcase both cool and warm tones throughout the house. Getting creative with neutrals can also be beautiful, unique, and visionary as a part of custom design. This room has a lot of gorgeous natural light, and a dreamy blue-green was the perfect hue to create this vision. It provides just the right contrast to that tall wainscoting and classic trim.

Formal Living Room Sitting Area - Cat French Design

The ceiling in here was full of character, so we also wanted this wall color to draw the eye up, complementing the trey inset with that delicious double molding (YES!) and shiplap ceiling. A strategic color choice can work some big magic by not only accenting surrounding features but also floating the gaze up to a focal point- in this case, highlighting that stunning chandelier. Navy, gold, and charcoal are a part of the undercurrent of the color story throughout the home, and although this room has a light-filled, airy feel, the deep blue undertones serve as both a base and an accent. We also love the matte finish of the chandelier’s beading paired with the rich brass, set against that beautiful crisp white trim and soft blue wall.

Parlor swivels in living room - Cat French Design

The Art of the Matter

One of the many things we enjoyed about working with these homeowners is how they let us get creative with art. Everything from modern large canvases to transitional framed prints to some gorgeous structural pieces, it was a design dream to select art for this home- and this room is the start of it all. Mixed metallic accents mixing gold and brass with cool silver throughout the home are a nod to the couple’s sleek, modern taste and beautifully complement the soft neutrals in play. Wall decor in this room was a stunning abstract on canvas that presents so much depth and mood. A mixed media print with architectural undertones and deep blues was just the right complementing piece just above the console. Together, they enhance the chandelier, drawing deep into the tonal design notes of the accent decor and base pieces, like the plush rug and drapery.

Lake Hogan Entry Parlor Room - Cat French Design

The Decor Encore

Drawing out the artistry of modern style set perfectly amid traditional architecture gets our creativity flowing in the best way, and we were thrilled with how this space came together. There’s so much to talk about, we actually couldn’t squeeze it into just one post (and, we’re too excited about showing you more spaces from this home design!) So, lookout for more behind-the-scenes details about furnishings and decor. Also- we’re thrilled to have this original CFD creation featured in print! This wonderful couple was so generous to also allow their home to be featured in a publication that will be out later this month, and we’ll share more as soon as it’s live. We loved being a part of this family’s story, and are grateful to be able to share more of their beautiful home with our community.

styling objects on console in Formal Living Room - Cat French Design

Looking for more images from CFD original designs? Head over and check out our Portfolio Page, including some of our past Modern-Traditional Design Fusions like this one and this one. Have questions or looking to change up your own space or create a formal living room? Give us a shout at, or on our website via the Contact Page. For more in-the-moment happenings of this busy team, catch up with us on the CFD Facebook Page, or on Instagram @catfrenchdesign.