15 Welcoming Sunken Living Rooms That Will Make You Jealous

sunken living room

Kelley Kish

Sunken living rooms are making a comeback, and we're all about this resurgence. These spaces are welcoming and cozy and can be styled to appear minimalist, modern, rustic—or in another way entirely. If you have a sunken living room in your own home and aren't sure how to design around it, or if you're considering incorporating such a space into a house you're designing from scratch, you'll want to keep reading. We've rounded up 15 of our favorite sunken living rooms that illustrate exactly why these types of spaces are so special and unique.

  • 01 of 15

    Place Two Sofas Facing Each Other

    sunken living room with gray and white furniture

    Kelley Kish

    This sunken living room is warm and welcoming; the setup is designed to accommodate a large group with the two sofas facing each other. Note that you can always opt to mix sofa colors and styles when positioning them this way; the pieces do not need to be uniform. Here, the nearby blue armchairs provide additional seating for guests and add color to the space.

    Continue to 2 of 15 below.
  • 02 of 15

    Add Some Mid-Century Modern Flair

    sunken living room with wooden paneling

    Lara Kimmerer

    This sunken living room feels nice and rustic thanks to the exposed wooden walls and beams. The furniture selected for it is anything but cabin-like, though, proving that mixing design styles is A-OK. Mid-century modern style furnishings and prints shine in this gathering space. In a sunken living room, low-profile furniture can also look right at home; a couch that directly touches the floor like the one shown here is an excellent pick.

    Continue to 3 of 15 below.
  • 03 of 15

    Get Cozy With a Working Fireplace

    sunken living room with dark wood floor

    Sarah Szwajkos

    Sunken living rooms already have a cozy feel to them, but this is vibe only amplified when there's a working fireplace nearby! This space seems like the perfect room in which to wind down and get away from it all. No working fireplace? No problem! You can achieve a similar look with a faux mantel—just place some candles inside.

    Continue to 4 of 15 below.
  • 04 of 15

    Integrate a Built-In Shelf or Two

    sunny neutral living room

    Sarah Szwajkos

    This sunken living room is sunlit and stylish with mainly neutral pieces. Built-in shelving serves as an excellent place to display favorite trinkets, which have an artful quality to them.

    Continue to 5 of 15 below.
  • 05 of 15

    Create Several Zones Within One Living Space

    sunken living room with wood beams

    Sarah Szwajkos

    This sunken living room features high ceilings and also boasts a beautiful working fireplace. The space is actually quite large and contains a number of different zones—there's room to curl up on the sofa and watch TV, space to sit back by the windows, and even a small dining nook. This is truly a multipurpose room that the entire household can enjoy.

    Continue to 6 of 15 below.
  • 06 of 15

    Let the Entertaining Begin

    sunken living room with sectional

    Scovad / Getty Images

    This sunken living room is right off the kitchen, making it an entertainer's dream. The sunken feature helps to provide a division between these two distinct rooms, even though they're part of an open floor plan. The steps leading to the home's second floor are also integrated into the design seamlessly.

    Continue to 7 of 15 below.
  • 07 of 15

    Get Cozy in This Ultra Sunken Space

    sunken living room with white sectional

    miodrag ignjatovic / Getty Images

    This living room is more sunken than others we've highlighted this far, and a vast sectional takes up a large portion of the space. Those sitting down below can still easily converse with anyone stationed at the kitchen table upstairs while feeling as though they're in a completely different room. Because of the plush furniture and layout of the space, this would be a great at-home theater! Those eating upstairs can still hear and see the television if it's positioned across from the sectional sofa.

    Continue to 8 of 15 below.
  • 08 of 15

    Keep It Modern and Fresh

    sunken living room modern

    @noasantos / Instagram

    This sunken living room is minimal and high-end looking. The sofas are actually built-in, and their custom feel makes this space look ultra luxe and modern. Sometimes, less is more when it comes to decorating; let your furniture do the talking and pare down accessories for a serene feel.

    Continue to 9 of 15 below.
  • 09 of 15

    Bridge the Gap Between Indoors and Out

    sunken living room with railing

    @swelldesignco / Instagram

    This sunken living room leads to the patio. In warmer weather, residents can surely enjoy keeping the sliding doors open to take advantage of the breeze and fuse indoor/outdoor living. During parties, guests can enjoy moving from indoors to out as they please.

    Continue to 10 of 15 below.
  • 10 of 15

    Don't Forget to Add Texture to Your Neutral Space

    Neutral sunken living room

    Sam Sacks Design

    Just because a space is full of neutrals doesn't mean it should lack texture. This sunken living room would be an excellent spot to take a nap or get lost in a novel or television show while enjoying some privacy. Bring on the sheepskin throws, plush pillows, and more.

    Continue to 11 of 15 below.
  • 11 of 15

    Keep Things Cheerful With Plants and Color

    sunken living room blue sofa

    @4009decorates / Instagram

    This sunken living room is made cheerful and inviting with the use of bright colors and plants. It's an excellent spot for the whole family to gather together and socialize. Pops of pink add even more life to the space.

    Continue to 12 of 15 below.
  • 12 of 15

    Try Some Built-In Seating

    sunken living room green sofa

    Kilian O’Sullivan for Paul Archer Design

    Here is another example of a sunken living room with a built-in seating setup. If you wish to incorporate other seating options into the room, don't be shy! A Knoll Bertoia style chair provides an excellent contrast against the sofa's green velvet.

    Continue to 13 of 15 below.
  • 13 of 15

    Set Up a Fabulous Reading Nook

    sunlit sunken living room

    @happy_haus / Instagram

    This sunken living room serves as an excellent reading spot. It could also accommodate a work station facing the window; the fact that this space features several stairs makes it feel a bit more private than living rooms that are only slightly sunken.

    Continue to 14 of 15 below.
  • 14 of 15

    Use Chaise Lounges to Serve Many Purposes

    chaises in sunken living room

    Kris Tamburello for Sire Design

    Maybe your sunken living room will serve as less of a spot for formal entertaining and operate as a more casual space instead. If so, consider setting up chaise lounges opposite one another, as seen here. They're excellent for conversation, reading, movie-watching, and the like. Place a side table in the middle to set down food and drinks as needed.

    Continue to 15 of 15 below.
  • 15 of 15

    Play Up Special Architectural Features

    sunken living room with stone fireplace

    @ruschdesignbuild / Instagram

    This sunken living room is styled pretty simply but features remarkable architectural details like the wooden ceiling and stone fireplace, both of which really are the stars of the show. Again, this is an example where less is more when it comes to furniture and accessories.