A two-level living space (or sunken living room) was a huge trend in Mid-century architecture that is still popular nowadays as it brings some undisputable benefits to the table. A change of level can add more value to your design by making it more diverse and exciting. It can be used to define your living room areas and distinguish a certain part of your living space as more significant than the rest of it.
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
This two-level area typically features a sunken space that has a greater ceiling height than the rest of the room, and that can be accessed by going down a couple of steps. A sunken living room area is a definite point of interest in any interior space and should therefore be properly designed in a way that will turn it into a jewel in its own right.
Such a sunken living room area is usually turned into a conversation and entertainment pit. It is typically furnished with a large sofa that can seat a whole party. Additional seating options may be included in the design such as designer chairs and comfy ottomans. A beautiful coffee table can also be a neat addition to a sunken sitting area.
This special living room area can be designed in any style that you like, whether it’s classic or ultra modern. It’s all up to your personal preferences and there are no limits whatsoever. Now, take a look at our gallery with fine examples of creative sunken living room design ideas.
This Midcentury modern living space incorporates a dining area and a recreation area on a lower level. The sunken sitting area features an L-shaped sofa, modern lounge chairs and a fancy ottoman. The floor is carpeted for a comfy soft feel.
Here is another living room that’s spread over two levels. It features a sunken entertainment area furnished with an L-shaped sofa in dark grey. The floors and stairs alike are set in hardwood.
Have a look at another design idea for a sunken entertainment area with a modern appeal. This living space features a leather sofa, a wood and leather armchair, a coffee table and a sideboard complete with a large TV and speakers.
This open space living space is designed with the idea that less is more – the basic principle in minimalism. It’s sparingly furnished with a large U-shaped sofa in the sunken area in the center of the room. Simplicity at its finest.
Here is another design with a sunken living area. This interior space features an impressive vaulted ceiling with dark wood structure beams that match the dark-toned hardwood floor. The living room area is designed with an U-shaped sofa and a blue accent chair.
This living space has an open floor plan with a kitchen and dining areas on one side, and a sunken living room area on the other. The latter features a U-shaped sofa with a chrome base coffee table.
Here is another two-level living room with a large U-shaped sofa in the sunken area. This contemporary interior space has hardwood floors and exterior glass walls that open it up to its beautiful surroundings.
This 70’s interior design features wood grain, bright colors, dotted wallpapers and carpeted floors. It’s a cozy design with a sunken entertainment area with a U-shaped sofa, a TV and a piano.
Back to the present with this contemporary living room design. This open concept living space accommodates a kitchen, a dining area and a sunken entertainment area complete with a U-shaped sofa and a large flat-screen TV.
Here is another creative idea for a split level living room with a large sofa. This design is set in light neutrals but a pop of color and pattern is also introduced by adding a whole lot of bright-colored throw pillows to the mix.
Here is another living room design set in neutral shades and natural materials. It has a cool modern appeal and a whole lot of style. It features a sunken recreation area with a U-shaped sofa and a low coffee table.
This cute living room area sure is nice and inviting. It’s so snug and cozy it’s the perfect place to hang out and relax. It is set in neutral shades and natural materials, and features a fine selection of indoor plants that are an integral part of its design.
Here is another breathtaking interior design idea with a sunken living room. It features a U-shaped sofa in beige, dark wood details and a classic style carpet. It has a vast glass wall that opens up to the beautiful surrounding landscape.
This multi-level living space has an extraordinary design with a whole lot of curved lines and details in it. This makes for a cozy environment with a good flow. The whole space is neatly furnished with traditional pieces in warm colors.
Here is another exceptional design that you don’t find just anywhere. This living room features a sunken circular area with a sofa closing in on a modern fireplace that makes a fabulous focal point and adds another wow factor to the design.
This modern multi-level living space is a fine example of minimalist design. It features a sunken sitting area furnished with a black-colored L-shaped sofa and a round wooden table. The floor is laid with light-colored hardwood, and the walls are set in white paint.
This laid back summer room with a pool view features a carpeted sitting area with a modern hanging fireplace. This recreation space is furnished with a pair of leather sofas and a set of round designer tables.
This spacious multi-level interior sure is packed with style. It gives out a vibe of luxury and high class. It features a sunken sitting area with a circular outline that’s furnished with a pair of curved sofas and a round ottoman table in the middle.
Here’s another example of a sunken sitting area, this time with a more traditional appeal. It has a regular rectangular outline and it’s furnished with an L-shaped sofa, an open-shelf bookcase and a wood-burning fireplace.
This ultra-modern open concept living space is set in a classic black and white color palette with a color burst in red. It has a sunken sitting area with a U-shaped sofa facing a suspended fireplace with a modern design.
This two-level living room features a round lower level with a curved sofa and a pair of armchairs facing an in-wall fireplace and a TV. The design offers a large number of lighting options to choose from – pendant lights, floor lamps and table lamps.
This stylish living room with a sunken lower level is exquisite – it’s set in neutral warm colors and natural materials. It features plenty of wood, stone and leather, and has a large glass wall that opens up to a beautiful forest landscape view.
Have a look at this fine example of modern interior design with a two-level living room. It is set in neutral shades – white, grey and black, with a color pop in bright blue. The space is furnished with a large U-shaped sofa and a huge flat screen TV.
Here we have an interior that’s designed to bring us back to nature. It features a sitting pit with a semi-round outline that’s furnished with a curved sofa and a hand-crafted table. Natural materials such as wood and stone, and green indoor plants can be found all over the place.
Let’s take a look at this interior that will take us back to modern design. This sunken living room features tiled floors and a vaulted ceiling, and it’s furnished with an L-shaped sofa in light beige, a pair of modern armchairs and a designed ottoman seat.
Here is a fun laid-back design in light pastels and bright color accents. This transitional living space features a sunken living room area complete with comfy seating, an in-wall fireplace and a flat-screen TV.
Here is another fine design in light neutrals with a color pop in blue and coral. This stylish home has an open concept multi-level floor plan. The sunken conversation area is particularly enticing with a fine selection of comfy seating and and a stone-clad feature wall.
Have a look at this edgy design idea that makes a statement by bringing to our attention the exposed roof structural beams that are left exposed and unrefined. The rest of the space is, on the other hand, elegantly designed with high-end modern furniture and finishes.
This spacious living room with a conversation pit and a soaring vaulted ceiling truly is breathtaking. It is furnished with a U-shaped sofa and an exquisite tree trunk coffee table. Another sitting area is also designed complete with a set of wrought iron chairs and a table.
This elegant design is set in warm neutrals and natural materials such as wood, stone and soft textiles. It features a sunken sitting area with an L-shaped sofa and armchairs facing a feature wall with a fireplace and a TV.
Sunken Living Rooms Pros and Cons
Advantages of Sunken Living Rooms in Homes
The trend of such living rooms has been on the rise in recent years. Resurfacing of this trend can be attributed to period television series or the cyclical nature of trends over the years. Whatever the reason may be, it looks like this trend is back for now.
Sunken living rooms give spaces more of an open feel, making the space feel a lot more airy and inviting. This is probably one of the most prominent advantages of this kind of design.
This is because the furniture does not block eye views since it is lowered, keeping the visual plain completely clear.
Sunken living rooms can also be used to distinguish spaces on a single floor without the use of walls. This saves on construction while making the area look more spacious and big.
A sunken living room also creates a point of interest in the room; it creates drama and has aesthetic appeal if done right.
Sunken living rooms are also unique and can be designed in plenty of ways to match your needs. They are extremely cozy since they feature seating almost all the way around and can be geometrically and symmetrically pleasing to the eye.
Also, they can be designed to fit any interior from traditional to contemporary designs with everything in between.
Disadvantages of Sunken Living Rooms in Homes
Though sunken living rooms come with a handful of advantages, there are plenty of disadvantages that you need to consider before committing to this design.
The first and most impactful disadvantage is that your space needs to be taken into consideration. Sunken living rooms only work well for large, open houses rather than small rooms.
If you build a sunken living room in a small space, it can feel like squeezing more than two people into a bathtub, which can feel quite claustrophobic.
The second disadvantage is that the furniture in the sunken living room needs to be custom made to fit the space. This means, there is no chance of adding pieces on a whim or changing just one part of it once it is made.
Also, since either the floor needs to be recessed or the ceilings need to be raised, the construction of these living rooms can be time-consuming and very costly.
To build a sunken living room, you need to find the right amount of space, so it is open. Also, it needs to have more room outside, so the area is easily accessible. Placement and space play a big role in this kind of design.
One last thing to keep in mind is, once you have built this kind of space, you can’t really rearrange your home in any way. The space needs to be used for its purpose, making it a bit of a drawback.
Are Sunken Living Rooms Making a Comeback?
This trend is no longer an outdated design of decades past. The sunken living room design is making a comeback in a big way.
If you scroll through social media or open up any new interior design magazine, you will see this forgotten trend’s return, making a splash all across the platforms.
Though sunken living rooms are definitely not for everyone, newer and bigger homes in suburban areas are taking on the trend and incorporating it into their designs to give their homes a more open look while giving their living rooms a cozier feel. Plus, the design works with practically every kind of interior.
Though the design has a lot of aesthetic appeal and creates visual interest in the space, the fact of the matter is the trend is not suitable for everyone.
With time, people, especially those living closer to the city, have opted for smaller homes that, frankly, just don’t have the space to accommodate this trend. However, if the space permits, we suggest adding one to make the room look more open and inviting.
What Is the Point of a Sunken Living Room?
A sunken living room can have any advantages, some of which we have discussed above. One of the main reasons people go for this design is because of its ability to open up a space. When there is no furniture in the direct eye line, it gives the space a much cleaner and more spacious feel.
A sunken living room also divides up a space cleanly without the added need for walls, making it a lot simpler to add two rooms within a single open space. Plus, the design adds a point of interest that is also functional in every way.