Contemporary home design involves smooth lines, simplicity, and concentrates on both form and function. If you like a more modern style and tend to go with solid and subtle patterns rather than bold or ostentatious prints and patterns, then contemporary interior design may be an ideal option.
In this guide, we’ll offer some tips on how to choose the perfect contemporary furniture, décor, and design elements for your home, so that you can create a look that is sleek, sophisticated, and simple in any room.
Choosing Contemporary Furniture for Your Home
Looking for just the right furniture to convey that contemporary look and feel in your home? One of the most appealing aspects of this particular design is that the furniture pieces are readily available. Just about every furniture showroom and major online retailer has an abundance of contemporary items in stock, given that it’s what’s trendy today. Here are just a few tips that can help you choose the perfect contemporary furniture pieces for any space:
- In terms of furniture (and every other design element, for that matter), contemporary décor is all about minimalism. The furniture pieces you choose should feature smooth lines and textures. The silhouette is sleek, simple, and anything but fussy.
- As a general rule, contemporary furniture doesn’t have ornate carvings or elaborate embellishments. Typically, the materials used to construct contemporary pieces are light colored wood (birch or maple), glass, or metal (nickel, stainless steel, etc.).
- In a contemporary space, it’s generally a good idea to have all of the furniture pieces blend together rather than having one steal the show. Keep in mind that this style relies heavily upon practicality and aesthetic appeal. So, you won’t want to crowd the room with extraneous pieces. Make sure that everything is functional and that everything looks modern and updated, but not cold and sterile.
Contemporary Interior Design Guidelines
While modern and contemporary may often be used interchangeably, there is actually a notable distinction between the two. Modern is technically a specific interior design style that became popular during the 20th century, and has more restrictions. On the other hand, contemporary design is more versatile and flexible. It’s what is in style now, at this very moment, and can include a wide variety of décor elements and color palettes.
There are, however, a few guidelines that you may want to follow if you are trying to achieve a contemporary look and feel in your home. Here are the most common “rules” that will allow you to transform any space into a chic, stylish, and modern sanctuary:
- Contemporary décor utilizes fabrics that are more natural, such as silk, wool, and linen. The materials are used not only for their sophisticated aesthetic appeal, but for their texture. That being said, you can always add pops of color into a room (in moderation, of course) via a bold throw pillow or a brightly patterned rug.
- When it comes to contemporary home decorating, it’s best to rely upon colors that are more earth-toned, such as creams and browns. Typically, contemporary-themed rooms will utilize one particular palette in varying tones and hues. For example, you might choose a charcoal gray sofa to go along with the black throw rug in your living room.
- If you are trying to achieve a contemporary look and feel in your home, then you’ll want to steer clear of heavy tapestries and curtains, and stick to lighter fabrics that are feature more geometric patterns.
- Clutter is a major faux pas in contemporary design. You’ll want to choose every piece carefully to avoid chaos and overcrowding in your contemporary-inspired space. Remember, keep things simple and only incorporate what you need to make the space functional.
- Contemporary spaces are airy and open, thanks to the color palette and lack of clutter. The lighting fixtures used are often artistic and/or abstract. Metal lamps with solid-colored shades and hanging fixtures that feature sleek and straight lines are two popular contemporary lighting options.
- Flooring used in contemporary-themed rooms should be minimalist as well, which means that you may have to forgo the carpet. Instead, opt for vinyl, tile, or stained wood. If you do want to go with carpet, then choose a variety that doesn’t feature long fibers and stick with neutral colors, such as white or beige.
Contemporary Home Decorating Ideas and Tips
The simplistic nature of this contemporary interior decorating can become a challenge, in-and-of-itself, given that you will have to pick and choose which elements earn a coveted spot in your home. On the other hand, this also means that you can transform virtually any space into a contemporary retreat without spending a fortune.
Here are some contemporary home décor ideas and tips that can help you create a contemporary look in any room, without investing a lot of time or money into your design:
- If you want to open a living space and make it more fresh and modern, consider painting the walls white and going with monotone décor elements. This will allow you to achieve a more airy and light feel within the space without having to pay a pretty penny to renovate the room.
- Remember that, with this style, less is always more. Avoid ruffles, frills, and tassels when selecting the perfect decorative items. The same applies to floral patterns and pastel colored items.
- A great way to add a natural elegance to your contemporary home is to add organic touches. For instance, you could place a bunch of ferns in a vase atop your dining table or a pile of sea stones in a metal dish on your coffee table. Given that contemporary interior design is so flexible, you shouldn’t hesitate to bring a bit of the outdoors in, as long as it doesn’t make the room feel cluttered.
- If you are trying to achieve more natural light in a space, consider doing away with the curtains altogether. Keep in mind that contemporary design should reflect a light and airy atmosphere, and shouldn’t be hindered by dark curtains that obscure both the view and the sun.
- Use spotlight strategically in a room if you want to draw the attention to a focal point, such as a painting or a prized piece of furniture. Often recessed lighting can help you to achieve this, but remember that you should also have free-standing light fixtures that are visually striking within the room.
- If you want to include plants or flowers in the space’s design, then opt for bold and larger varieties that are more dramatic. However, the containers you use for them should be simple, and preferably made of natural materials, such as a sanded wooden planter that contains stones.
- When selecting the perfect place settings for your dining room, choose plates and dinnerware that are more geometric and abstract. You can also bring in splashes of color through the napkins and place mats.
- The issue that many people have with contemporary design is that it can easily go from warm and inviting to cold and unwelcoming. To avoid this, you may have to soften the space by using richer tapestries or accent pieces that are more textured. Ideally, you want the design to not only be contemporary, but a reflection of your personal style. Don’t be afraid to add personal touches here and there to make the room truly reflect your sense of style.
- A contemporary kitchen typically doesn’t involve natural wood cabinetry or counter tops. Instead, you may want to go with sleek metal surfaces and fixtures that look polished and pristine. This can also make the kitchen look cleaner. If you do have wood cabinets, consider painting them white or having them switched out for cabinets with glass paneling.
- When hanging paintings and photos, use metal or wooden frames that go with the overall color scheme in the room. Also, hang them closely together, instead of scattered throughout the space, so that they look as if they are part of one larger work of art.
While many may think of contemporary as lifeless and boring, this is far from the truth. In fact, you can make any space serene and subtly elegant by paring down the decorative items you use and making the most of the natural ambiance within the room. Also, be sure to have plenty of storage spaces throughout the home, so that you can make each space fully functional while still retaining this sense of balance and order.
Contemporary interior design offers you the opportunity to create a space that is welcoming, yet sleek and modern. Without crowding the space with a variety of collectibles or bulky upholstered furniture items, you gain the ability to transform your home into a sophisticated and simplistic sanctuary for your friends and family. Just focus on the lines in the space, the form of each item that you choose, and the overall openness of the room in order to achieve a contemporary look that feels fresh and inviting.