If you like keeping up with current styles and embracing what is in right now, you may want to decorate your home in a contemporary style. Contemporary is often used interchangeably with modern, but they are not the same thing. The modern style design movement started in the early 20th century, and it follows stricter guidelines and is often seen as cold and minimalistic. Meanwhile, today’s contemporary style is more welcoming, comfortable and fluid. This design movement includes a range of styles developed from the latter half of the 20th century until today.
Here are some basic rules in decorating your home contemporary style.
1. Use sophisticated neutrals
Neutrals are the main color choices for contemporary styled interiors. Black, white, gray cream, beige, tan – these colors are used to ground and define the contemporary style. It keeps the eyes focused on the shapes and textures that are included in the space. With walls and ceilings painted in basic neutrals, you get a backdrop for bolder, colored accessories and furniture. If you choose a pastel color for your walls, the trims must be neutral (white is most preferable). Shots of bright and bold colors on walls must be found on one wall only, and if you want it, everything else in the room must be neutral.
However, you don’t need to stick with strictly “neutral” neutrals; you can choose more sophisticated, “colorful” neutrals to add interest. For instance, you can choose shades like cream with a touch of pink, beige with a hint of gold, or gray with some greenish shade. This works for your paint colors, furniture, accessories and basically anything.
2. Incorporate simple lines
Simple, clean lines are the most distinctive element of a contemporary style interior design. High ceilings, bold color blocks, simple architectural details, bare windows, and geometric shapes give the contemporary style its identity. It doesn’t mean that everything must have square or triangular corners – of course, you can soften the look with curves like waves, circles, cylinders, and orbs. Remember to keep it simple; leave those fancy curls and ornamented details to the more traditional styles.
3. Use contemporary furniture
Another element that will definitely define your contemporary style is your choice of furniture. Contemporary furnishings have smooth and clean lines, without any carving and adornment. They look basic yet, bold, and bare and structural. These are often made of light-colored wood with minimal graining, stainless steel, clear or frosted glass, nickel, and chrome. Contemporary sofas, chairs, and ottomans are low-slung and/or have exposed legs. Beds, chairs, and couches have no slipcovers, skirt, fringe, trim, ruffles or tassels.
4. Keep spaces open
In contemporary interiors, less is more. The bare space on walls and in between pieces of furniture, as well as the high ceilings, are as important as the areas filled with items. Because of the openness, contemporary spaces are best-suited for large-scale furnishings and oversized art. However, you have to be careful, as too much space makes a room look cold and forlorn. You can divide a large room by breaking furnishings into groupings while making sure there are visible spaces between them. Visually pull down a high ceiling with simple pendant lights and modern or contemporary chandeliers.
5. Keep floors bare
Floors in contemporary style houses are bare and smooth, in tile, vinyl, stone, ceramic or wood. Speaking of woods, bamboo and light-colored woods like maple and ash are favored. However, it doesn’t mean that you can’t have a rug or carpet in your home; you simply need to choose the appropriate one. Read the next tip for details.
6. Add neutral, textural or geometric-patterned fabrics
Neutral fabrics like silk, cotton, linen, and wool are used for rugs, throws, and beddings for contemporary interiors. A sheepskin area rug works in a room that needs a touch of contrasting texture. Natural weaves like rattan and sisal also work for floors as well, if you need to add warmth and a bit of soundproofing. Fabrics in a bold color or geometric pattern can be incorporated in any room as well, in the form of pillows, throws, and rugs. Two-tone prints like stripes or animal prints work as well. Just avoid fuzzy ones with too much color and too much detail, like florals, damasks and other ornamental patterns.
7. Let natural light in
Contemporary homes are usually abundant in windows, and they are often left unadorned to feature its sleek lines and to keep the indoors well-lighted by sunlight. But since privacy is an issue to many, use sleek window treatments that won’t hinder the light and won’t stop the eye. Use sheer panels with the same color as the walls, narrow blinds or mesh shades.
8. Use minimal accessories
In contemporary rooms, keep accessories few and simple. If you’re going to add a group of accessories, arrange them in a tight and uniform manner, not scattered.
Contemporary interiors can also be adored best with oversized art that has gallery-style simplicity. Frames are either in matte black, high-gloss, natural wood or metal finishes. If you go frameless, it looks good too.
Stone, chrome, steel, lacquer, opaque or clear glass works well in a contemporary styled room. These materials can be integrated into accessories or accent furniture.
Keep your greenery simple, as well. If you’re going to decorate with plants and flowers, pick large and dramatic ones placed in simple containers, rather than small plants in an arrangement.