Contemporary Design
Decor Aid

Welcome to week number 3 in our “Most Popular Design Trends For This Decade” series. This week we will be exploring Contemporary design and why it works in so many homes now.

If you missed my other posts in this series check out:

Most Popular Design Trends For This Decade

What is Traditional Design?

Transitional Design And What Is It?

What Defines Contemporary Design?

Most people use Contemporary and Modern design interchangeably in the same sentence. These two designs differ and each one has its own exclusive elements; although perhaps some elements of Modern design carry through into Contemporary. Modern design is a time period of its own and generally refers to designs of the mid-1900s (50’s and 60’s). Features such as natural materials, expansive neutrals with pops of color, and clean, low lines are all part of Modern décor. Modern design has a precise look and feel. Contemporary design is ever-changing, due in part to the availability of new materials and pieces. Whereas, Modern design is fixed and unchangeable. 

For today’s purposes we are only discussing Contemporary interiors.

Contemporary design is constantly evolving. It is a design style that is based on what is current now in trends and styles. Because of that, and the fact that time is ever-changing, Contemporary style is fluid. What is deemed “Contemporary” in 2020 may not be considered to be by 2021, or even 2025. Other designs are based on a set of rules, but this design’s style changes with time.

At its core, Contemporary refers to “of the moment”

Today, the look is defined by curved lines, neutral colors and simplicity, but it may look slightly different in the years to come.

Contemporary Design
Photo: Nikolas Koenig via AD

How To Decorate in Contemporary Style

While it’s sometimes thought that Contemporary decor is cold and impersonal, today’s design interiors are comfortable and welcoming without being disorderly and dark. If you can’t keep away from the latest technology, and love sleek and chic interiors, then Contemporary is the right design choice for your home. Technological advancement is one of the biggest inspirations to the look of Contemporary interiors.

To create a Contemporary atmosphere in your home you’ll want to incorporate these key elements:

  • Color
  • Metal accents
  • Texture
  • Wood tone
  • Lighting
Contemporary Design
Photo: William Abranowicz via AD

Color Is A Monumental Element

Forget clashing colors and garish patterns. Contemporary design is usually balanced by neutral colors. Select shades of brown, taupe, cream or pure white when painting your walls. Accent walls with one color are seen a lot in this design style. You can easily add some excitement to your room by introducing a sofa in a bold color. Choose smaller decorative accessories like pillows, area rugs, throws, artwork, lighting fixtures and décor on your coffee table to add color and texture. Simplicity is the key in this design so do not over accessorize, keep it simple and uncluttered.

Accent With Metal

To provide a lustrous finish and clean look, use metals such as stainless steel, chrome, and/or nickel. You can easily accent your home by choosing stainless steel appliances for your kitchen. When it comes to your kitchen and bathroom faucets, there are a multitude of great metal finishes to choose from. Keep the style cohesive from room to room in your home and opt for metal furniture, lamps, shelves and decorative artwork pieces.

Texture Is Key

To add texture and create a more natural style use fabrics such as silk, crushed velvet, linen or wool. To offset the clean, smooth lines of the metal accents, use fabric window treatments, over-stuffed pillows, area rugs and wallpaper such as linen or grass cloth. The furniture should lend a soft look to the room. To achieve the Contemporary look, stray away from extravagant patterns because they will alter the clean design aesthetic.

Contemporary Design
Impressive Interior Design

Using Wood Tones

Contemporary designs mostly use very dark or very light wood tones. For distinctive flooring designs, there are large amount of woods, finishes, and stains to choose from. End tables, picture frames, and vases are great options to integrate wood into your room. Be consistent with your decorative accents and do no clutter up your living space.

Light Up Your Room

With Contemporary design, lighting is an important component. Select lighting that has interesting, clean lines to accentuate your Contemporary style. Popular lighting fixtures are floor lamps, track lighting, and pendants.  

Contemporary Design
Photo Courtesy of Pinterest

In Summary

Clean, smooth surfaces and an uncluttered appearance characterize Contemporary style in interior design. Not every home is made to handle Contemporary furnishings or design. Begin with rooms that are large, open and barren of any elaborate crown moldings or beadboard. In most interior design themes you have one focal point but with Contemporary interior design you use more than one focal point. Some examples can include a large piece of distinctive furniture, a showy piece of artwork, or a wall of a contrasting color. The end result of your contemporary design should be airy, open and clean.

Looking for more Contemporary images for inspiration? Check out my Pinterest board, HERE

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