If you want your house or apartment to look contemporary, you should learn the basic rules of this style. Read this article to understand what the word “contemporary” means and what’s the essence of this approach to design.
When speaking about the contemporary interior style, we normally mean “modern and current”. Also, we can describe such an approach to design as “sleek and fresh”. From this article, you’ll learn about the characteristic features of this interior style. You’ll get to know which shapes, colors, furniture items, lighting fixtures and decor elements you should use to make your house or apartment look contemporary.
The Definition of the Contemporary Style
This style can be characterized by four primary features:
- Clean lines
- Subtle sophistication
- Deliberate use of texture
You should strive to accentuate the beauty of your home’s space rather than separate objects. Earlier, the adjective “contemporary” might have been synonymous with “cold” or “minimalist”, but that’s not the case anymore.
The palette is normally based on:
You might want to paint the walls neutral so that they serve as a backdrop for bright accents. If you prefer to paint your walls bright, you should avoid colored accents and use neutrals elsewhere. The trims should be neutral in case your windows and walls are pastel-colored.
Line and Space
The horizontal, vertical or curved line is an essential element of this style. You can find it in the following design components:
- High ceilings
- Bare windows
- Architectural details
- Bold color blocks
- Geometric shapes
Wherever you have some free space, you can fill it with objects. It might be bare space on walls or above in upper areas as well as gaps between furniture items. Less is more — this is one of the primary principles of contemporary interiors.
If you have any eye-catchy structural elements, consider accentuating them elegantly. Here are a few examples of such structures:
- Exposed plumbing pipes
- Broken bricks
- Air ducts hanging from a ceiling
You might want to either blend them with the walls or paint them in contrasting colors.
Pieces of contemporary furniture typically meet the following criteria:
- Simple and clutter-free
- With smooth, clean, geometric shapes
- Without curved silhouettes or decoration
- Upholstered items normally wear black, white or other neutral tones
You should avoid cute and small items. Each object you use should make a statement.
You might want to choose between vinyl, tile or wood to create bare and smooth flooring. If you enjoy experimenting with palette and texture, feel free to buy plain or geometric-patterned area rugs. A carpet can provide both warmth and sound control.
Art and Lighting
When choosing lighting fixtures for a contemporary interior, you might want to stick to the following recommendations:
- Let these fixtures include color and metallic components
- Try indirect light or cove lighting
- To wash a wall in light, consider using track lighting and recessed lighting
Ornamental lighting is not typical of this style.
To accentuate the beauty of works of art, you can do the following:
- Place them on eye level (it might be a wall, a pedestal or a structural column)
- Buy frames in high-gloss or matte black, natural wood or metal finishes
- Use spotlights or can lighting directed at prints, posters and paintings to draw attention to them
Avoid cluttering the space with too much art. The only exception is multiple small works that you can place close to each other so that they create an illusion of one large piece.
Opt for large flowers and plants instead of small ones and put them in simple containers. Surround them with upward-focused lights, placed on the floor.
Purchase contemporary dinnerware that stands out thanks to its bold colors and geometric shapes.
Rugs, pillows and window treatments made of heavily textured fabrics in a neutral palette will warm up and soften the room.
Decor accents made of stone, metal, opaque or clear glass always look stunning in such an interior.
Is Contemporary Synonymous with Modern?
No, these are not synonyms. When talking about modern designs, we might refer to the trends of the 1950’s and 1960’s — and we mean not just one style but a mixture of several. Contemporary design inherited a few meaningful traits from that era— for instance, the notorious “Less is more” principle or attention to the balance between form and function. Yet if you tell your designer that you would like to order “modernistic” furniture for your house, they might suggest to you some items that would look vintage and not contemporary at all.
Hopefully, you found this article informative and it helped you better understand the essence of the contemporary style. Homes that belong to this decor trend are cozy and welcoming, full of light and free from clutter. You can make your home look modern regardless of its size and layout. And you won’t even need to invest a huge budget in it: just stick to a neutral color scheme and remember that the space as a whole matters more than individual objects.