How To Incorporate Contemporary Design Into The Home

Jul 29, 2019

Modern and spacious living room with gray sofas
Image courtesy of denisismagilov / Adobe Stock

Contemporary design is one of those terms that is frequently bandied about the design world with few understanding its real meaning in the industry. Often used interchangeably with modern design, contemporary design is an entirely separate style and characterised by ‘of the moment’ style which is constantly in flux as interior tastes change over the years or decades. Modern design on the other hand referrers to specific points in time which have passed, for example Mid Century Modern design of the 1950s or the Art Deco of the 1920s which were both seen as ground breaking design eras at the time and are now fixed points in the history of interiors.

Contemporary design is very much of the now which can make it a tricky look to pull off in the home as if you go too contemporary, in just a few months your interior could look ‘past it’. However, there are some key rules to follow if you want to add contemporary design into the home which still offers longevity for your interiors. We take a look at the contemporary design ideas…

1. Select A Contemporary Color Palette

White modern living room with color pops

White, neutral, grey and black are at the core of any contemporary interior scheme, and provide the crisp and clean foundations needed to incorporate the look. Brighter colours can be added too, but these should be subtle accent colours so as to not detract from the overarching contemporary feel. Monochrome colour schemes are also a fantastic way to incorporate the design into the home and this doesn’t have to mean just white and black, it could be white and grey or neutral and brown – any pairing of timeless shades can work well.

2. Borrow From Other Interior Design Styles

White modern dining setting

As mentioned above an entirely contemporary look can be a difficult one to achieve and will require constant upkeep to move with the times. A way to combat these difficulties is to combine contemporary design with other key looks to create your own personal style. The crispness of the design lends itself perfectly to minimalist or Scandinavian design, which can be easily added to the contemporary look through simple angular furniture for a minimalistic approach or the inclusion of pale woods and cosy textiles for Scandinavian. Vintage pieces or even the Mid Century Modern style previously mentioned can also provide a chic juxtaposition to the contemporary look with key furniture or furnishings from different design periods creating an intriguing balance.

3. Make Architectural Lines A Focal Point

Cow hide rug in front of modern fireplace

Clean, architectural lines are one of the key elements of contemporary design. Using the property’s structure to highlight design details is a fantastic way to exhibit the clean lines needed for a contemporary interior. From accentuating the stark shapes of windows and archways by leaving them unadorned, to using the edges of furniture and art to mirror or frame the lines found in the building’s structure you can give any room instant contemporary appeal. In this type of design blank space becomes just as important as decorated areas and helps to ensure the crisp, clean looks remains uncluttered.

4. But Don’t Only Utilize Straight Lines

Black and white vases on shelf

Too many straight lines can quickly turn a contemporary interior into a minimalist or industrial one, so ensure curved and fluid lines are also featured throughout. This could be from a more naturally shaped rug placed near a striking angular sofa or boxy table, a round mirror amongst a regimented gallery wall or sinuous vases alongside geometric accessories. Adding curved, organic shapes stops the look becoming too stark if you want your contemporary interior to still have a cosy feel.

5. Stay Clutter-Free

Modern dining setting

Many interior design styles can benefit from frequent declutters and contemporary design is certainly one of them. Stop your painstakingly styled look becoming overwhelmed with needless clutter by having frequent clear outs, or if you really need the additional items, invest in handy storage options that complement the rest of the contemporary scheme. Large furniture pieces such as sideboards, chests of drawers or shelving can also be used to accentuate the property’s architectural lines as mentioned above and also double up as much needed storage space.

6. Don’t Overdo Artwork or Finishes

Minimalist artwork on shelf

Plain furnishings especially large scale items like bed linen, upholstery and rugs are best kept plain in contemporary designed interiors and are another fantastic way to incorporate the key neutral hues that create the foundation of the look. Pops of personality can then be used sparingly through accessories but be careful to not overwhelm the clean space you have created. Opt for a few statement artworks or prints and match a scattering of cushions, throws and decorative accessories in complementing shades and patterns to add subtle accents to the neutral room, without distracting from the overall effect.