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5 Basic Ideas Of Modern Home Decor

5 Basic Ideas Of Modern Home Decor 5 Basic Ideas Of Modern Home Decor

Think outside of the box with this avant-garde living room by Homepolish designer Alec Holland. Achieve this look with oversized, marshmallow-style couches and other interesting shaped pieces. 

Creating a modern decor doesn’t have to be difficult and there is a lot of room to play around with your spaces. All you really need to remember are these five simple rules and before you know it, you will have a modern decor that shines.

This casual, yet totally put together living room is giving us serious boho vibes. Pinfluencer Alex Evjen nailed this effortless look with gorgeous, jewel toned chairs and a unique fringed centerpiece above the fireplace that serves as a fun talking point.

Designer Emily Henderson, along with Crypton Home, achieved this organic living room with plenty of standout pieces like the leather chairs and wood table. 

Instead of meshing a color scheme with a sense of place, designer Irakli Zaria used rich gold and turquoise as an antidote to gloomy London days in this chic pied-a-terre. “In a place where there are such cloudy skies, it makes no sense to have a gray interior,” he said.

When Lee Cavanaugh and Sarah DePalo of Cullman & Kravis make their yearly trip to the Paris flea, they send finds home in a group container to keep costs down.

Faux fur has quickly become a luxurious way to add a bit of depth and variety to a space. “When we use faux fur, we’re looking for some really luscious texture in the room,” says Erin Gates. “If you look at a space and everything is neat, tidy and clean, you want something that’s sumptuous and cozy. It’ll really elevate the space.”

If you could only choose one room in your home to put your heart and soul into designing, the living room would top the list. It’s that treasured (and often off-limits) space that sets the tone for your entire decorating style.

Instead of hanging a painting on a bare wall, accent it with a rich, velvet curtain background. “Curtains just create a great, calming energy in which you feel very shrouded and comforted, making for a luxurious and restful environment,” says Framel. “And being able to put a really great pop of artwork in front of that textural colored backdrop has a lot of impact.”

The A-List: 100+ of the Best Interior Designers From Milan to Miami

One easy trick to mastering a modern living room is to contrast a soothing wall color with a dramatic pairing, like with these striking blue couches in blogger Tana Nelson’s space. 

Just because your designer of choice lives in another city doesn’t mean you can’t work together. Services like Homepolish and Decorist, among others, make it easy to find decorators across the country, while Allison Harlow of Curio Design Studio uses Skype to work with clients virtually.

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If Chip and Joanna Gaines have convinced you that your abode needs shiplap, you’re usually best off installing the boards horizontally rather than vertically. “It can really expand a space, making it feel larger than vertical boards can,” says Jason Arnold. “Horizontal boards also feel more contemporary.” Vertical boards, however, can be ideal for rooms with high ceilings.

Looking beyond the traditional with wallcoverings can create a truly standout design presence. “I do think I might have scared [architect Ken Linsteadt] a little bit when I announced I was planning to install two levels of green floral fabric on the walls of the grand salon,” says Ken Fulk of his Sonoma Valley lakeside retreat, yet the fabric gives the high walls a richness that wallpaper alone might not have achieved.

Open spaces. If you are going with a modern decor, then you will want to utilize our fourth idea by having lots of open space in your home. This may not be possible in some homes that offer closed rooms instead of an open concept but you can create the appearance of open spaces by using color, fabrics and furniture. You can also keep windows coverings that are light in color and airy in feel to create an open feel in to the room, even if it isn’t.

A modern living room often features sleek line furnishings and soothing palettes, says Homepolish designer Nina Jizhar, however, incorporating an iconic piece such as this Eames lounge chair bring another level of sense of style.

Technology is the third idea for a modern decor in your home. It is actually a lot more than simply stating “technology” and any electronics that are in your home should work with the space. It is often recommended that all electronics be streamlined, so flat panel televisions, built in DVD players, small flat screen televisions in the kitchen, and computers tied in to a room rather than being a lump in it, are important to keep those lines clean.

New York City designer Young Huh recommends adding in graphic curtains and a surprising piece of furniture, like this floating wood table, to create an unusual, yet stunning modern living room. 

Allowing unique items to dictate some design decisions can lead to unexpectedly beautiful results. On the hallways leading into this Art Deco Chicago apartment, dramatic doors and paneling were inspired by a special stack of uncommon lumber. “There was a guy out in Oregon who had a barn full of exotic wood and everything was marked ‘NFS,’ as in Not For Sale,” architect Phillip Liederbach recalls with a laugh. “It gave us a responsibility to elevate it. We obsessed over it.”

Offset a neutral space with an eye-catching light fixture, like Siham Mazouz, author of How the French Live, does in this minimal, French-inspired living room. Lighting sets the tone for the entire room’s space — so make sure you choose something striking.

It’s exactly what Jenny Cipoletti, founder of fashion, beauty and travel blog Margo & Me, did in her decidedly Parisian office (which is actually in West Hollywood). “Just like when you walk into a cafe in Paris, and you see all the details and the golds, silvers and light blush tones, all of these elements in this space really sing to me,” says Cipoletti. This lets you travel to your favorite destination without stepping outside.

The last idea for creating a modern decor in your home is to add a little bit of character to the space. It can be amazing how one splash of color on an otherwise neutral palette can create such an alarming effect to the room. Don’t hesitate to explore your options with color and make the space one that you will enjoy sharing with every.

It’s easy to gravitate toward the usual suspects like wood and leather when trying to craft a textured living space, but branch outside of your comfort zone. Emilie Munroe of Studio Munroe recommends drawing from your own personal style, especially the articles of clothing and patterns you’re attracted to.

“I love to see the layers of time and renovations,” says California-based interior designer Patrick Printy. “To me, it deepens the effect.” Achieving a sense of harmony that feels organic is key.

Kate Reynolds, co-owner of Studio Four NYC, believes in pairing big-ticket items with budget finds. “I think a room balances out better when you have different levels of price and craftsmanship,” she says. “It helps you notice the statement piece more.”

There’s a formula to creating a magical monotone room, and Ashley Stringfellow of Modern Glam created the perfect space by incorporating tons of texture to liven up her living room. The pops of blush tones in accents combined with her paneled wall make for a visually interesting space to curl up in with a book.

When you keep all the elements in a room sleek and uncluttered, it’s important to make sure there’s a focal point in the room to add visual interest, like designer Mandy Cheng does here. 

This ultra-modern living room takes things to new heights with swivel chairs, which encourage conversation, instead of a sofa. This space, designed by Sweet Peas Design, is giving us serious living room envy. 

Art director Vivia Horn’s zen upstate New York home makes use of an unexpected gift to give her traditional kitchen a dose of fun. This breakfast table made of a refurbished hibachi—a present from the late wrestler and Benihana restaurateur Rocky Aoki.

A vintage lucite coffee table can transform even the most boho living room into a modern space in an eco-friendly way. The barely-there quality of lucite gives the illusion that the colors and texture of your rug are floating up and touching the objects on your coffee table. 

“Bringing a touch of the Old World into the mix creates a home that will never feel dated,” designer Alex Papachristidis explains of the art-studded Manhattan apartment he designed for a family friend. For example, the silver leaf–and–rock crystal chandelier from Liz O’Brien that he hung in the otherwise modern dining room.

“You mix things up with old and new,” suggests textiles and interior designer Kathryn M. Ireland, as she did in the living room of her Santa Monica home; a room where the furnishings include 17th-century French chairs, an 18th-century Mexican console, and a cocktail table from her furniture line.

Make what’s old new again by invigorating antique pieces with colorful fabric from the 21st century. Take, for example, the two 18th-century French bergère chairs here, upholstered in a hot pink Maharam fabric. “Maharam is a very modern, contemporary fabric company, with velvets that are really bright in color,” says Bikoff. “That color was such a pop of freshness and youthfulness on these old chairs.”

“Creating a modern living room that feels chic and layered is all about mixing textures and styles; think brass and mixed metals. And bringing in vintage. Paired with luxe fabrics, like velvet and a neutral, but warm, color palette, no way you can’t create an interior you love,” says interior designer Nate Berkus.

Who said you can’t mix other styles into a modern space? Take note from Becki Owens, as she included a vintage rug in her chic and modern living room design, which brings a suprising element to the space. 

To avoid being locked into a single style, lighting designer Lindsey Adelman switches up the fixtures in her Park Slope home on a regular basis. “It’s part of my creative process,” she explains, “I love to see things in context, in real life—to live with them.”

Emily Schuman, of the blog Cupcakes and Cashmere, is giving us serious bookshelf envy with her color-coded book collection. Her living room, featured on Apartment Therapy, is both playful and sophisticated with pops of color and a chic leather sofa.

7 of 22 Photographed by Siham Mazouz from How the French Live, reprinted by permission of Gibbs Smith

$3,295, Rococo Iron & Crystal Chandelier, Restoration Hardware

Instead of fighting against rusticity, embracing the natural character of a home can create a natural richness in the space.”My father found artisans to decorate the bathroom in red limestone, a typical Rajasthani material,” Siddharth Kasliwal, heir to India’s famed Munnu the Gem Palace, explained of the former-cowshed-turned-home he inherited from his father. “All the other elements—the brass sink and hardware, the mirror— are vintage or antique.”

$6,950, Pair of French Louis XVI Style 1870s Wingback Bergères Chairs with Upholstery, 1stdibs

Want to make a variety of bright colors cohesive? Think about how you would arrange a flower bouquet, as Sasha Bikoff did in this SoHo apartment. “The same can apply to a space, but you need to find a connection,” she says. “Here, that connection is the fabric on the dining room chairs, which showcases colors also found throughout the room.”

“A lot of people love the idea of really simple, modern living—it’s appealing, it’s nice and it seems serene,” says Erika Yeaman, a Homepolish designer and owner of YES Associates. “But the reality of maintaining that is a little tricker. Mixing Scandinavian design with bohemian style warms it up and makes it feel more homey and attainable.”

$5,400, John Stuart Clingman for Widdicomb Mid-Century Modern Lounge Chairs, 1stdibs

In this minimal living room, by Homepolish designer Katherine Carter, less is more. While a statement piece is a must to liven up the space, it’s important to keep things simple or the space can become overwhelming. 

You don’t need to go bright in order to create visual impact in a room. “[My wife] wanted to dial it back into her aesthetic, away from the color,” says David Kaihoi of the 400-square foot New York studio he renovated for his family. “I agreed, but suggested we do that with texture and pattern.”

The first idea is to keep it simple. Remember that word that best describes modern design and make sure that you incorporate it into your space. There is no need for the room to simply be four walls and a chair for sitting, we aren’t going to that extreme, but you will want to keep things as uncluttered as it possible. Studies have shown that clutter can lead to stress in your life so keeping your decor simple will help alleviate some of the stresses that you feel.

A rainbow-colored living room is hard to achieve without being too overwhelming, but blogger Joy Cho of Oh Joy! knows just how to balance things out in this swoon-worthy living room. Balance out colors with lighter tones and make sure to include enough white space like Cho does with the bookshelf here.

The second idea of modern home decor is function. Not only should your rooms be simple with those clean lines and minimal artwork and accessories, but it should also be functional. This varies greatly from room to room but when you go into a room, it should be easy to access and use various items in it. So, for instance, a kitchen that is designed with modern decor in mind should have ample workroom and everything should be easy to access.

A key to warming up modern colors (black, white, and concrete) is throwing in wooden accents, like designer Bobby Berk (of the Queer Eye for the Straight Guy reboot on Netflix) does here. Plus, the wood can double as an unexpected architectural element. 

To soften the modern edge of stainless steel, decorator Alisa Bloom put a traditional spin on the kitchen cabinetry of her 1920s Chicago penthouse with brass inlays. With the help of a local hardware maker, she even designed her own hinges and drawer pulls. “I would never go into a store and just buy something,” she says. “It’s all about the process and the hunt.”

Sticking to lighter, natural colors like whites, creams, and browns makes it feel like a place you can recharge, says designer Jenni Kayne. Using natural textures in contrast to a bright white also adds an unexpected, yet welcoming look.

$375, Arturo 8-Light Rectangular Chandelier, Ballard Designs

Add some life to your space with a statement-making plant like designer Grant Gibson does with this larger-than-life Monstera. Bonus tip: mix things up by incorporating furniture in the same color family, but in different shades, like he does here with the blue sofa and chair.

Rather than art, a high-impact wallpaper can give a subdued room some wow-factor. The 19th century wallcovering from this luxe Milan apartment was purchased at auction in France and adapted to the room. “We created the missing parts, the plinth and the ceiling frame, to depict an Italian capriccio, a fantastical and bucolic landscape with architectural features,” Laura Sartori Rimini of Studio Peregalli says.

The best way to balance out sleek lines and contemporary furniture is by adding a few unique natural elements, from drift wood to greenery. “I don’t like to look around a house and not see touches from the outdoors,” interior designer Tamara Magel says.

22 of 22 Marika Wagle’s Home Featured in the New Bohemians. Photo by Dabito.

In Josh Groban’s “The Great Comet” dressing room, interior designer Mike Harrison selected this constellation artwork as a clear focal point for the room. “I loved this piece for its dimensions and colors, but also as a tip of the hat to the ‘Comet’ influences that I know were of importance to Josh,” says Harrison. “I was searching for artwork that would tie together all of Josh’s design sensibilities.”

Whether you’re decorating your first home or your fifth, great design is in the details. We’ve consulted top designers and scoured our archives to find the best ideas for every room in the house.

Sure, your eyes may want the most modern, chic couch in the showroom. But your back may not. “In my experience, it’s really better to test out seating and take the time to look at the dimensions,” says Sharon Blaustein. If you’re tall, for instance, you might want to opt for a depth of between 40 to 42 inches for a sofa (rather than the standard depth of 36 inches).

Allow your space to continuously change—as your life does. “Remember that your home should always be evolving, just as you are,” says Kelly Framel, creative director, stylist and founder of online magazine The Glamourai. “I am constantly picking up new treasures on my travels. Your nest should always be a place of comfort and inspiration, and it’s a constant work in progress.”

Looking at your home from a holistic perspective—seeing how each room works in balance against the others—can help craft a welcome variety in your spaces, like this emerald and charcoal dining room that adds a touch of formality to an otherwise contemporary Los Angeles home.

$1,688, Interlude Home Lestari Petrified Wood Side Tale, Houzz

$225, Safavieh Adirondack Round Area Rug, Bed, Bath & Beyond

Modern doesn’t have to mean simple. Brooklyn-based interior blog, Aphrochic, shows us how to have a playful and visually interesting space that’s totally on trend, but includes some statement-making pieces like the lighting fixture and flower piece above the fireplace. 

Simplicity. If you were looking for a word that described what modern home decor was then that would be; it is simplicity. Of course, simple doesn’t mean boring and modern decor with its clean lines, neutral color palette and geometric shapes is anything but boring. Instead, modern home decor can be warm, inviting and completely stylish in just about any home. But how do you achieve modern home decor? Obviously, it isn’t as simple as walking into a store and choosing items that have clean lines. There takes a bit more to that and there are several basic ideas that should be incorporated into a modern decor.

Instead of using hard-edged modernist shapes to soften the room, opt for organic shapes with “soft” edges to keep it contemporary, advises Raun Thorp of Tichenor & Thorp Architects. 

17 of 22 Sara Tramp for Emily Henderson Design / Crypton Home

An easy way to mix up your living room’s style? By adding a lighting fixture with a sculptural quality, like this one that designer Amy Lind used. No need for matching lamps — go for boldly-shaped sconces, an oversized floor lamp, or a statement-making chandelier. 

When renovating a building that already has plenty of character, like this 1920s Spanish Colonial home in Los Angeles, it’s all about striking the balance between what you add and what you leave. “We wanted to make it feel more holistic while still honoring its heritage,” designer Steven Johanknecht says of the decision to keep the original hand-carved ceiling beams and wrought-iron chandeliers while removing mismatched materials from previous renovations.

This is not the time for e-shopping, people. “It’s just so hard to tell on a computer screen what the color really looks like,” Arnold says. “You might think it looks red, but in reality, it’s watermelon pink.” Not to mention the texture of the rug may be totally different than what you were expecting.

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