21 modern living room design ideas
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Modern Interior Decoration

Modern Interior Decoration Modern Interior Decoration

A modern design featuring a minimal amount of furnishings and accents. Image: Koffka/Phakos Design

Contemporary minimal design. Image: John Maniscalco Architecture

Frames in high-gloss or matte black, natural wood, or metal finishes are great for artwork. If you must put several pieces together, hang them close together so they create the feeling of one large piece. Don’t clutter contemporary-style rooms with collections or too many pieces. In contemporary interiors, open space is often just as important as the pieces you put in the space.

Many people think modern and contemporary design are the same. But there’s a world of difference. They may be synonyms when describing many things, but in design, modern vs. contemporary are quite different.

The bare space on walls, between pieces of furniture and above in upper areas, becomes as important as the areas filled with objects. In contemporary interiors, less is more. Each piece stands out as individual and unique.

Colorful, fussy prints should be avoided since they confuse the plain space that is key to a contemporary-style home. Two-tone prints work well. Think about a zebra print pillow on a black leather chair, a large leopard-print pillow thrown on a plain floor, or a bold, heavily textured striped rug to anchor solid colored, sleek furniture.

Use a basic background and shout out with your favorite color on a furniture piece that stands out. Less is more! Sofas, chairs, and ottomans often have exposed legs. Beds and chairs usually omit skirts, trim, fringes, or tassels. Don’t use ruffles, excessive carved details, fringe, or floral prints. Abolish cute and small—go basic, bare, bold, and structural.

Glass, steel, porcelain and concrete are popular contemporary design materials. Image: Studio Ten

Neutrals, black, and white are the main colors in contemporary style interiors. Black is often used to ground and define a contemporary style room. The palette is often punched up and accented with bright and bold color that play against neutrals. With walls painted in a basic neutral, you have a wonderful backdrop for bold colored accessories. If the walls and windows are painted in pastels, the trims should be neutral. If a wall is a bright, bold color, neutrals should be used everywhere else.

In contemporary rooms, plants and flowers should be large and dramatic in simple containers. Large blooms with interesting leaves work better than small arrangements. If space allows, place upward-focused lights around a large plant on the floor. Keep the arrangements neat with rocks or bark chips arranged over the soil in the pots.

Both design styles have three general elements in common, which make them good design styles to mix and match into your own signature look. The three shared elements are:

Contemporary design interiors like this living room feature straighter, more austere lines, while modern tends to incorporate more curves. Image: Haus Design Studio

Both modern and contemporary design styles are unfussy and lean toward clean lines instead of ornamentation, like this Scandinavian-style modern living room. Image: Garrison Hullinger

Use spotlights or can lighting directed at a painting, poster, or print. These will help to draw the eye to the pieces you want to focus on. Contemporary style sculptures or framed art can be placed at eye level by placing them on a structural column or pedestal.

Contemporary design features state-of-the-art materials, glass and metals

Contemporary design often sticks to a stricter palate of black, white and grey. If color is added, the color is often the pure, saturated tone like true red, indigo or orange. Modern design colors have an earthier hue and feature shades like rust, turquoise, brown and olive greens. Check out the difference in these two:

Keep dinnerware contemporary, too. There are a number of geometric shapes, bold colors, and interesting styles available. Bring in texture with silverware, napkins, placemats, and centerpieces.

Now that you know a little more about modern vs. contemporary design, which style do you prefer?

Wood is featured on all surfaces to maintain the flow of this open-space modern living area. Image: Best Builders

Floors in a contemporary style home should be bare and smooth, using wood, tile, or vinyl. If you must use carpet for sound control or warmth, choose commercial grades. Add color and texture with plain or geometric-patterned area rugs.

The Basics of Decorating in Contemporary Style New, Modern, Up-to-Date

Modern design refers to an era that has passed, while contemporary design is all about the now and the future.

The most popular modern design era is the mid-century modern era of the 1950s and 1960s. But Art Deco design of the 1920s or anything from then to the vintage look of the 1970s can also be considered modern.

Furniture pieces should make a bold statement but at the same time be simple and uncluttered, without curves or decoration. Smooth, clean, geometric shapes are essential. Upholstered furniture often wears black, white, or other neutral tones, using the natural fibers found in wool, cotton, linen, silk, jute to add textural appeal. Pillows in clean geometric shapes add a shot of color and texture.

Here are the most popular elements and looks of modern vs. contemporary design.

A contemporary open space flows from one area to another fluidly. Image: KF Home Building

Black, white and bold, saturated colors are very contemporary. Image: Atmosphere Interior Design

Take advantage of structural elements. Air ducts may hang from a ceiling, broken bricks provide texture and stability, and exposed plumbing pipes are perfectly acceptable in a contemporary-style interior. To draw the eye, paint these structural details in bold contrasting colors, or, to diminish their importance, blend them with the walls.

Browns, golds, turquoise and earthier tones are popular modern colors. Image: Nest Modern

Track lighting and recessed lighting help to wash a wall in light. In both home renovations and new construction, consider installing cove lighting or indirect light. Include color and metallic elements on the light fixtures.

The most obvious and distinctive element of a contemporary style interior design is line. Whether straight vertical or horizontal lines or curved shapes, strong visible lines are evident in any contemporary-style home. Line is found in architectural details, use of bold color blocks, high ceilings, bare windows, and geometric shapes in wall art and sculpture.

In home decorating, if you enjoy things that are modern and like to keep current with the styles of the moment, you are a follower of contemporary style. While it’s sometimes thought that “modern” interiors are cold and minimalist, in today’s homes, contemporary interiors are comfortable and welcoming without being cluttered and dark. Today’s contemporary style is equally appropriate for offices and stores, loft apartments and traditional homes.

Fundamentally, a contemporary style of decorating is defined by simplicity, subtle sophistication, deliberate use of texture, and clean lines. Interiors tend to showcase space rather than things. By focusing on color, space, and shape, contemporary interiors are sleek and fresh. To achieve the look of a contemporary home, it’s important to stick to some basic rules.

Wood elements and nature-inspired decor play an important part in modern design. Image: Square Root Architecture

Generous use of metal, stone, and opaque or clear glass works well in a room decorated in a contemporary style. To soften and warm up space, use heavily textured fabrics in plain colors for window treatments, pillows, or rugs.

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