Are you tired of the traditional look? Are you in search of a cohesive interior design style that’s decidedly sleek and contemporary? Well, it’s not as challenging as you may think. With a few simple tricks and techniques, you can give your home’s design a makeover and usher it into the new decade. Here’s what you need to do:
1. Understand What Contemporary Means
Contemporary and modern often get used interchangeably, but they aren’t one and the same. From architecture standpoint, modern is the look that was popularized between the 1920s and 1950s. Contemporary design, on the other hand, is constantly evolving.
Whereas modern design followed rigid rules in regards to what could be done, contemporary design provides choice and interpretation. This is what has made it so popular for so many years.
“This ability to pick and choose characteristics led to a never-before-seen emphasis on individuality,” design expert Tara Mastroeni explains. “Homeowners were free to design their homes in a way that truly worked for them, architectural conventions aside. It also may be why contemporary design seems to be sticking around for the long haul.”
So the question is, do you want modern or contemporary design? There’s nothing right or wrong about either approach, but be clear with your intentions.
2. Use Lines
“The most obvious and distinctive element of a contemporary style interior design is the line,” home decor blogger Coral Nafie writes. “Whether straight vertical or horizontal lines or curved shapes, strong visible lines are evident in any contemporary-style home. The line is found in architectural details, use of bold color blocks, high ceilings, bare windows, and geometric shapes in wall art and sculpture.”
Look for ways to be bold with how you use lines and shapes. Crisp, clean contrast is something you should aim for. There shouldn’t be any throwaway designs. In other words, every element should command attention (which is why it’s typically best to adopt a less-is-more mantra).
3. Let There be Light
Traditional design is rigid, segmented, and closed off. Walls, partitions, and doors separate one room’s purpose from the next. The result is a bunch of small, dark spaces. Contemporary design adopts an oppositional approach.
With contemporary design, you want things to be open, airy, and light. And whenever possible, natural light is preferred to artificial light. This can happen through a combination of windows, doors, and skylights.
4. Put a New Spin on Traditional Elements
Contemporary design doesn’t mean you have to toss out everything that’s come before and replace it with something new and revolutionary. There’s still plenty of room for traditional elements. But in order to establish a sleek and cohesive look, you may have to put a new spin on these classic elements.
Take the fireplace, for example. Traditional fireplaces with brick masonry, large hearths, and defined chimneys don’t typically fit in with a contemporary design. But the fireplace is still a functional and useful piece. Rather than nix it altogether, a contemporary designer would install an electric fireplace. Wall-mounted models with crushed fire glass are both practical and gorgeous to look at. They’re just as much a piece of art as they are a source of heat.
5. Be Bold With Furniture
In traditional design, furnishings are forced into a room. Homeowners think, “Well, I need a sofa, a recliner, and a coffee table – so we don’t really have any choice but to plop them down right here.”
In contemporary design, furnishings are selected based on the room. In other words, you look at the space and let it speak to you. And once again, the less-is-more mantra comes into play.
“Select contemporary style home furnishings that are statement-making conversation starters while remaining pared down, with smooth, clean, geometric silhouettes and straight lines,” Decor Aid mentions. “Think solid hues and finishes, natural materials, and unadorned surfaces.”
What’s Your Version of Contemporary Design?
Contemporary is really just a catchall term for design that is fresh and relevant, as opposed to traditional and stuffy. While we’ve touched on some principles of contemporary design, there’s always room for originality and creativity.
Use these elements as the bedrock of your contemporary design and then have some fun with the details. Interior design is nothing without personal expression.