Home & Garden

May 23, 2014

Contemporary design explained

Are you into contemporary design? If you’re unsure, here’s a primer on the design style.

Are you into contemporary design? If you’re unsure, here’s a primer on the design style.

Contemporary design is a modern design that relies on smooth and polished surfaces, clean lines, and a simple and uncluttered look. It is usually spacious in feel and look. It can be beautiful, but if you’re not careful, it can come across as sterile and uninviting.

Gray and black. The monochromatic look always comes across as contemporary. Take a gray and black look as an example. A wood floor that is black combined with smoky gray upholstery and a soft gray area rug is contemporary. Soft gray walls with accessory tables in glass with metal legs will further the style.

To soften the design and avoid that sterile look, you could use wood tables instead of glass, in dark gray or black. Soft and simple sheers for the windows will add to the room. The wall art could continue the monochromatic design or you could punch it up with brightly colored art. On the upholstered items, sleek lines are contemporary, but be sure the pieces are comfortable.

Warm browns. Another mono look: the warmer tones of beiges and browns, which pair perfectly with a bright white. Try a light brown floor with dark brown wood accessory tables, the upholstery in light beige. Toss a few pillows on the upholstery in geometric patterns, with browns being the intense color. The window treatments can be very simple white or beige shades. If you need more color, add rust in the pillows and/or art.

White and navy. Everything white with navy blue carpet makes for a clean, crisp look. Add a little of that blue on the walls, perhaps painting one wall the same navy as the floor. Make it a patriotic look with navy and red pillows on the upholstery. Wall hangings can be blue and white, or you can add red, or another accent color such as kelly green or a bright orange for oomph.

Leather. Leather upholstery often is associated with the contemporary look but it’s not imperative. Fabric upholstery is just as good if the right fabric is chosen: simple, not cutesy. No paisley and no flowers.

Open concept. The contemporary look begs an open look, so uncluttered is the way to go. Another common element is an open-concept floor plan, with little or no wall division between spaces.

Geometric designs. Geometric patterned rugs, toss pillows and/or wall art are considered good contemporary design.

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