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A Designer’s Guide to Decorating Your Home with Contemporary Style

by DecorMatters|Jul 27, 2023

Step into the sleek, streamlined world of contemporary interior design—a world that fuses functionality, aesthetics, and simplicity in an entrancing blend. This design style has been winning hearts and turning heads with its sublime allure, but to truly understand its magic and infuse it into your personal space, you need to unravel the intricacies of its underlying principles.

Crafting your home in a contemporary style isn't just about jumping on a popular bandwagon. It's about exploring a realm of design that appreciates subtlety and celebrates the elegance of simplicity. So, come along with us as we paint a comprehensive picture of this remarkable style and answer those burning questions you've been eager to ask. Let's find out how the art of contemporary living can transform your home into a modern masterpiece.

Defining Contemporary Interior Design

Minimalist contemporary living room design 

📸 @esmael.abdelhamed

At its core, contemporary design is about living in the moment. It's a dynamic, ever-changing style that reflects current trends, making it different from timeless styles like traditional or classic. It changes with each decade, reflecting the popular trends of the time.

While it borrows elements from modern design, such as clean lines and minimalism, contemporary design also embraces curvier lines and a warmer palette, aiming for simplicity and subtlety, giving more importance to form and functionality than excessive decoration.

The Elements of Contemporary Interior Design

Neutrality Reigns

contemporary interior design color palette 

📸 @aplustassociates

Neutral color palettes dominate contemporary living rooms. However, it isn’t about making everything one hue. Instead, it’s about blending neutral shades, textures, and materials to create a warm and inviting space. Whites, grays, and creams are popular choices, often contrasted with darker elements for balance. Bold and bright colors often come in through accents, artwork, or a single piece of furniture, adding vibrancy to the room.

Clean, Geometric Lines

clean and geometric lines for a contemporary interior

📸 Félix Millory Architecture

The hallmark of contemporary design is clean, sleek lines - seen in architectural details, high ceilings, bare windows, and geometric shapes in wall art and sculpture. This can be horizontal, vertical, or curvilinear.

Open Spaces

open floor plan, perfect for a contemporary design

📸 Huang Iboshi Architecture, Inc

Contemporary interiors often feel spacious and airy. Open floor plans and bare windows allow natural light to flood in, enhancing the openness. Open space is a key element, with less being more in terms of furnishings and clutter.

Texture and Materials

materials used in a contemporary design 

📸 Studio Rozu

Contemporary design uses a variety of materials to add texture and interest. Leather, silk, steel, glass, and wood are commonly used in this style, often in an unexpected or innovative way. Polished metals, like chrome or stainless steel, are prevalent in contemporary design, often used in furniture frames, railings, or as accent pieces.

Minimalist Decor

contemporary dining room 

📸 Shawn Henderson

In contemporary design, clutter is a contemporary design’s nemesis. Fewer accessories and a minimal aesthetic are defining characteristics. There's an emphasis on spaciousness, with storage solutions seamlessly integrated into the design to maintain the clean, uncluttered aesthetic.

Diving Deeper: The Role of Furniture and Lighting

Furniture in contemporary design often reflects a minimalist approach, favoring functionality over elaborate detail. Clean lines, neutral colors, and smooth surfaces are typically used. Furnishings are commonly upholstered in natural fibers like cotton, wool, or linen, avoiding synthetic materials and ornate or busy patterns.

Lighting, too, plays an important role. Recessed or track lighting helps highlight specific areas, architectural details, or artwork. Floor and table lamps with sleek metallic finishes often serve a dual purpose, acting as decorative pieces alongside their functional use. Large windows that let in natural light are also common.

Infusing Personal Touches in Contemporary Design

While contemporary design relies heavily on current trends, it doesn't mean your space should feel impersonal or cold. Your home should reflect your personality. Personal mementos, family photos, or pieces that have personal significance can certainly find a place in contemporary design.

Contemporary kitchen design with greenery decor 

📸 Geri Designs

Contemporary design and natural elements are a match made in heaven. A touch of greenery can breathe life into the room, while wooden elements add warmth and character. Even though neutral shades dominate the contemporary color palette, don't hesitate to express your personal energy through vibrant pops of color. Pillows, a statement chair, or standout artwork can introduce an element of surprise and personalization.

Answering the FAQs about Contemporary Decor

1. What distinguishes contemporary design from modern design?

While both styles are fans of simplicity and clean lines, modern design is tied to the design movement of the early to mid-20th century. On the other hand, contemporary design is a shape-shifter, constantly evolving to mirror current trends.

2. Can I blend other styles with contemporary design?

Absolutely! That's the beauty of contemporary design. It can adapt to include elements of other styles. For instance, a contemporary room could have mid-century modern or industrial touches. Just ensure that the overall aesthetic remains cohesive and retains its clean lines and simplicity.

3. Is contemporary design suitable for small spaces?

Yes! The minimalist approach and focus on open spaces make contemporary design perfect for smaller homes or apartments. Mirrors, light colors, and multi-functional furniture can make small spaces appear larger.

4. Is contemporary design expensive?

While contemporary design can appear luxurious, it doesn't have to be expensive. It focuses on minimalism, which means less furniture and décor to purchase. Also, you can find many affordable contemporary-style items on the market.

Contemporary design is more than keeping pace with trends—it's a celebration of architectural integrity, an ode to simplicity, and a commitment to efficient and sustainable living. By understanding and embracing these principles, you can breathe contemporary life into your home.

Ready to embark on your journey of contemporary transformation? Download the DecorMatters app and start reimagining your space with the power of contemporary design. Experiment virtually with real furniture pieces, get inspired by a thriving community of over 10 million designers, and watch your dream home come to life.

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