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How to Decorate in a Contemporary Style

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How to Decorate in a Contemporary Style

Add punch with strong color set against basics.

You might like a contemporary style of decorating if you like to keep current with styles, enjoy things that are modern, of today, right now.

While it's been thought that modern interiors are cold and minimalist, today's contemporary interiors are comfortable and welcoming without being cluttered and dark. It's a style that is equally appropriate for offices and stores, lofts and homes.

A contemporary style home can be a quiet and comfortable retreat. To achieve the look of a contemporary home, it's important to stick to some basic rules.

Fundamentally, simplicity, subtle sophistication, texture and clean lines help to define contemporary style decorating. Interiors showcase space rather than things. By focusing on color, space, and shape, contemporary interiors are sleek and fresh.

Learn about some more of the characteristics and elements of a contemporary style of decorating and how you might bring the look into each room of your home.

  • Color
    Neutrals, black, and white are the main colors in contemporary style interiors. The palette is often punched up and accented with bright and bold color. Black is often used to ground and define a contemporary style room. 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.

  • Line and Space
    The most obvious and distinctive element of a contemporary style interior design is line. It's found in architectural details, use of bold color blocks, high ceilings, bare windows, and geometric shapes in wall art and sculpture. 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.

    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.

  • Contemporary Style Furniture
    Smooth, clean, geometric shapes are essential for contemporary style furniture pieces. Upholstered furniture often wears black, white, or other neutral tones in textured natural fibers. Cover it in a neutral, black, or bold fabric. Fabrics often have a natural look found in wool, cotton, linen, silk, jute, and add textural appeal.

    Furniture pieces should be simple and uncluttered, without curves or decoration. Sofas, chairs, and ottomans have exposed legs. Beds and chairs usually have no skirt, trim, fringe, or tassels.

    Pillows add a shot of color and texture in clean geometric shapes.

Keep in Mind

  • Use furniture and accessories to make a bold statement in contemporary style interior. Use a basic background and shout out with your favorite color on a piece that will stand out.

  • Less is more! In a contemporary style interior, don't use ruffles, excessive carved details, fringe, or floral prints. Abolish cute and small. Go basic, bare, bold, and structural.

  • Floors in a contemporary style home should be bare and smooth in 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.

Read on for More Elements of Contemporary Style Decorating.

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