Interior Design 101: Contemporary Home Decor

Posted In Design - 10/04/2019

Decorating in Contemporary Style

If you prefer a look that's understated and chic, contemporary design may be the right choice for you. Versatile in range and elegant in its simplicity, this style values clean lines, sleek shapes, and simple form. All of these factors add up to a space that is simultaneously comfortable and sophisticated.

Contemporary Definitions

The tricky thing about contemporary interior design is that it constantly changes with current trends. However, there are a few defining features that make this approach unique. At its core, "contemporary" is all about the here and now, which means that the most important elements can shift over time.

When it comes to contemporary homes, less is more. Each piece serves a purpose and contributes to the overall aesthetic. Small accents can make a big impact, and architectural details are unique and celebrated highlights in a contemporary living room. Things like crown molding and exposed brick become integral, serving as key focal points.

Modern vs. Contemporary

Even though many use the two terms interchangeably, there are some major differences between modern and contemporary:

  • While modern design focuses on a specific era, primarily the early to mid-twentieth century, contemporary is always evolving.
  • Modern house interiors tend to use earthy colors, while contemporary emphasizes neutral shades and saturated hues.
  • Contemporary furniture features glass, metal and other state-of-the-art materials, whereas modern homes use wood, leather and other natural options.

Contemporary Palettes

While there are certainly some go-to hues that define contemporary interior design, you can play around with different color schemes. Here are a few ideas:

  • Black and white: This timeless contrast offers a classic balance to your decor.
  • Warm neutrals: Beige, taupe, and tan create depth while maintaining a chic simplicity.
  • Daring accents: Shake things up with a deep red, fiery orange, or distinguished navy piece.
  • Monochromatic: Try incorporating several shades of the same color, like gray, for a put-together look.

Decorating a Contemporary House

With its wide range options, contemporary style functions well in every room. Check out these suggestions to get started:

Living Room

A contemporary living room should be welcoming and comfortable as well as sleek and chic. Choose a low-profile sofa set with structured cushions and a contrasting armchair for a fun accent. Additionally, you can achieve an airy aesthetic with a glass-top coffee table and coordinating end tables.

Dining Room

When deciding on contemporary furniture for your dining room, stick to basic but high-impact pieces. A high-gloss, lacquered table reflects light and makes the space feel open. For a little decadence, select side chairs upholstered in plush velvet for a flawless blend of textures.


The kitchen is the perfect place to take advantage of metallic finishes. Stainless steel appliances are always a refined choice. Consider using a monochromatic white theme for a cohesive contemporary vibe. Finish off the look with an all-black counter-height table and chairs.


Simple and neat, contemporary style is ideal for a serene bedroom getaway. Soothing, neutral shades create a relaxing environment. Dressers and bedframes should have straight lines and unifying details like chrome drawer pulls. Keep additional furnishings to a minimum for an understated appeal.

The Finishing Touch

Small accents are an easy way to incorporate a splash of color into contemporary designs. Choose a few toss pillows with bold patterns for a focal point that you can change up whenever the mood strikes. For a subtle contrast, drape a blanket with stripes or geometric prints over the sofa.

When selecting accessories, opt for materials like metal, stone, and glass. Begin with essential items like lighting and ottomans, then branch out with a single statement piece like sculptural wall decor or artwork. Finally, bring in a bit of nature with a lovely silk floral arrangement or a vase of fresh flowers.

Be Creative

There is a whole world of possibilities when planning a contemporary house, so let your imagination run wild. Start with a neutral palette, clean lines, and uncluttered layouts, then add a few signature touches to make it all your own. Contemporary interior design is ever-changing, so experiment with current trends to bring your vision to life.

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