It mixes strong lines with soft tones and minimal accessories, but the good thing is that it leaves plenty of room to break the rules.
What it is: Technically, contemporary design is based on the moment that is being lived, in the here and now, but how does one identify what is of the present? Sometimes it is less straightforward than it seems. I am generally speaking. However, it represents a 180º turn from the dictates of traditional decoration. This translates into a preference for soft profiles rather than ornamentation, solid or subtly patterned fabrics rather than colorful and variegated designs, and one-off accessories rather than extensive collections of objects.
What it is not: The terms contemporary and modern are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same. Modern refers to a specific design movement that emerged in the early 20th century and followed stringent and rational guidelines. The contemporary style is warmer and allows you to break some rules.
When it works: If a strong emphasis is placed on coherence and harmony between lines and shapes, two essential aspects give the contemporary style its particular energy. First, its rooms are designed with abundant open spaces and natural light, which provides them with their characteristic air of spaciousness and looseness. Everything is under control; every piece counts.
You'll love it if. In a museum, you go straight for the abstract works of art. You have more than two books with "simplicity" in the title. Overloaded curtains make you claustrophobic. Geometry was your favorite subject in school. So you tend to take most of your stuff out of sight and decorate in white.
Neutral yet sophisticated colors. Cream, white, tan, and black is the cornerstones of a contemporary design. Monochromatic or duotone compositions make the lines and shapes gain prominence.
But don't overdo it by making a space too neutral. Instead, choose a nuanced shade that adds interest, like the blue in this post. Try cream with a touch of pink, gray with a touch of green, or beige with some gold. If you want to make an impact with a more robust color, apply it on a wall as an accent or a piece of furniture, always in moderation.
Bare floors. If you love the feeling of bare feet on the floor, you're in luck. Contemporary design isn't particularly fond of carpets, instead opting for thinner, sleeker surfaces: bamboo, light woods like maple and ash, natural stone, ceramic, concrete and micro cement. That's not to say you can't have a contemporary rug at home; it's just a matter of choosing the right one. An oriental design won't suit you, but a geometric or voluminous one. You can also try a carpet tile composition. If you still want wall-to-wall carpeting, choose a solid color and short fibers.
Accessories counted. "Less is more" is the great mantra of this style; you may have already noticed that it is a very recurrent phrase. Avoid eclecticism, pretentiousness, and knick-knacks. Accessories should be simple, few, and well-chosen. Notice how in this small layout, each piece adds intensity without detracting from the feeling of spaciousness. This is an exciting style for collectors, not for those who accumulate but for those who know how to identify an object with a lot of decorative potential. Opt for solid pieces evenly distributed to enhance the aesthetics of the space rather than hinder it.
Simple lines. The contemporary design rests on a solid horizontal-vertical axis, from the architecture of a room to the furniture. It takes lines, planes, and angles into significant consideration. The structure of the space is a component of the overall design itself. Does this mean that absolutely everything in your home must have sharp, square corners? No, it's wise to balance the design with some curves. The key is to stay true to the simplicity of basic geometric shapes: circles, rectangles, cylinders, waves, watermarks, and flourishes are more typical of other more traditional styles.
Open or breathing spaces. Contemporary designs celebrate both what is there and what is not. Empty spaces take on almost a level of sculpture; they are not casual but part of an entire architectural project. Because of their spaciousness, contemporary interiors are particularly well suited to introducing furniture, artwork, and large format decorative pieces. However, be careful because too much space with hardly anything to hold on to makes the room seem empty and lonely. Divide furniture into groups to help establish a subtle separation of rooms if it's ample space. Chandeliers and pendant lights can help visually lower an overly high or oversized ceiling.
Large windows, bare if possible. Windows in a contemporary setting are usually abundant and are often left undressed to highlight their clean lines and allow natural light to flood the room. However, suppose you are worried about a lack of privacy or don't like to be the center of attention. In that case, you can always choose to cover the windows with stylized elements that do not obstruct your views: sheers or curtains that blend in with the color of the wall, micro-blinds, or blinds with screen fabric. They are barely noticeable as long as they are made with a neutral and solid pattern.
No fear of shine. In a contemporary design, chrome, stainless steel, copper, lacquered, glass, plastic, or vitrified tiles fit well, as they create a perfect tandem that enhances the brightness throughout the space. The mix of materials is fundamental to obtaining contrast and depth. Please do not overdo it with reflections; combine them with matte elements. Notice the alternation between glossy and satin surfaces in this bathroom. You can also temper the shine with other textures, such as frosted glass or brushed nickel.