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Decorating: Contemporary Style & Design Basics

A contemporary look defines a dramatic style choice
that can explode with color or be subdued in a monochromatic scale

A contemporary decorating style does not have to bland; it can be a range of items that meet a family's modern-day needs. Open, airy, and sparsely arranged defines a clean contemporary look.

Glass and chrome or brushed aluminum add to the cutting edge tone of a contemporary home. Glass dining, coffee, and end tables open up a space. These can be supported - or encased in - wrought iron or other simply sculpted metals.

Stark white walls and light-colored, large ceramic tiles will add further to the decorating scheme. Walls can be textured or faux finished, but in a subtle white or off-white tone. Black and white as the base color scheme is a popular choice. Wood floors also have appeal in the upscale contemporary home. Countertops can be granite or concrete and fixtures should be similar in color to brushed aluminum or copper.

While the focal furniture pieces and window treatments may be monochromatic, bursts of accent colors will brighten the room. This can be with an art collection or a few well-placed, large plants, such as a fan palm.

The perceived starkness of a monochromatic interior must be balanced with a few cozy applications. Furniture with large, deep cushions bring the homey feel back into play. Extra throw pillows can add texture and additional color. Choose your colors, wisely, however. Make sure they tie together with the art, artificial flower arrangements, or sculptures.

If you are brave and want to liven up the walls, consider painting just one section in a bright accent color. In a kitchen, this spot could match the toaster or a blender, for instance.

If you want to dress up white wooden blinds, consider mounting a drapery rod and adding a weave a swag of muslin across. You can change it out for winter months with flannel or corduroy.

Lighting fixtures should be simplistic as well. Task areas can easily include track lighting. If you have a "gallery" wall of art, think about adding focused lights in this area as well for drama. In fact, super-sized plants should also be lighted. Any interesting shape can be utilized for table lamps.

When you are building your style palette, think about form as well as function as it plays a significant role. Small items will tend to be lost in a contemporary design, so think big when shopping.

Even large items can look crowded, so give each piece its space to shine on its own. Place carefully, control your colors, and you'll have a great contemporary space in no time.

Contemporary Design Ideas

Contemporary styling can take many paths, from big and bold to simple and sparse

If you find the contemporary style appealing, then there are several easy ways to carry out this trend from room to room.

You can begin in the kitchen with dinnerware. You'll find a lot of shapes other than round in a contemporary home. Dinner plates can be square and serving dishes rectangular. Look for solid colors that complement each other. A service for eight could include four settings of white and four of black. These can be accented with red, for instance, through the use of placemats or exotic flower arrangements.

Small appliances should also have a high-tech look and feel to blend into the contemporary scheme. That does not mean you have to replace a perfectly good blender, but you can keep your style in mind when adding new pieces. Tuck away the worst offenders when not in use.

Art should always be framed in brushed copper, silver, or black frames. They should be simple; avoid any ornate mountings.

Bring the outdoors inside with wrought iron furniture. It will add to the open feel of a room. A small, round table with ice-cream parlor styled chairs can easily look at home when tucked into a nook.

Linen and nubby silks are great contemporary style materials, whether it is for window treatments or throws and pillows. Rugs should also be made of natural materials.

In bedrooms, big fluffy comforters or duvets work well. If you must have a bed skirt, make sure it is box-pleated and not frilly in any way. You should avoid any cutesy patterns and definitely no tassels or other traditional embellishments. It is perfectly all right to allow furniture legs to show.

Nested, modular tables will fit into a contemporary scheme; they can be set out when needed and tucked away to keep everyday form simple.

Hand-carved or woven bowls and sculptures from exotic locales add artistic and exotic flair. An old fisherman's bait trap or net are perfect accent pieces, but don't be tempted to add sea shells.

To create clean lines in floral arrangements, look for two-three vases of the same style, but in different sizes. These can be grouped; just add dramatic stemmed blooms, but do not overload the vases.
A modular shelf in the bathroom can hold stacked and folded towels that are monochromatic with the scheme. The same goes for shower curtain hooks. If a bathroom is white, for instance, rugs could incorporate a range of grays. Brushed aluminum racks and accessories would be appropriate here. You could add one dramatic focal point by framing the bathroom mirror with a large black tile border. A custom-made mosaic tile countertop that incorporates the color scheme is another way to add art to the bathroom.

If you want to add a display piece or matching collection, look for a wall-mounted clear plexiglass shelf. If you find one in the right size, it could also be used for stacking hand towels and washcloths along with a matching ceramic tissue holder.

The contemporary design is all about limited focal color, interesting and bold forms and shapes, and creating an appreciation for simplicity. It can utilize the latest trends or classically modern styling to make your personal point.




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