How To: Contemporary.

We are continuing our “How to” series.  This week: contemporary design.

Contemporary decorating and design is comfortable and welcoming without being cluttered and dark. It's a style that is equally appropriate for offices and stores, lofts and homes. There are a multitude of things that you can do that will result in a fresh and contemporary look.  But these five design elements are essential in creating a fresh, modern design. Take a look.

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1. Layout.  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.

2. Paint 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.

3. Flooring.  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.

4. Furniture.  In a contemporary home, furniture pieces should make a bold statement but at the same time be simple and uncluttered, without curves or decoration. Smooth, clean, geometric shapes are essential. Upholstered furniture often wears black, white, or other neutral tones in textured natural fibers found in wool, cotton, linen, silk, jute to add textural appeal. Pillows add a shot of color and texture in clean geometric shapes.

5. Window coverings and fabrics. To soften and warm up the space, add heavily textured fabrics in plain colors for window treatments, pillows, or rugs. Two-tone prints work well. Think about a zebra print pillow on a black leather chair, a large leopard-print pillow thrown on a plain floor, or bold, heavily textured striped rug to anchor solid colored, sleek furniture.

Follow these simple design elements and in no time at all you will have a stunning contemporary home.  Also, take a look at our Pinterest board of our favorite contemporary interiors.  Enjoy!