Contemporary decor is everywhere, yet it can be difficult to define. While often used interchangeably with “modern,” the term contemporary refers to a specific design style using specific elements. Contemporary style is simple, sophisticated and bold without being busy or overly dark. To help further define the term and inspire some of your contemporary interior design ideas, here is a basic guide to the key elements of contemporary decor:
Colors used in contemporary interior design
The main colors used in contemporary interiors are black, white and neutrals. Black outlines and black accent pieces are commonly used against a neutral backdrop. Bright colors are used sparingly, and typically with wall art or decorative accessories, to create a balance between sleek neutrals and bolder hues.
Contemporary style furniture
Contemporary furniture is both bold and simple. Basic geometric shapes and clean lines are more common than curves and embellishment. While contemporary style furniture is typically black, white or neutral-colored, it can be used as a way to add a pop of color to an otherwise neutral room. Less is more, so avoid furnishings with fringe, carved details or floral print.
Track lighting and other forms of recessed lighting are incredibly popular in contemporary interiors. This type of lighting will illuminate a space to create ambient light, rather than focus on a particular feature or area of the room. Accent and task lighting are usually minimal, but highly structural and bold fixtures like chandeliers work well in contemporary style.
Space rather than objects
While contemporary design isn’t strictly minimalist, there is a special focus on the spaces between objects. For example, the wall above or between two pieces of furniture should look deliberate rather than “empty.” Contemporary design style uses space to define and highlight each piece and avoid clutter while remaining comfortable.