When people hear about contemporary design, they often picture cold and minimalistic interiors. However, in today’s homes, contemporary interiors are anything but cold. Open and bright spaces can feel very warm and inviting when optimised with neutral colours and clean, sleek furniture lines.
In a design sense, contemporary is the opposite of traditional. While the traditional design is all about elegance and romance, the contemporary one has a subtle urban appeal. Oftentimes, it’s often confused with modern. Although they definitely share similar characteristics like clean-lined minimalism and open space preferences, there’s a difference between them. Modern design refers to a design era that has passed, such as the mid-century 1950s and 1960s. Contemporary design is about the now and the future.
Being two different styles doesn’t prevent contemporary and modern designs from looking great when mixed and matched. In fact, you can spice up any modern space using contemporary furniture pieces. How can you do that? By implementing several simple design tricks. To do that, however, you should know contemporary design basics. Here are some key features to have in mind.
What Are the Characteristics of Contemporary Furniture?
Modern contemporary furniture is designed with a specific spirit and philosophy. The simplistic design and modern materials value the function over the look. Furniture pieces should express the spirit of modern times and address the needs of modern men at the same time.
The design of contemporary furnishings is never fussy or overwhelming. This is vital when it comes to creating a living space with open character. There’s no room for the intricate detail and carving of traditional furniture pieces. Both vertical and horizontal lines should be strong and crisp, no matter if they’re hard-edged or gently curved.
The couches, chairs and sofas have square edges. They’re slightly raised from the floor, with no skirting. The legs of the sofas and those of the ottomans and credenzas are often exposed, whatever the material. The main design focus is on comfort, with a minimalistic visual appeal.
Minimalistic and edged doesn’t have to mean boring and monotonous. Contemporary designers gravitate towards mixing and matching different textures to create beautifully balanced home openness and airiness. This means that the simplicity of both natural and state of the art materials like stone, wood, metal and glass is often accompanied by upholstered pieces in different textures. Leather or fabric, upholstery is a must for the contemporary home.
The contemporary design colour palette is neutral. Besides black and white, it includes calming whites, taupes and soft greys. When a colour is added, it’s often one with a pure, saturated tone like true red, indigo or orange. The use of an additional colour can be vital for creating a dynamic atmosphere. Bold, vibrant colours are also used to punctuate the neutral tone for a touch of freshness.
Contemporary Furniture Styling Ideas
The Importance of Choosing Versatile Pieces
If you think carefully about the key elements of contemporary design, you’ll see the bigger picture and how everything is connected. For example, you can’t have an open and airy space if you stack too much furniture that you won’t even use. That’s why function comes over the form, and selecting versatile multi-functional furniture pieces for your space is inevitable. This is especially true for smaller living spaces.
How to do this? These are some ideas for including versatile furnishings in your space.
- Built-in storage. When you choose furniture pieces with built-in storage, you manage to cut on bulky storage units that take too much space. You can use the extra free space for something else or you can leave it open. A built-in storage piece can be either an ottoman or a coffee table. There are even sofas with built-in storage space under the seating area. Clever.
- Loveseat or chair instead of a huge sofa. Instead of buying a huge sofa that will take so much space, you can buy 1 or 2 loveseats or chairs, depending on the size of your room. Both options are great sofa alternatives, and both are smaller and separate from each other. This means you can move them easily around when you get tired of your current furniture arrangement and create a new one for a quick space remodel. Wing chairs are a great way for creating a multi-sectional space for more privacy when needed.
- Natural materials and neutral colours. This is a major factor for versatility. Furniture pieces from natural materials in neutral tones can blend well into any home design. Even if you decide on changing style and overall look, you can easily do it if you have a neutral base you can build on.
- Stackable furniture. You want a simple couch. You also want a bigger lounge area, but you’re worried about making your space too crowded? We’ve got you. The solution for your and anyone’s problem is using stackable furniture pieces. Think 2 or 3-seat sofa along with an ottoman in the same style cushion top. You can use the ottoman as a coffee table or a separate seating space when needed. Whenever you need a lounge space, just put them together, and there you go.
If contemporary is all about the now and the future, it should include rattan furniture pieces, like rattan hanging shelves, chairs and bedhead. Rattan furniture is lightweight, sturdy, and easy to assemble, and it can withstand the test of time. It’s a great way to revamp any space and mix and match contemporary style with boho, coastal and country without sacrificing the modern.
Introduce a Lovely Bedhead
You can have a clean line, comfortable bed in your bedroom and at the same time try to make it more inviting and cosier with many pillows. This can result in a cluttered sleeping area that will compromise the contemporary look. In that case, the solution for sleeker lines, not compromising comfort, can be as easy as introducing a lovely bedhead. It can be upholstered, wooden or rattan.