Understanding Contemporary Style

Posted on: August 29th, 2017

Characterized by its natural look and strong focus on line and form, contemporary style transforms a room into a relaxed, casual space with a decidedly modern sophistication. However, it can be a little hard to define, especially when compared to other popular and current décor schemes. Read on for more information on what contemporary design really is, complete with décor ideas you can use to bring this style to your own home.

A Step Away from Tradition

In essence, contemporary style is a reversal of what was traditionally considered good interior design. Traditional décor calls for complex ornamentation, abundant decorations, and rich, intricate patterns. For example, picture a luxurious old-fashioned parlor. You’re probably envisioning exotic fabrics, heavy curtains, ornate rugs, beautifully-trimmed millwork and molding, and shelves bursting with books and interesting decorations. By favoring simplicity and cleanliness over ostentatious extravagance, contemporary style rebels against these conventions.

Contemporary Versus Modern Style

Modern and contemporary décor styles are easily confused. Both are more recent aesthetics with a clean look and an emphasis on line and shape. However, “modern” is a defined style, developed between the 1920s and 1950s, that has been crystalized into a set of rules. “Contemporary” simply refers to the look of the current moment and can evolve over time. While today’s conception of contemporary style borrows heavily from modern style, contemporary design can also incorporate elements from other eras.

How to Design a Contemporary Room

If you’d like to create your own contemporary room, consider décor ideas that place a strong focus on line and form. Opt for crisp, sleek furniture without ornamentation or complex shapes. Strong geometric elements are key. Pay attention to how the angles and planes of your furnishings come together, and then balance all the sharp corners with a few soft, simple shapes like circles and waves.

Here are some other tips for creating your own contemporary room:

  • Contemporary décor is a great choice for spacious rooms with lots of natural light.
  • Go for a neutral color palette featuring white, taupe, beige, and other earth tones.
  • Use natural materials such as wood, silk, wool, and linen.
  • Opt for solids or simple patterns over intricate designs.
  • Leave lots of uncluttered space in your room.


Keep in mind that contemporary style is ever-changing. While it follows these basic rules, it also allows the flexibility to take eclectic pieces from other décor styles. As a versatile, living aesthetic, contemporary design can be personalized to your tastes without losing its character.


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