The Fundamentals of Contemporary Home Design

contemporary home design

May 21, 2021

With a focus on sleek lines, geometric shapes, interesting textures, and empty space, a contemporary design aesthetic is one where less is more, and anything added must be bold and purposeful. This design trend can be hard to pin down, since there have been several contemporary periods over history - Art Deco, mid-century modern, retro contemporary, urban contemporary, and casual contemporary. All give a nod to the style of the period as reflected in the colors and shapes of the design. No matter which era of contemporary you are drawn to, here are the fundamental elements that define this design genre.

Restrained Colors

Contemporary home décor focuses on a neutral palette with limited colors, and relies heavily on black and white to set the minimalist tone of the space. White walls become gallery-like by allowing art to pop against it, and black is popular for trims and accents. Contemporary designers are not afraid to use black as a neutral — choosing the color for cabinets or other large-scale elements — as long as the texture is interesting (more on that shortly).  If you opt for a colorful accent wall, try to make it as monochromatic as possible, and use neutral colors everywhere else in the room. 

Clean, Bold Shapes

Contemporary furnishings and fixtures are sleek and often linear, but simple curves are not out of place (think mid-century modern oval tables) . As long as the lines are clean, bold, and uninterrupted by decorations or embellishments, it can be considered contemporary. Form follows function, so there’s no need for fringes, skirts, tassels, or other purely decorative elements. 

Natural Materials & Interesting Textures

Because the colors and shapes are so minimal, contemporary style embraces interesting textures and materials. Natural materials - including wool, cotton, linen, silk, and jute — are a favorite for upholstered furniture and rugs. Countertops and floors tend to be made from sustainable materials with high-gloss finishes. Interesting textures of natural materials tend to always shine through.  

Negative Space

In contemporary design, less is always more. Embrace negative space by hanging only a few strategically placed works of art. Or, if you have many pieces you want to hang, cluster them so that you still have blank wall space. Opt for simple frames in high-gloss or matte black, or natural wood or metal finishes. Don’t go overboard with decorative items, like collections or tchotchkes. Keep your walls clean and bare as possible by not covering windows with curtains or draperies, and opting for shades or shutters instead.

Though contemporary home décor seems simple, it can take some effort to pull off. The look must be retrained and balanced, with every element contributing to the design and nothing taking away. Design is often perfected in the details, and that’s especially true for a contemporary home.

If you are interested in learning about new homes in South Carolina, and how the talented design team at Cothran Homes can help you achieve the contemporary home of your dreams, call us at 864-318-9349 or schedule a personal tour today.

Have Questions?

The Bright and Shiny Sales Event! on select move-in ready homes, with Buyers Rebates!

Schedule Yours Today