If you've been shopping for a home, or considering a new, custom build, you've likely heard the term "Contemporary" over and over again. There is a misconception that contemporary interiors can come across as cold and minimalist, but the modern look we're seeing in recent years maintain comfort and coziness without succumbing to clutter.
The basic rules of the contemporary style include keeping the look fundamentally simple. Clean lines and open space help define the look.
Interiors are typically designed in a neutral palette, with black, white and gray being accented with sparing pops of color. Adding color with your accessories is easy to do with a neutral backdrop.
The clean lines that are found in the modern look can be achieved in architectural details, geometric shapes, and sculpture and art. In the contemporary style, however, empty space is just as important as the space that you fill with accessories and art.
Embrace the space you're designing by highlighting its structural elements: air ducts, brick, exposed pipes, etc. The industrial feel of these elements actually helps add to the minimalist feel. Glass, metal, and stone are popular in the contemporary look, but you can soften all of these elements with the textures you use in window treatments and floor coverings.
Highlight clean lines, geometric shapes, neutral tones and natural fibers. Raw materials like wool, cotton, wood, and silk have textural appeal, but maintain the simplistic ideal by appearing in their original state. Leave extra cushions and blankets, tchotchkes and other items off of your surfaces when possible. A few pillows are a great way to add a bit of color, but too many will clutter and complicate your look.
If you make sure that each piece in your decor has a purpose and function, you won't be far from perfecting the modern look. Less is more, so use what you need and don't let little extras spoil the look. Your new buzz words are basic, bold, functional, and structural.