While contemporary means of the current times, contemporary interior design is an ever-changing design style that keeps updating with every decade overall. Many different interior design styles therefore identify themselves under the broad umbrella of contemporary design. Although marginally different from one another, this interior design style will exhibit at least a few of the signatures traits that define this style.
So what is the difference between contemporary and modern interior design? How are two different from each other? Although closely related, and seemingly similar or even same to most people, the major difference between the 2 styles is that the modern design style refers to the style that was trending in the recent past; while contemporary design style refers to a style that is currently trending or might gain some considerable visibility and recognition in the near future.
This article is an overview of the design style that is the contemporary interior design, and the overall features and elements that are a part of this design style.
Overall Look and Feel (Characteristic #1)
Clean lines and clearly defined edges that ooze a sense of richness through sheer simplicity and exhibit sophistication and class is the underlying trait of this interior design style. This style incorporates a modern design that is functional and lays importance on the overall utility while maintaining a minimalist look. A subtle look that shifts the focus towards the space rather than the material things is the defining character of this design style.
Planning (Characteristic #2)
Contemporary style more often than not follows an open floor planning. Spaces that flow together and merge while still retaining their independent character is known as open planning. A common example would be a living-dining-kitchen contained within a space undivided by the traditional floor to ceiling walls and possibly a door opening. Open planning gained popularity as it provided collaborative environments while ensuring individual spaces, and it still holds a place in the contemporary style of design that encourages decluttering to ensure minimalism.
Colors (Characteristic #3)
Following a color palette that is neutral, and focusing on the monochromatic scheme dominated by the blacks, whites and greys, contemporary style includes the use of bolder colors and shades that stand out against the neutrals. Beige and cream is also a part of the basic palette, although in a much lesser proportion. Bright reds, oranges and yellows are quite commonly found in contemporary design style making elements pop out to the eye.
Materials and Textures (Characteristic #4)
Contemporary interior design style uses a combination of materials that bring in a modern look to the space. Dominant with glass, stone, metal, the contemporary style mixes a robust look with some soft texture finish brought in with light wood. Using a smart juxtaposition, these materials can create an interesting fusion that combines industrial and natural looks. One of the commonly seen blends have metal pipes running across a raw concrete finish wall in quite a prominent corner of the space.
Elements (Characteristic #5)
Like any other design style, this interior design also has some signature elements that define it. Large windows that allow plenty of natural light to flow in making the space bright and airy, high ceilings that define the grandeur, bare structural finishes coming onto you declaring its enormity and much more are some classic features of a contemporary design that create some quiet drama within a space.
Shapes and Lines
Although clean, clear, simple and defined lines mark modern design styles, contemporary design style is characterized by some bold geometric lines which include angular and curvilinear lines. This noteworthy unique identity is brought in with the use of strong and crisp lines and strong edges running along the structure to reinforce on the scale on the mind of the viewer.
This interior design style is all about modern art. Abstract art that is appreciated and valued by a true connoisseur adorns the walls of a contemporary interior decor. Unique accent pieces that usually become conversation starters are also iconic to the contemporary design style. The shiny stainless steel is a common metal for such accent pieces that become highlights of the space.
High-end luxurious elegant lighting pieces that are usually fixed to the ceilings are a common feature of contemporary style. These light fittings are meant to be non-obstructive to the natural light flowing in and also of the view of the space. As such, track lights are the most popular for light fittings in contemporary design. These track lights are also meant to throw spotlight on any statement pieces of art in the space.
Since this style is all about creating drama, the plants in such design style also follow path. Commonly observed are comparatively large plants indoors that create a significant impact with a dramatic leaf structure or an overall identity juxtaposed in simple containers that create balance and hold the attention towards the plant. To achieve a clean and minimalist look, the soil in these containers is often covered with small rocks or pebbles that merge with the overall design style.
What is the difference between contemporary and modern interior design styles?
Modern interior design style is a typical style developed and evolved from early 1900s to the mid-1900s, while contemporary style refers to the design trends that could be more fluid and happening in the current times going upto the near future. While modern design style displays a fine balance between warm colors and neutrals, contemporary style has a bright elements only to make it a highlight feature in an otherwise stark monochromatic palette.
How can you add your personal touch to a contemporary interior design?
Every home should be a reflection of the owner and their personal style. With a pre-set guideline, you can add some personal touch to the space by choosing artwork that reflects your favorite colors and forms. To define the minimalistic use of clean lines, you may choose to display a few of your favorite reading collection. Yet another creative way to add a very exclusive touch to the space is to use unexpected elements that fuel your passion – may be a guitar, a skateboard – instead of artwork. Accent pieces can be souvenirs you have collected over time from your travels worldwide.
How can I put together a contemporary design space?
Once you are able to identify the defining characteristics of contemporary interior style, it is only a matter of putting them into practical execution, which is not very difficult. You can begin with decluttering your space to only holding onto essentials. Plan and place your furniture in a way that it flows seamlessly through the space. While doing so, try to merge 2 spaces into one that encourage social interactions. Then add the finishing touches with your light fixtures that throw spotlight on the intended pieces that add accent and character to the space.
Can I mix traditional with contemporary design?
Although challenging, mixing traditional style with contemporary is a fun way to experiment with contrasts. Both the design styles have unique features of their own, and achieving balance between the two is the key to a space that is distinctive to your personal style and taste. Take care not to go overboard making the space bizarre.