Design October 10, 2022

Contemporary Interior Design

Although there are certain fundamental principles to contemporary design, it is constantly evolving. While other interior design styles are often rooted in a specific period, contemporary design is set in the present. What’s popular now is what’s popular in contemporary design. Its ability to remain timeless is what gives contemporary design its greatest quality—it never goes out of style. Learn a bit more about contemporary design to find ways to incorporate it into your home.

What is contemporary interior design?

Contemporary style is characterized by clean lines, state-of-the-art materials, and a preference for openness over ornamentation. These tenets go hand in hand with the philosophies of modernism and minimalism, but contemporary design simply dips its toes in these other design styles without relying on them too heavily.

The aesthetic of modern construction lends itself well to contemporary design. Industrial spaces and open rooms with high ceilings and large windows help to deliver a magazine-quality contemporary look. But even if your home isn’t tailor-made for contemporary design, you can still curate it.


An open living room and kitchen area characterized by a contemporary interior design style. In the forefront of the photo sits a beige couch with grey and brown pillows. The coffee table is wood with black metal legs over a white and beige couch. The living room is separated from the kitchen in the background by large square framed windows. On the other side you can see white cabinets and a dark grey cement tile back splash and wood table and chairs.

Image Source: Getty Images – Image Credit: vicnt


Contemporary Design in Your Home

The simplest way to incorporate contemporary design philosophy into your home is to let the natural architectural elements show. Let your exposed wooden beams and brick walls shine, decluttering the spaces around them to make them the focal point. This can make your spaces feel empty at first but remember; contemporary design is all about opening things up to effectively apply decorative details.

Choose modern furniture with clean lines and solid-colored fabrics. In the kitchen and bathroom, chrome and metallic surfaces will reinforce a contemporary aesthetic. When decorating, start with a neutral foundation (white, grey, and black) and add bold accent colors on top. The timeless appeal of a hardwood floor makes it a fitting choice for achieving contemporary style, while textured textiles in natural fabrics will help to liven up your spaces.

Stone, metal, and glass mix well in contemporary design, often combined in the selection of living room sets, decorative centerpieces, and kitchen/bathroom design. Large pieces of art, accent walls, and bold decorations help to broaden the color palette of contemporary spaces. You are free to choose bold, impactful hues from across the color spectrum in your decoration.


A living room area characterized by a neutral-colored contemporary interior design style. White walls host large neutral art in black frames. An off-white sectional couch with pewter heathered pillows and a grey blanket sit in the corner, with 2 wood and white marble round coffee tables. On the left is an angular seat with matching wood frame and cream-colored cushions. Above is a metal and dark glass light fixture. Open concept is implied with a black metal table in the back on the left against the wall, with metal lamps, glass reed infuser, and metal candle holders.

Image Source: Getty Images – Image Credit: AleksandraZlatkovic


The Differences Between Contemporary and Modern Design

Whereas contemporary design is centered on what is popular during the present, modern design is rooted in a specific time period. Modern design dates back to at least the early twentieth century, which evolved into mid-century modern during the 1950s.

Modern design typically has earthier colors and a general preference for wood, whereas saturated colors and metals/glass are more at home in contemporary design. Choosing modern design means you’re choosing to make decorative variations on a theme, whereas the theme of contemporary design is always changing, so you never know where it might lead.