How to Achieve a Contemporary Style

Are you drawn toward abstract artwork? Does your heart thrill at the sight of a clean-lined sofa? Do you find yourself de-junking regularly? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you are a prime candidate for achieving a contemporary style in your home.

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What does “contemporary style” mean, exactly? In a nutshell, it is based on the concept of living in the present – not yesterday or tomorrow, but right now. It’s not a cold, harsh style, but it’s not overtly warm, either. Contemporary style embraces a “less is more” mentality, meaning that visual clutter is eschewed and elements of neutral, clean, smooth, and subtle are embraced.

If you love a contemporary look but aren’t sure how to achieve it, never fear! I’ve put together some tips for you to consider on your journey toward contemporary bliss.

Style Tip: Maintain Plenty of Open Space.

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Because contemporary style is largely structured, it is important to keep things from feeling rigid and enclosed by designing in lots of “free” area where your sight and body alike are free to exist. Open space. Airiness. This provides a subtle contrast to the other objects’ solid and direct lines that are inherent in a contemporary space.

Style Tip: Use a Sophisticated Neutral Palette…But Don’t be Afraid of Bold Color.

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The foundation of contemporary style certainly is established within the realm of neutrality (think: white, beige, tan, black). Tone-on-tone color schemes allow for emphasis to fall upon the shapes and lines of incorporated pieces, which is a major component of contemporary style.

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However, this doesn’t mean that color should be avoided. Nope! It is this careful pairing of neutral elements with rich, bold color that brings out an unforgettable contemporary vibe.

Style Tip: Embrace Natural Light.

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For the same reasons that open space should be incorporated into contemporary style, so should natural light to whatever extent possible. This provides a lightening, lifting effect on what is otherwise a solid-aesthetic style.

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And, really, I’d be hard pressed to find a home décor style in which natural light does not enhance. Keep window treatments simple (both in shape and textiles/resources used) or absent altogether so the light shines through freely.

Style Tip: Omit Clutter.

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Because you’re cutting down on the “extras” in your space, the burden of style is left squarely on the shoulders of your remaining pieces. Making every piece count is an important factor of successful contemporary style.

Style Tip: Focus on clean lines, shape, and form…

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Not to be confused with modern style, which is more stark and rigidly designed, contemporary style hinges on a clean-lined, smooth aesthetic. Horizontal and vertical directions are both important to consider when implementing a contemporary look into a space.

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Consider the lines of each piece, for sure – are they simple and direct? Then, as you go about incorporating individual pieces into the space, be sure to think in terms of whole planes. This will bring contemporary cohesion to your space.

Style Tip: …But incorporate plenty of softened and rounded lines.

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Of course, you can (and should) balance out the clean-lined look that is contemporary style with some softness, but you’ll want to choose those balancing elements carefully. Keep your anomalies within a geometric family (think: circles and waves instead of scrolls and curlicues) to maintain a cohesive contemporary look.

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