Contemporary style focuses on a sense of open space with sleek, minimalist lines and stylistic restraint. But that doesn’t mean it needs to be uncomfortable, cold or uninviting. With a little preplanning and attention to detail, you can create a contemporary living room that’s big on style, function and comfort – and yes, you can create an inviting modern living space that’s perfect for relaxing and entertaining without hiring a certified interior designer.
Your first step is to find an inspiration room that will guide you through the design process. Spend some time with interior design books and magazines to develop a file of rooms, colors, fabrics, furniture styles and accessories that appeal to you. Lay them all out on a table and look for similarities; this will help you define your goals, which will make it easier for you to choose colors and furnishings and end up with a room that will look as though a designer put it together for you. Organize your photos by room color and layout, furniture, accessories, flooring and window treatments and take this ‘guide map’ with you whenever you shop and make design choices about your room, while keeping the following key points in mind.
The Contemporary Color Palette
Contemporary rooms don’t have to be black and white with accents of red and chrome. Light tones of airy colors, such as light blue and green, will bring a soothing, spacious tone to the walls. Let a beautiful bank of windows inspire your choices and bring the colors of nature indoors by mimicking the expanse of sky, grass, foliage or mountains. If the room has warm wood tones in the floor or trim, use a color on the walls that enhances the wood. Because stained wood can make some colors seem more yellow or orange than they would appear against white trim, try out the color first on poster board and see how it looks against the wood at different times of the day.
Functional, Comfortable Furniture
Sectional couches in luscious shades of espresso or coffee are a natural choice, especially when offsetting natural wood. But bolder shades and patterned fabrics can be used as well, as long as patterns are simply graphic or geometric. You’ll often see side chairs done in a patterned fabric accenting a solid colored couch. Sturdy simple fabrics like micro suede and leather look sleek and are easy to maintain. Sectional couches let you add or remove components as needed so that you easily customize your space and choosing a unit with dense cushions will make it comfortable as well.
Add color accents by bringing in throw pillows, lamps and lamp shades, table top accessories and wall art that echoes the stylistic and color choices. Simple touches, like bamboo reeds displayed in a dramatic floor vase, can add interest to a corner.
Bring in an area rug to warm up a hardwood or tiled floor and anchor a seating area. Choose a geometric or color block rug in your accent colors, or use a nubby sisal rug to add some texture underfoot.
Accessorize with Stylish Wall Hangings
Metal wall art with strong geometrical lines will easily fit into a contemporary scheme. A bold contemporary wall mirror can be hung above a modern fireplace mantel to add space and reflect natural light.
Framed prints and contemporary paintings make a progressive statement above a large piece of furniture. Or choose a series of striking graphic floral prints and arrange them in a grid or gallery fashion along a wall. Contemporary wall art offers a wider range of stylistic options than ever before, so choose carefully and choose a piece that totally reflects your personality.