Let me start this post by saying when it comes to having a style, you do, and it’s nice to know you are in company of others who appreciate the same things. Do you need to be a slave to that style – heck no. Let’s dig in.

If you like what you see in the retail stores and are largely shaped by what you see there, love simple pleasing unfussy spaces, this is for you.

Often confused with modernism, contemporary style is largely shaped by what is in the stores and in the media more recently than in mid-century modernism and feature a more current or timeless look. Contemporary is, by definition, what’s happening in design at this very moment in time, and as such is harder to pin down. Modern design, delineated by the mid-century modern era from the 1950s and 1960s, also includes Art Deco design as it started to evolve from the 1920s or anything from then to the vintage look of the 1970s can also be considered modern. Contemporary style included a range of styles from the second half of the 20th century. Simply put, Modern design refers to a specific era that has passed, while Contemporary design is “of the now”.

Here’s how to get it right!

Contemporary style features furniture pieces with softened rounded lines and moves away from the stark clean edges prominent in modern design. Interiors contain largely neutral elements and hits of bold color, and they focus on the basics of line, shape and form.

If you like this style, you are drawn to a more minimalist approach, focusing on creating a space that is uncluttered yet comfortable and welcoming.


Feature tone-on-tone color palettes relying heavily on neutrals: earthy hues, taupe, cream and pure white. Pops of color can be used on a single feature wall, in artwork, or in a feature rug. Furniture tends to provide a quiet neutral backdrop to the art or rug.


Pick pieces that feature smooth surfaces and clean lines – without any carving or adornment.

Choose silhouettes that are slim without being dainty. Furniture is typically in light-colored woods like birch ash or maple and birch.

Metals feature strongly in this look – think of coffee tables and end tables in stainless steel, or chrome with clear or frosted glass or stone tops.


Use leather, wool, linen, and cotton – natural fabrics and fibres (or their look-alikes) for their textural aspect and their inherent neutral hues. Bold color or geometric pattern can be introduced into the design for accents with pillows, a rug or a throw.


The lighting design is used to provide a sculptural accent in a contemporary interior. Table and floor lamps have geometric straight lines or curves and sleek metallic finishes; color might be introduced with a special shade.

Use recessed or track lighting to draw attention to featured art and accessories.

Here are a few spaces that show contemporary styling. Notice that they don’t look like they reflect any time but the present.

Bedroom with grid framed mirror in dark wood
living room with white sectional and modern furniture
living room with modern furniture

If you’re still not sure whether this is your style, take our quiz!

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