A Complete Guide To Contemporary Interior Design

Furniture, lights, colors, décor, even textures can play a role in determining your home aesthetic. From the kitchen to the bathroom, there are so many ways to make a house a home and it all starts with you and the style you choose. A widely liked style is one called contemporary and it can be created in lots of different ways. If you recognize yourself in the phrase "Less is more," this style might be for you!

For starters, what does contemporary mean? The word seems broad and if not truly explained can feel too large to describe a single style with. Contemporary simply means to live, happen, or belong in the present time. This means that contemporary style is ever-evolving and, according to The Spruce, largely tied to trends as opposed to linked to a period in time. In fact, modern is often confused with contemporary as the latter does include elements from modernist styles. However, just like contemporary refers to the present, modern refers to a period that has already passed.

So although a contemporary style home can mean different things at different times, some aspects have become non-negotiable. Words like subtle, simple, geometrical, neutral, serene, and warm all evoke what contemporary style is. As opposed to modern or industrial styles where minimalist is often synonymous with cold and empty, contemporary minimalism is closer to simplicity and serenity. If you're still lost, no worries, we'll take it step by step to create the perfect contemporary interior design.


There is no way around it, furniture is absolutely an essential part of creating a certain aesthetic. The main thing to remember when picking out contemporary style furniture is that this style needs to be timeless and yet very of the moment, which means that everything you choose needs to be simple and classy in order to never feel dated.

Contemporary style furniture is often very clean with no intricate details of any sort, according to The Spruce. However, contemporary pieces do catch the eye and are often conversation starters, like a nice big angle velour couch, for example. A nice touch would be to add details such as a throw blanket or an original vase in order to make it feel cozier than a modern design. Sleek lines and hard or slightly curved edges are also key. Think rectangle or square mirrors and frames, long oval tables, and closed storage because having a clutter-less space is essential.


It's hard to go wrong in terms of colors as the contemporary aesthetic doesn't require you to go too crazy. Your go-to is going to be a neutral palette, from the walls to the furniture. This will make your space look clean and effortlessly elegant. Having neutrals such as beige, gray, black, or white cover the big areas of your home will also make it easier to bring in pops of color, as noted by Décor Aid.

As mentioned, contemporary style needs to be homey, and integrating some color will do that and show personality at the same time. Colors can be found in simple things like your coffee table books, artwork, or small household objects. Although staying close to earthy tones is a must to achieve the clean look of a contemporary home, this style also allows you to incorporate vibrant colors. This can be risky and quickly tacky if not done correctly, so to avoid any mishaps, do keep in mind that less is more with bold colors. Balance is key and these bright colors should remain accents to a very neutral and simple overall look.


If you're having a hard time getting away from the cold feel of a minimalist home, textures are the perfect thing to utilize. You can play around with wall textures, subtle patterns, and geometric prints, as well as materials like wood, marble, and velvet. Textures and materials are a great way to add warmth to any room.

A living room, for example, can feel quite big and empty, but adding velvet throw pillows, a thick wool lounge chair, or a cotton shag rug can instantly transform your space to make it a lot more comfortable and cozy while still staying simple. In the kitchen, think wood cabinets, linen cushions, or subtle backsplashes (subtle being a keyword here). For finishes, go for sleek or slightly shiny, according to Homes & Gardens; stainless steel or marble are great options. Speaking of marble, it can also be utilized in the bathroom as well as other natural materials like wood and stone that are ideal to create a warm environment.


Above all else, lighting in a contemporary interior should be an artistic statement and should be placed strategically to draw attention to certain areas of your home, according to Lines Mag. You're going to want to go for individual lighting and unique pieces in order to catch the eye and add some zest to your décor. You're looking to create classic elegance through lampshades that are interesting but not pretentious. In terms of bulbs, go for a warm white (2,500K to 3,500K) as opposed to a cool white (5,000K) to achieve a warm, cozy interior. This applies specifically to living and dining rooms as you can go for cooler tones in kitchens and bathrooms, which are areas that need bright lighting.

If you are blessed enough to have big windows, that is great news for your contemporary interior goal. Having natural light allows a contrast with the warm bulbs inside, making your space feel more elevated. This is why contemporary style largely utilizes natural lighting, so make sure to keep that space open and go for subtle window treatments like white, floor-to-ceiling curtains or wooden shades.

Wall décor

You can have lots of fun at this step of the process! This is the part where you can let your personality shine through art in particular. Since your walls are normally all neutral colors, your art can be what brings in some color. We're hoping that if contemporary style interior design has caught your eye, contemporary art is also something that tickles your fancy and if so, you can pick your favorite pieces to put up. However, there still are some rules. For starters, remember that a contemporary home is synonymous with no clutter so keep it light. The Spruce recommends you don't overcrowd your walls with small pieces and go for one big statement piece instead.

If you want to put up shelving you can but once again, not too much, and remember to keep it sleek, neutral, and geometrical. It's also important to not have too much clutter on your shelves at it will create an unclean look; it will also most likely make your space seem smaller, which is the opposite of what you're trying to do with a contemporary design.


Flooring is a very important aspect of any aesthetic and can help create the look you're going for. In contemporary homes, wooden floors are a good option and very popular amongst designers, says Interiio. Wood also pairs well with a lot of different furniture and décor. To go a bit more on the industrial side, concrete floors can work as well. They will make a space feel slightly refined and can specifically make a kitchen feel very sleek.

In terms of décor, keep it simple with a nice neutral rug in the living room or sleek kitchen mats. Bedrooms could be a good place to try out something a little funkier if that's what you want, but try to keep it neutral with only hints of color. In the bathroom, if you've gone for a dark concrete floor, which is most likely your best bet, you can create contrast with light beige or white bath mats and rugs.