The Ultimate Guide To Urban Modern Decor

Cities are typically forward-looking places that focus on the future while preserving the heritage of the past. The same is true for the urban modern style, which features a blend of unique influences. This decorative trend includes vintage elements of yesteryear in contemporary colors combined with modern and industrial-inspired forms. This style is for people who want to infuse their homes with a metropolitan vibe without sacrificing comfort or elegance.

According to Design Decor Decoded, the urban modern style is a close cousin of the industrial style and urban decor. It typically features minimalist decor with cosmopolitan, mid-century, and contemporary touches. Materials like glass, concrete, and metal are also characteristic of the style. Since city living spaces are often compact, urban modern rooms are usually multi-purpose and have furniture with multiple functions, like sofa beds or under-bed storage. To make this style distinct from its relatives, incorporate an urban twist. Find the prints, materials, and soft elements you desire and introduce them into your home for the ultimate urban modern style.

Soften the aesthetic with curved edges

A distinct feature of urban modern decor is its soft texture. According to Décor Aid, this industrial style has a soft side that makes it welcoming and inviting. How do you add softness to your decor? Well, cozy blankets, throws, and rugs, to start. However, you can also approach it differently and add softness to the home through the shape of your furniture.

Curved sofas are the round structural furnishing you want to add to your urban dwelling. Crate & Barrel offers some perfect examples of this furniture type. The curved edges create dramatic movement in the space without appearing harsh. A sofa with tapered legs will add a mid-century modern aesthetic to your home. The edges are smooth, and the lines are not symmetrical. Consider other soft arrangements like a pair of barrel chairs, round poufs, and ottomans. These chic seating solutions make socializing a breeze if you have guests over and are comfortable for lounging in style.

Play with scale and proportion

Make it a priority to source decor for your walls that adds visual interest and dimension. An urban oasis should catch one's eye immediately upon entering. Elements that test the ordinary proportions will capture visual attention, just like how city buildings stagger across a skyline view. Decorative pieces that are larger than their average counterparts instantly elevate the design. Consider adding bold sculptural features such as lamps and vases.

You can also play with scale and proportions through patterns and accessories. Display blankets, curtains, and rugs on the walls or floors in your home to establish dimension. If you want to introduce an element of striking proportion, designer Tricia Guild tells Homes & Gardens that a large floral design is "grandeur at its best and draws the eye." Curtain panels or an area rug with floral print could be all the art you need in your urban design.

Introduce textural patterns

Aim to unite the urban look in your home and give static areas interest by adding a texture into your space. Natural wood walls, velvet couches, and fluffy pillows will make a space come alive. However, keep in mind that filling a room with too much of the same texture will create an imbalance. 

A great tip for adding dimension to any room without a complete renovation is wallpaper. There are many innovative ways to use wallpaper in the home. According to WallsNeedLove, urban decor wallpaper radiates warmth, playfulness, and a cosmopolitan style. Add wallpaper with a big city feel, like classic subway tiles, brick, stone, or wood. You can also go for a bright pop of color or prints with skyscrapers or city landmarks to add the desired metropolitan feel without any complicated renovation required. It's ideal for the area behind a fireplace or for creating a feature wall.

Furnish the room with contemporary pieces

If you're unsure how to furnish your home in the urban-modern style, look to contemporary pieces for inspiration. Contemporary styles look chic and modern, making them ideal for an urban-modern home. Consider shopping for uniquely shaped, one-of-a-kind stools, coffee tables, or accent chairs to complete a living room or bedroom. Furniture crafted from velvet, leather, and suede are desirable fabric options.

According to Residence Style, you can decorate with contemporary furniture in any room using essential pieces like an ottoman or accent chair. Contemporary furnishings are versatile and combines effortlessly with other eras, making them worth the initial investment. The structure and shape of these furnishings add much-needed movement to a space. Whether you make it a statement piece in the center of the room or fill an empty corner, the room will benefit from the form and material. Abstract shapes help urban designs thrive.

Refresh the space with botanicals

Awaken the senses and refresh your vibe by adding lush houseplants to your home. Cosmopolitan living can be dark and edgy, so plants will help soften things. Introduce the ultimate relaxing vibes in your home by adding vivid greenery.

Choosing the right plants for each space is essential as not all of them will blossom under the same conditions. Different plants require different amounts of sunlight, soil, and water. If you ensure your plants have a good environment and receive proper maintenance, your urban jungle will flourish. According to Extra Space Storage, monsteras, cacti, snake plants, and hanging plants are some common houseplants to add to your oasis because they are relatively low-maintenance. Note the room's lighting conditions will help determine the perfect plant for your style. Combine several varieties of plant species with similar care in the same room to create a cozy atmosphere.

Create elements of continuity

Continuity helps tie a living space together and make it feel like a coherent whole. According to Hoskins Interior Design, you can create continuity by using tones and shapes that reference one another without feeling redundant. For example, if blood orange is your favorite color, you can reference it in each room to create continuity without letting it overwhelm your home. Use small accessories like pillows, artwork, and curtains.

To bring out continuity in your space, find accent pieces, colors, and fixtures that complement each other. If you have a particular shape or geometric pattern on the curtains or accent rugs, incorporate lights or artwork with the same forms and figures in a different part of the room. A circular design on fabric will pair well with cylindrical shapes and rounded elements like bowls, canisters, or spheres. However, be wary of going too matchy-matchy, as anything overdone can feel chaotic. Find balance in continuity and inject some contrast throughout the space to keep things interesting.

Make statement moments with color

When you visit a city, there are moments you will never forget. Whether it's the feeling of looking up at a skyscraper, the twinkling lights, or the colorful hustle and bustle, you should strive to echo these city moments in your home's decor. These statement moments are pivotal in the urban-modern style. Some ways to achieve this is by finding everyday items like sofas and tables in unique colors.

You can create a statement in your living room by choosing a sofa in a muted, neutralized shade. Furniture with soft color stands out against an otherwise neutral palette. According to Houzz, neutralized shades feature some of their complementary color. For example, neutralized blue colors will include some orange. These shades appear to have different underlying hues in different lighting, making them not one specific color. Imagine the color teal, as this shade is not quite blue or green but a bit of both. This flexible color allows you to complement your design and update it at your leisure.

Expose the elements

When you picture a city landscape, what do you see? Large brick buildings, metal railings, towering glass windows, geometric shapes, and concrete forms are common sights. These are the features to incorporate into your urban modern decor. Elements such as brick, stone, wood, marble, iron, and metal make a room feel like a metropolitan oasis.

Typically, these materials are for staircases, ceilings, and walls in a home. You can furnish their home with metal furniture, marble-topped tables, and brick accent walls. For an unexpected twist, turn an ordinary structure into decoration. According to The Spruce, you can incorporate decorative ironwork by turning a piece of iron fence or gate into art or a headboard for your bed. This look incorporates exposed elements without a massive overhaul or expensive renovation project. Finding creative ways to bring industrial materials into your home will make the decor feel more personal and authentic.

Adopt a muted color palette

Urban modern decor is perfect for city dwellers who want a bit of the concrete jungle in their living space. However, this does not necessarily mean you want the noise that comes with the city — bright lights, colors, and loud sounds. Instead, tone it down. When choosing paint colors for an urban-modern scheme, consider dulling the sensations for a more serene city feel.

In an urban style, the colors are vibrant but natural. Instead of bright fire-engine reds, imagine deep, crimson red tones. You can use any color in your space, as long as you mute it. You want to dull the vibrancy but keep the pigmentation. As Nicole Pivirotto, a color specialist and design director, told Architectural Digest, "Muted tones represented a turn back to nature and a rejection of the synthetics from the 1950s and '60s. These hues are deeply comforting." Earthy colors like browns, shimmery golds, olive greens, burnt oranges, dark reds, grays, greiges, and taupes are popular in the urban style. Create comfort in your home by filling it with a down-to-earth color palette.

Decorate with contemporary light fixtures

An often-overlooked decor essential is light fixtures. These diverse structures have unique shapes, colors, and curves that can change the look and feel of a room with a flick of a switch. For a twist on your urban-modern decor, swap out the light fixtures in your space. As interior designer Kelly Hoppen told Homes & Gardens, "Every room needs a bit of 'wow', and that applies to lighting as well as that star piece of furniture or artwork."

When choosing a light for your design scheme, pinpoint the location. Is the fixture on the ceiling, in the corner of a room, or resting on a table? Once you know the placement, focus on choosing the right style. The urban-modern look consists of simple lines, elegant structures, and creative charm. Choose contemporary pieces like sphere glass pendant lights, a metallic table lamp, or a tripod floor lamp. Decorate with a light that illuminates the space even when turned off.

Keep accessories to a minimum

Decorating in the urban modern style is about simplicity. The furnishings you choose should be interesting enough to stand alone without small decor pieces. Furnishings such as TV stands, sofa or entryway tables, and wall shelving should be minimally accessorized, only showcasing necessary items. Keep decorative elements like vases, figurines, sculptures, and knick-knacks to a minimum. According to SFGate, the shelves and tables don't have to remain bare, but you should mix up the accessories seasonally.

Limited is the key word as it implies that you are decorating with accents, just not overzealously. When sourcing pieces for your contemporary urban oasis, try to match the colors, materials, and shapes. Display these finds in staggering height arrangements for visual interest, such as three candlesticks in descending order or a grouping of decorative spheres in a bowl. Mimic these shapes in other elements around the rooms, such as bowls and picture frames. This tip will help tie the look together by presenting a cohesive design.

Blend in vintage pieces

Whether you have some furniture to upcycle in your home or are searching for the perfect pieces for your space, vintage finds are an essential addition. A blend of vintage and contemporary furniture will give your home an eclectic style. This mixture of periods prevents an area from feeling put together and over-coordinated. You want to have a variety of furniture styles in the same space for an authentic, lived-in look.

The mix of furnishings gives the space an edgy and sophisticated appeal. Sustainability is a driving force behind decorating with vintage furniture in a home and is expected to grow in popularity over the next several years, according to Vogue. As CEO Alpay Koralturk shared, "Supply chain issues have increased demand for upholstered items such as sofas and accent chairs." These delays have made repurposing furniture a trend, as brand new items often come with lengthy shipping times. Accumulating vintage pieces and sprinkling them throughout your home will make the space feel like it has a story to tell.

Layer the floor with natural fibers

The urban design style often has structured, dimensional, and hard elements. To balance the rigid forms, incorporate rugs crafted of natural fibers. As per Ballard Designs, the organic features of materials like sisal and jute introduce a much-needed natural foundation into a home. Jute is soft underfoot, especially when mixed with chenille. However, since they are not known for their durability, it's best to place them in low-traffic rooms like the dining area. Materials such as seagrass, chevron, and wool are other available styles. These rug materials are often affordable and eco-friendly, making them the go-to floor decor.

This neutral decoration is the perfect bottom layer for your urban look. The natural material in these rugs can complement any sofa, accent chair, or pouf. They also elevate the furnishings on top of them by making a statement item pop. The warm tones in these natural rugs bring a sense of comfort and completion to an urban-inspired room.

Add metal or iron wall art

When looking for ways to fill up the walls in your house, consider hanging up some unique art. Not the typical canvas or store-bought framed pieces, but rather something with a bit more personality. Consider festooning the walls with a distressed iron floral swirl, metal scroll, or more artsy creation. Even simpler works of art, such as a wrought iron or metal wall clock, as seen at Kirkland's Home, will bring sophistication to your home's aesthetic.

Decorating with a metal or iron fixture adds an unexpected level of dimension and texture to your space. These items are not flat like most wall ornaments. You can combine these metal pieces with other materials such as mirrors to raise the beauty and functionality of the art. Turn any wall in your home into a gallery-inspired space with metal artwork and complete the urban oasis inside your walls.