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Modern and Contemporary Interior Design Style

Modern gray bedroom with a large bed adjacent to a wall with two large windows with blackout roller shades and a mahogany media console centered under the windows.

When many people think of modern design style, they imagine a room that is simplistic and bright with clean lines. That style is actually considered contemporary design. Contemporary decor focuses on what is current — so it can be 'modern' in appearance but does not refer to the Modern period of design. Modern interior design refers to an era of style from early to mid-20th century.

Modern Design

Think art deco to mid-century modern when thinking of modern decor. This was a sophisticated time in design with clean lines and minimal accessories. Mid-century modern uses patterns, organic materials, and functional comfort with architecture as the focal point of this uncomplicated design.

Less is more when it comes to the amount of furniture pieces in the room with bare floors and white walls keep things fresh. Accessories and furnishings make this style pop. Mid-century modern style gave birth to today's open-concept floorplan.

Woven grass-weave shades have tailored lines which work well for a modern window treatment. Roller shades with a bright pop are also complimentary to mid-century modern window styles.

Contemporary Design

Bare, basic, and bold — contemporary design takes some obvious style cues from modern design. You will see the same basic neutrals when it comes to wall color, and bold accessories can tie a space together. With contemporary decor, you will also see the opposite in color using a bold accent wall and neutral accessories to make a statement.

Basic structured pieces will be upholstered in neutral tones of natural fabrics with exposed legs. Furniture will be placed along a horizontal-vertical axis. Flooring will be bare and smooth. Geometric patterns are used in textiles — but only as accessories such as pillows, area rugs, and artwork. Contemporary design uses elements of stone, metal, chrome, steel, lacquer, and glass as design elements in hardware. You can balance the look of your sharp lines with a few curves that are reminiscent of geometric forms.

Since open concepts are paramount to this style, arrange furnishings in smaller groups to help divide a space so it doesn't seem "cold." Oversized art looks beautiful when framed in a contemporary space.

Modern design in contemporary window treatments will call for lots of windows letting natural light flood in the room. If privacy is important, horizontal sheer shades will keep that "barely there" look and can blend into your wall color. Roman shades in a neutral solid and with tailored lines will work very well for a contemporary window treatment design. If you're going for a minimalist design, consider roller shades as part of your contemporary design plan.