15 Ways to Modernize Your Home's Style

Carefully edited and clutter free, modern design embraces straight lines, streamlined furniture and a clean, neutral palette. Throw the traditional handbook out the window and step into these minimalist rooms that define simplicity. 

By: Chelsey Bowen
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The Antidote to Overdone

Modern design is the antithesis of traditional design, relying on clean lines, a simple neutral color palette and pare-it-down decorating. This artfully designed living space has an open floor plan that combines the kitchen, dining room and living room. The two-story fireplace provides a focal point that contrasts dramatically against the bright white walls of the space.

Pay Attention to Shape

Strong shapes, like squares and rectangles, are the hallmark of modern design. Here, a bright white palette allows the shape of the floating sink to stand out. The simple white scheme paired with a floor-to-ceiling backlit mirror opens up the small space and creates a serene environment.  

Styled in Simplicity

Minimalism and modernism go hand in hand. In this sleek bedroom, bleached hardwood floors combine with low, neutral furniture and clean white walls to create a Spartan space. An Eames rocker, designed by Charles and Ray Eames in 1948 for a competition at the Museum of Modern Art, is a classic piece of mid-century modern furniture and fits in perfectly with the streamlined design. 

High Contrast, High Style

A restrained palette and repeated materials are used to create this urban black-and-white kitchen. The sleek black island is clad in a bright white waterfall countertop. A lower floating counter is paired with Louis Ghost chairs, designed by Philippe Starck in 2002, that artfully blend Baroque and innovative modern design. Long glossy white cabinets add height and lightness to the room. 

From: Dresner Design

Keeping It Classic

Though very different from traditional style, modern design can be just as timeless. Since it relies on straight lines, a neutral palette and iconic pieces, like the Eames dining chairs, modern style isn't just a flash in the pan. It stays true to its roots, unlike contemporary design, which changes with the times.   

Fashionable Finishes

Glass and stainless steel are must-have materials when designing with a modern aesthetic. This sleek kitchen pairs matte black cabinets with crisp white countertops. A few drawers have simple pulls for functionality, but most of the cabinets feature clean fronts. Plenty of available storage ensures the countertops can stay clear of any clutter. 

Purposeful Design

If simplicity is your wheelhouse, then modern design is for you. This style asks you to make deliberate choices, looking for pieces that really stand on their own, while still making a major impact. For instance, this refined hallway pairs a streamlined table with an eye-catching black-and-white print. Hits of vibrant color are added through a piece of coral and an elegant arrangement. 

Seamless Integration

No unnecessary detailing need apply when it comes to modern design. Polished surfaces, straight edges, sharp angles. Repeat. The rigid lines of the sleek white cabinets meet the squared stainless steel range hood in this streamlined kitchen. The waterfall countertop maintains the style, but also brings an elegant flow to the space. 

Keep Only the Essentials

Minimalist style is spare and streamlined; a perfect choice for this high-rise living room with sweeping city views. Deep-seated furniture and luxurious materials keep the space warm and inviting, a welcoming spot to enjoy the views.

From: Dresner Design

Serene Styling That Embraces Nature

Wood is a key material in modern design. This space is grounded by pale hardwood floors, while a sleek walnut platform bed overlooks a large open window that visually lets the outdoors in. White Barcelona chairs, originally designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in 1929, are used to create an intimate seating area. 

Polished Metals Bring the Shine

Reflective surfaces, like stainless steel or chrome, are a cool contrast to the warmer metals — copper, bronze and gold — that are typically used in traditional design. In this modern kitchen, stainless steel subway tile creates a chic backsplash while the same material is repeated in the cabinet pulls and storage canisters.

Throw Modern Design a Curve

While rectangles and squares are a dominate part of modern design, you can still throw your room a curve. Just keep it to simple shapes. A cool grouping of spherical pendants centers this sleek living room, while also adding to the asymmetrical balance of the space.  

Clutter-Free Living

Clean, unadorned walls are a smart start to any modern space. They allow the real focus of the room to be the shape of the furniture. In this open-concept space, shades of black, gray and white evoke a fresh look, while a few pops of yellow add just the right amount of punch. 

Less is More

Modern design embraces straight lines and flat surfaces. The use of a neutral palette, minimal clutter and glossy materials open up the space and allow the eye to move throughout the room without interruption. The addition of deep-colored woods and textured tiles lends this minimal living room a warm, inviting atmosphere. 

Keep It Simple

Instead of a solid wall or a row of balusters, this staircase feels open to the adjacent hallway thanks to the installation of large glass dividers. A skylight above floods both spaces with lots of natural light. Blonde hardwood laid horizontally brings a graphic quality to the floor, while the walls are kept clean except for one eye-catching piece of bold artwork. 

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