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Contemporary Style 101

Not sure exactly what contemporary style is? Get all the design details here.

A simple two-foot extension of the wall between the living room and den made room for the TV armoire.

Contemporary style encompasses a range of styles developed in the latter half of the 20th century. Pieces feature softened and rounded lines as opposed to the stark lines seen in modern design. Interiors contain neutral elements and bold color, and they focus on the basics of line, shape and form. Here's how the style breaks down:

Colors: Contemporary interiors feature tone-on-tone color palettes relying heavily on brown, taupe, cream and pure white. Shots of color are sometimes found on a single wall, in a striking floor rug or in a special piece of art.

Furniture: Pieces feature clean lines and smooth surfaces without any carving or adornment. Silhouettes are slim without being dainty. Furniture is made of light-colored woods such as maple and birch (which also have minimal graining), frosted or clear glass, stainless steel, nickel and chrome.

Fabrics: Natural fabrics such as silk, wool, linen and cotton are used for their textural aspect and inherent neutral hues. However, bold color or geometric pattern may be brought into the design with pillows, a rug or a throw.

Lighting: The lighting design is used as an artistic statement in a contemporary interior. Floor and table lamps have straight lines and sleek metallic finishes; color might be introduced with a special shade. Recessed or track lighting draws attention to well-placed art and accessories.

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