Contemporary Design 101

Right on trend, contemporary design marries the best of modern and traditional styles while incorporating the latest looks. Check out these 15 design spaces that will appeal to the decorating trailblazer in you. 

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May 13, 2016

Photo By: Jean Allsopp

Photo By: Paul Costello

Photo By: John Granen Photography

Photo By: Kim Cornelison (styled by Heather Chontos)

Photo By: Lisa Romerein (styled by Elizabeth Demos)

Photo By: Trevor Dixon (styled by Karin Olsen)

Photo By: Sean Litchfield Photography

Photo By: Chang Kyun Kim

Photo By: Jim Bastardo

Photo By: J. Allen

Photo By: Cory Holland

Photo By: Helen Norman (produced by Elizabeth Demos)

Photo By: Bronwyn Poole

Photo By: Alyssa Kirsten

Photo By: Steve Keating

Freshen Up Your Furniture

Designed by Charles and Ray Eames, the iconic Eames molded chair is a go-to contemporary chair. The curved seat is a comfy (and colorful!) barstool when paired with tall Eiffel-style legs. Open shelving with a well-curated collection of dishes and cookware bring an updated look to this bright white kitchen. See more pics from this colorful home tour

Bring On the Bright

A fresh color palette is a surefire way to brighten up any contemporary space. Here, designer Sarah Richardson put two paint colors to work to define separate seating areas in this open-concept living room. The colors find their way onto the furniture to create a pulled-together look. See more of Sarah's home that was featured in HGTV Magazine

Embrace the View

Large windows without traditional curtains or swags are a hallmark of contemporary style, allowing tons of natural light to be a part of the room's design. Often windows are left completely unadorned, but if you still want the option of diffusing the natural light, opt for streamlined blinds, like these honeycomb shades.

Throw Out the Rules

Contemporary design ebbs and flows with the times so it's the perfect style if you're always game to try something new. For instance, experiment with hanging art in an unusual spot, like this painting under a tall entry table. HGTV Magazine shares more ways to be daring with your decorating.   

Sophisticated Neutrals

Streamlined furniture and geometric light fixtures become the star of this room, which features an elegant neutral color palette. The monochromatic soft gray scheme creates a sleek look while graphic throw pillows add just the right amount of punch. 

Creatively Combine Styles

Since contemporary design ultimately is a combination of traditional and modern styles, rooms are allowed a certain amount of flexibility and playfulness. This kitchen combines several styles, from the mix of industrial wooden and chic mustard yellow barstools to the classic mercury glass pendants and geometric cement tile backsplash. Everything is pulled together by a unifying color palette and warm natural woods. The final result is a space that embraces the true heart of contemporary design. See more of this color kitchen

Geometrics Make a Bold Statement

Bright white walls are accented with a Swiss cross pattern and trimmed in glossy black paint to highlight architectural details in this cheery playroom. Low gray cushions, covered with piles of playful, graphic-printed pillows, create a cushy lounge area. 

Open It Up

Contemporary design makes the most of large, open spaces, focusing on strong architectural elements. In this living room, a white plank ceiling is paired with exposed beams for added architectural interest. Smartly placed narrow walls and sleek furniture groupings help to define the different areas, while floor-to-ceiling windows blend the indoors with the out.
From: Synthesis

Blend Eras With Abandon

Contemporary design is fluid and constantly changing to reflect the latest trends paired with furniture and accessories from different periods and styles. This bold living room uses streamlined furniture for a sleek look, while the addition of vintage prints and brass light fixtures bring in a touch of traditional. Get more ideas for adding color to your living room from HGTV Magazine

Cutting-Edge Cool

Furniture with a strong profile feels right at home in contemporary design. This versatile coffee table features a layered glass top that swivels out for functionality. The glass tables paired with floor-to-ceiling windows and fluffy white furniture gives the entire space an airy, expansive quality. 
From: J. Allen

Opt for Streamlined

Furniture featuring straight legs and metal frames often finds a place in contemporary style. In this entryway, galvanized metal mixes with natural wood for a sleek look while graphic wallpaper in tone-on-tone grays makes a geometric statement.

Limitless Style

Clean-lined furniture is the keystone to contemporary style, which also embraces highly patterned area rugs and wall coverings. Bright white pieces, like this streamlined chair, bookshelf-turned-bar and sleek lamp, bounce off the graphic purple wallpaper and wavy area rug. Get more ideas for styling your home from HGTV Magazine

Bare Necessity Flooring

Contemporary style is all about keeping the look streamlined — so show off your beautiful floors. A bare floor allows the shape of the furniture to be the room's real focal point. Here, this dining room pairs a linear, chunky stainless steel table and sleek chairs with an Eiffel base, while an oversized urn adds a classic note to the outdoor deck.

Modern Inspiration, Bold Hues

Colors and curves take a minimalist, modern room to a fun, contemporary space. This living room is grounded by a spiraling orange-and-white area rug, while low-profile furniture combines with the Danish-style coffee table for a sleek yet intimate conversation area.  

Energize Neutrality With Color

A neutral palette is often used in contemporary design with a bold pop of color to break up the uniformity. To make the most of the beautiful view, furniture is kept near to the ground and glass railings surround the staircase. 

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