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Contemporary Style 101

“What’s in a name? That which is a called a rose by any other name would smell as sweet!” -Romeo Montague, William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

That quote may be relevant when it comes to love but when it comes to interior design style, the name distinguishes the elemental differences of the design. Most home designs share certain elements, but each has distinctions that set them apart from the other. For instance, distinguishing farmhouse style from rustic style might mean opting for an antique quilt to throw across the rocking chair in the corner rather than laying a bearskin rug on the floor but both styles appreciate weathered furniture and textile accents.

Likewise, contemporary style shares a few things in common with other styles, like the neutral palettes loved by traditionalists and the smooth, clean lines of the modern home. But what else sets contemporary style apart from other popular styles? Let’s take a look.

Basic not Boring

A key element of contemporary style is the no-frills approach to furniture, wall color, and appliance choices. Rooms are open and minimalistic, even if that openness is an illusion (think of the effect of floating vanities in a small bathroom). People who thrive in a contemporary living space value minimalism and cleanliness, and mess and clutter have no place here.

Tone on tone palettes are a must with brown, taupe, cream and stark white being the most popular color choices. To add drama and interest, designers usually add a spark of color with a painting on the focal wall or with colorful, patterned rugs, pillows or throws. Curtains are usually colorful or have a certain pattern design, like geometric.

Furniture pieces like a sofa and loveseat may also be colorful but designed with natural fabrics, clean lines, smooth surfaces, and no carvings or adornments. Much like the furniture, appliances in a contemporary kitchen are typically sleek, modern and full of the latest technology.

That’s So Metal

Natural materials like silk, wool, velvet, linen, and cotton are essential to contemporary style, but perhaps the most prominent material you’ll notice in a contemporary home is metal. From stainless steel appliances to nickel or chrome hardware, contemporary enthusiasts love their metal. In addition to their kitchens and baths, contemporary homeowners often choose metal lighting pieces which easily fit into the simplistic style that’s signature to contemporary living spaces.

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