Style Insight: How to
Create a Contemporary Home

If heavy curtains make you claustrophobic and you're inclined to hide your clutter in storage, contemporary design is possibly for you.

How to...
Amber Moore
June 8, 2017


When creating a contemporary home, if you’re starting from scratch you have the opportunity to have a structurally contemporary home. This is achieved by having big windows and high ceilings.


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If you have the luxury of being able to include a sky-light and bi-fold glass doors, you can create a bright and open space, which is especially ideal if your kitchen is on the smaller side. This will work perfectly with an open floor plan that allows the light to flow throughout the house.

Combining this with one of the more recent fashions – having an island, peninsula or breakfast bar installed into your kitchen – creates a very social atmosphere throughout the space.


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Bare floors are frequently seen throughout contemporary homes, including wood and tiles. They tend to have a glossy finish that allows the light to bounce off and open the space up more.


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A common addition to the contemporary theme is an integrated fireplace, allowing for more floor space but still the comforting effect of having a fireplace in the winter.


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Colour schemes

Contemporary colour schemes are almost exclusively monochrome or neutral. This creates a very open, elegant space.

That said, you can still include colours in your décor – accent colours are a common feature in contemporary homes. Bold and bright accent colours such as electric orange are very effective when against a neutral colour scheme, however subtle accents such soft pinks can be just as effective. It’s all down to personal preference, and how you would like to express yourself.


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Current contemporary furniture is always very sleek with glossy finishes. The furniture tends to follow the monochrome or neutral colour scheme.


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The décor tends to be minimal and unobtrusive, with a lack of visible handles and an induction hob instead of a gas hob for simplicity. This contributes to the clean lines and geometric shapes that feature throughout the style.


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Commonly, glass tables or tables with a glossy, reflective surface are used to maintain the feeling of openness. This is teamed with metallic accents such as chrome or steel which reinforces the modern touch. It is also combined with natural materials such as wooden cabinets.


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The big fashion when it comes to contemporary bathroom furniture is luxurious free standing baths. They are particularly effective in larger bathrooms, where you can have an area of space surrounding it for emphasis – that also acts as a splash zone!


Art is a great way to express personality in a contemporary home. Contemporary art can be hung around the home, and can feature the geometric shapes of contemporary décor, or can be more abstract.


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Art is more and more frequently being combined with function in contemporary homes, such as decorative clocks or creative room dividers. By combining aesthetics with function, you can include both personality and necessity without compromising the simplicity that is a big part of contemporary décor.


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Gallery walls are a good example of way contemporary homes can display their art, which is in keeping with the geometric shapes and clean lines. You can also choose to focus on an accent colour within the artwork that can then be incorporated into the furnishings of the room.


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Lighting in contemporary homes is often seen as overhead down-lighters, and are frequently LED. This will effectively keep the room bright and is perfect for rooms without a lot of natural light, however the LED lights can be too harsh in some rooms.


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You can also utilise your lighting as a way to express creativity in a contemporary home. You can opt for stylish and unique shades, often in geometric shapes. These are very popular in Scandinavian décor which is known for being contemporary, along with exposed bulbs.


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Accessories in contemporary homes are minimal. A truly contemporary home will not be cluttered, so you have to be wary of how many accessories you choose to include in your décor.

That being said, you by no means need to choose ‘boring’ accessories. It is the accessories in contemporary décor that tend to express the accent colour, e.g. brightly coloured sofa cushions and ornaments that contrast the neutral or monochrome furniture and walls, and can tie in with the colour scheme established in any artwork.


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Indoor plants can be included in your décor to bring nature inside and include a pop of colour in a neutral room.

Other accessories such as stylish rugs are often popular in contemporary homes, allowing for contrast against the typically glossy finished bare flooring. The rugs tend to include a geometric pattern and can be used to express an accent colour.


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In an age where everyone must have the newest technology, modern TV’s and other tech must fit in with your décor. For example, if you have metallic gold accents featuring in your living room, your silver TV may not fit in so well. The best bet is to select very subtle technology that will blend in well, such as an all-black TV in a monochrome room.


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Generally, less is more when it comes to Contemporary homes. Choose smooth profiles instead of ornamentation, solid or subtly patterned fabrics in lieu of colourful prints, and minimal accessories rather than lots of ‘stuff’. While it doesn’t have the overt warmth of older design styles, it certainly won’t feel cold either.

There’s a strong emphasis on line and form, which gives these homes their character. Remember to focus on plenty of light and open space, and because there isn’t any clutter, every single piece has to count.


Hero image: Azovskiy and Pahomova Architects


Amber Moore

Amber Moore

Amber is a MSci Biology student at University of Southampton, and is a firm believer that pale pink goes with everything. She lives for Grey's Anatomy, beautiful Scandinavian interiors and cute puppies - or anything fluffy really!