What “Contemporary Design” Is & How to Define “Contemporary”

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How to Define

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New spaces that are coming up use many simple lines and shapes and leave ample amounts of empty space. This is what contemporary design means today.

They are always perceived as evolving and are never static. There is also space to add more and make a subtle shift over time. You will find accent pieces or statement walls, which are the ones that stand out.

Other than that, these spaces mostly include muted colors and neutral tones. A lot of rooms today are painted white and then complemented with dark-colored furniture.

But do not confuse it with modern design. To make it clear, we have defined contemporary and then compared it to modern designs for you to better understand it.

So, without further ado, grab a cup of coffee and dive in.

What Is Contemporary Design

What is contemporary design

How Should You Define Contemporary?

Are you wondering what is contemporary? The word contemporary refers to anything that is happening in the current moment. The dictionary defines it as a situation that is happening in the present. Now while contemporary may be confused with the word modern, it is pretty different from it.

What Is The Difference Between Contemporary And Modern Design?

When it comes to design, modern and contemporary designs are very different. Modern design does not talk about the present-day design but refers to that of the mid-1900s. It was a period that saw a lot of pop colors and clean lines.

These had become a part of the decor previously and continues to be referred to as modern design. However, it does not change with time, and one will always refer to the mid-1900 designs as modern.

On the other hand, contemporary design is always bound to change as it refers to the current popular type. It is also to be understood that what was contemporary back in the 1900s is not considered to belong to the same category now. These would be called vintage designs today.

What "contemporary design" is

Also, today’s contemporary design will not be so in the next 5 to 10 years. The colors, texture, canvases, and materials keep changing over the years, and hence, these kinds of designs are always evolving.

One unique factor of contemporary designs is that they can be related to any design which becomes popular at the current time. These usually involve elements that define the present times and are associated with the contemporary taste, preferences, and needs of people of that era.

Can Contemporary And Traditional Designs Be Combined?

Traditional design involves 18th and 19th-century work, which is known to be classic antique pieces today. These include European decor that was prevalent in France, England, and the far East. A lot of natural colors and shades were used, which were drawn from nature.

The central theme revolved around a calm and orderly design which is known for their symmetry. You will not find traditional designs to be wild or very experimental. They focused on matching furniture and played with a single shade or two tones at max.

You will mostly find dark and warm shades used for wallpapers, and a lot of floral design was part of that era. They also focused on neutral walls and red, green, and brown colors. You can visualize large royal ornate chairs and long dining tables as part of traditional decor.

What is contemporary design 5

Now it is possible to combine this with contemporary designs. People are using pastel shades and playing with blonde, wood, and grey to bring in the contemporary vibe. You will see living rooms with ornate sofas and rugs but in a more contemporary color.

Paired with a few contemporary paintings on the wall, this could be a great option for those who want their homes to look special. It will provide your home with a touch of grandeur while ensuring that it matches recent trends.

Can Contemporary And Modern Designs Be Combined?

Yes, one can combine modern elements with non-modern ones to create a new and contemporary space. It is believed that every art piece today is a mix of some old designs and decor elements.

For example, you can use items from the 1900s, which include a low sofa or a classic shaggy beige rug along with minimalist decor or a graffiti wall. That would create an entirely new style that would stand out. You can also play with colors and shades to create a unique combination. Pair up whites and beige with pop colors, and you have a very different space.

What is contemporary design 7

What Is The Role Of Eclectic Style?

Do you love to play around with different styles and create one of your own? Well, contemporary design is very versatile and can involve a lot of designs put together. For example, you can combine an ornate sofa with a minimalist lamp and a Moroccan rug. Add sheer white curtains and some quirky wall plates to create a space that is unique.

This is a new style that people are investing in, and it does involve a lot of thought and imagination. Check out art magazines for such kinds of spaces and give it your own touch. We have seen traditional armchairs being converted into quickie art pieces with threads of several colors.

Can It Involve Rustic Designs Too?

Rustic design can become a part of the contemporary culture if they are modified to some extent. Rustic patterns involve designs that heavily include wood, and you can use it for furniture today too.

In fact, minimalist furniture uses a lot of straight lines that were initially part of rustic structures. You can also use layers to make the bed and make sure that you use a lot of greys and browns to add the rustic touch.

Design Elements

There are a number of design elements that help in bringing out the contemporary style. Go through the next part to know about them.

  1. Simple And Clean Lines

The designs are not made to stand out or be overbearing. They involve a lot of clean lines and clear shapes. You will find square or rectangular shaped furniture and cabinets in homes today. Every item in a room is preferably aligned, and there are no complicated designs that are used. Low sofas and beds have become a part of this style.

  1. Oversized Artwork

While furniture and wall paints today are subdued and involve neutral shades, art uses a lot of colors, geometric designs, and shapes. Today, oversized artwork has become popular, and you will often see one huge piece of art in the living room that makes its place on the accent wall.

  1. Neutral Colors

Masculine colors are more in trend today, and this involves muted and neutral shades that are not made to pop. It is almost devoid of feminine elements and does not include bright colors and designs. You will be looking at a matured color palette which involves shades of grey and beige.

  1. Hidden Storage

Smart storage is something that has been a part of the decor today. You will find unexpected storage solutions under staircases, behind walls, and under furniture. There are cabinets that are completely camouflaged and have a plain wooden front. You will also find beds that can be turned into a sofa when needed with extra storage space inside.

Convenience has become a part of designs today, and so has minimalism. The more things you can keep stored away in these secret cabinets, the better it is.

What is contemporary design 6

  1. Reflective Accents

Reflective surfaces are a part of the decor, and that includes mirrors and glass. You will also find metal and chrome finishes that are used to create accents. Pair a sofa with a reflective glass coffee table and some oversized paintings for the perfect contemporary space. We also found it to include black reflective surfaces that shine and add to the decor.

  1. Color Blocking

White color has become a part of contemporary spaces, and light shades are used today to make furniture look fresh and appealing. This can play a huge role in deciding on the ambiance of the entire space. Color blocking is a process in which you can paint the ends of wooden and rustic pieces of furniture with solid white color. This can either complement the wall colors or stand in contrast.

  1. Using Layers

While minimal designs are part of the decor today, it is paired with lots of layers. When it comes to making a bed, you will find comforters, cushions, and rugs that are being used to create a cozy-looking room.

These make the space more welcoming and friendly. Also, who would not want to jump into a bed with so many layers? It feels as cozy as it looks!

  1. Patterns and Shapes

Geometric patterns have found an essential space in present-day designs, and you will always find a combination of neutral shades and geometric shapes. The striped weave design is very much in trend and looks good against subtle wall colors.

Final Words

Contemporary designs are ever-evolving and will not be bound to a certain time or era. Today, you will find vast stretches of muted colors, and there is a lot of brown and grey that is used. Again, it is not just restricted to minimalism. You will find complicated weave designs and intricate circular patterns too, which are used on accent walls.

But this design is not meant to pop out or stand out too much. They do not involve ornate elements, and in case you want one ornate accent piece, it is generally paired up with simple rugs and furniture.

With this, we have come to the end of our guide. It is time to weave in futuristic designs with a mature color tone to achieve the contemporary look that you wish to have.

Until next time. 

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