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Style Primer: Contemporary

Mary, Mary, quite contemporary,
How does your home look so stylish?
Using neutral tones with clean lines, you know
And texture to top off the finish.

What Is Contemporary Decor?

Although contemporary decor gained popularity in the ’80s and ’90s, the concept behind this style is the “now.”

To put it another way, contemporary home design can shift as styles and trends change. In general, contemporary is softer than the sharpness of modern decor but far less elaborate than traditional design. While there are some basic key features for this decor style, contemporary is adaptable to the dynamic world of home fashion.

What Does Contemporary Decor Look Like?

The primary focus of contemporary decor is to complement the open space you don’t use with very select furnishings. Defined forms and shapes are used to help distinguish the space you use and how you use it. Softer, neutral colours like grey, white, taupe or light brown allow natural light to come in and be part of your home decor. Wood furniture pieces feature a light, natural finish to match the neutral colours used elsewhere in the home. As a finishing touch, sleek hardware, bare floors and oversized art pieces add a subtle yet distinctive appeal to your space.

Is Contemporary the Same as Modern Decor?

Although many people use these two words interchangeably, they are not the same decor styles. As we highlighted in our modern style primer, contemporary decor starts in the last 25 years of the 20th century and continues through to today. Modern style, on the other hand, is meant to be a little more futuristic and ahead of its time. If you’re looking for something based more in the present, then contemporary is the goal to chase.

Key Traits of Contemporary Decor

Monochrome Muted

Consistent use of a single colour is a large theme in contemporary decor. Not to say everything will be one paint hue, but monochrome uses one colour and its shade variations to create a cohesive look. If you can’t go all out on a major renovation, use accent pieces from the same collection to help achieve this look without breaking the bank (or your lease).

Favourite Example: Home accent collections, like the Glendale or Barrister Lane, make it easy to stick with one matching, neutral palette throughout your house.

Texture Is King

In many ways, our eyes are the first of our five senses to experience the world. Since we often see before we touch, contemporary decor uses textures as a way to decorate without requiring more colours or accents. Mixed media art pieces, tactile fabrics or super-soft bedding are just some of the ways you can use textures to your decor delight and comfort.

Favourite Example: With a stripe pattern created with microsuede upholstery, this Nina sectional will feel restful while giving your home a trendy vibe.

Shape of Simplicity

As the old adage goes, keep it simple. When we say “clean lines,” we mean there shouldn’t be decorative carvings or intricate designs as the lines travel from point A to point B. That’s not to say some shapes aren’t welcome – a round bookcase or a triangular side table are perfectly welcome alongside squares and rectangles. But the pieces should look clean and with minimal detail otherwise.

Favourite Example: With the rectangle-in-a-rectangle design, this Zeno curio cabinet offers a striking example of how shapes can be used as decor. Plus, the glass door and mirrored back panel add a spacious feel.

Polished to a Shine

Whether you have wood furniture or metal accents, everything should be polished to a fine shine. We’re not talking about shiny enough to set things on fire, but your finished pieces should be just polished enough to add brightness your room.

Favourite Example: This chrome table lamp with white shade features a swirling, curving metal base finished in a sparkling, chrome tone. A white shade helps highlight the lamp’s luminous look.

Artistic Storage

Who said storage has to be stuffy? Look for options that can double as visually appealing art installations. Off-kilter shelving, peek-a-boo drawers or other non-traditional organizational furniture will give your home an up-to-date feel while helping you manage your belongings.

Favourite Example: Place books and treasured memories on the shelves of this Florence bookcase, which will add a level of avant-garde sophistication to your home.

Ready to get contemporary? Shop The Brick’s wide range of furniture and accessories to bring this trendy look to your space.


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