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Elements of Contemporary Design

by Lauren Busser The House Designers’ Editorial Director

There is no doubt that modern design is slowly creeping into everything we see and touch. Cars, appliances, computers; all are getting sleeker and more stylized, and so is today's home. The world of architecture and home interiors is starting to slant towards transitional and contemporary designs. Here are a few tips to give your home the open and airy vibe that contemporary style is known for.

KraftMaid Contemporary & Dynamic Kitchen

This Contemporary & Dynamic kitchen from KraftMaid® features square recessed panels and aluminum integrated angled pulls.

Let There Be Light!

At the top of the list of modern design is light. We don’t mean lamps or chandeliers—though they can make great accents, we mean daylight. Contemporary homes have airy rooms with lots of light. If this is the kind of feel you want, choosing an open floor plan will go a long way toward that goal. The lack of walls and obstructions means that there will be fewer light blocking barriers resulting in a well-lit space.

LAMPS PLUS Contemporary Living Room

This living room from LAMPS PLUS® features streamlined lighting over delicate art and shelving. The orange leather pieces enhance the room with a pop of color.

Keep it Subtle with Bright Accents

Keeping a neutral color palette is essential when it comes to creating a contemporary feel for your home. That doesn’t mean that you have to forego color entirely though. Add a dash of color with area rugs, lighting, textiles and upholstery. Combining these elements with polished metal fixtures gives you an eye-catching design that you can easily change at a later date.

Use Natural Materials

Don’t reserve your use of natural materials to just wood furniture. A contemporary home can use organic and natural materials in outside decking, leather furniture for interiors, and simple decorative elements that you display throughout your home. Look for design elements made from materials like rock, slate, teak and other raw woods. Cotton, wool, linen and other gorgeous textiles work well in modern furnishings.

Lumber Liquidators Bellawood Natural Maple

This Bellawood® Natural Maple flooring from Lumber Liquidators® is the perfect match for a contemporary design.

Less is More

One key design element that should always be on your mind when you are creating a contemporary space is that less is more. Much of what you'll find today in furniture stores reflects this. Heavily ornamented design elements are being replaced by clean and simple lines that make contemporary homes feel lighter and more casual, while maintaining an elegant motif.

Bare floors are also a fixture here. To help create the lighter, airy appeal, select a simple flooring with a gorgeous finish. You can look to flooring materials like hardwoods, ceramic and porcelain tiles or even concrete. Keeping your flooring simple gives you opportunities to use area rugs to warm up a space and add a splash of color and texture.

Streamlined Exterior Details

The exteriors of contemporary house plans are free of heavy ornamentation or historical influences. However, they often have distinct rooflines and expansive windows. The materials of the exterior will often borrow harmoniously from the natural surroundings of the home.

Savant Systems

Savant Systems uses Apple® products in order to automate everything from your lighting and energy management, to security and media integration.

Hidden Technology

Remember the days of the wall safe hidden behind the painting? Lots of smart technology is available now that exists as hidden details in your home’s design. Wireless and remote access controls for electronics, heating and cooling systems, lighting and security can all operate in the background behind a beautifully designed home.

These contemporary design ideas can really enhance your home and create a relaxed and cozy feeling. While it might be a minimal take on design you can still inject your personal style into every aspect of your home. Take a look at our collection of contemporary house plans to begin the search for your new dream home.

Contemporary House Plan Callout