Interior design can take many forms. It has often been said that contemporary interior design can be cold looking and too minimalist. Today’s contemporary interiors, on the contrary, are actually quite welcoming and often have aspects of funky fun in their design. It is true that they are a streamlined type of décor and the lines are uncluttered and simple. This style suits residential homes, lofts and offices.
Contemporary style actually means the fine art of living in the present free of clutter from the past or concerns about tomorrow. That is not to say that it is a harsh and unyielding style that is devoid of comfort. It is actually a “less is more” type of concept of living, where there is freedom from clutter, be it clutter of objects from our past or objects that we are saving in plain view for the future. In fact, we may still retain some of these objects stored tidily in an organized fashion out of sight somewhere in the home, but we are not allowing our current sight lines to be cluttered with these things. Smooth, clean, neutral and subtle elements make up a contemporary room design. Modern style, by contrast, is much more rigid in concept and execution; much less comfortable to live in, and should not be confused with contemporary style.
The planes that the eye follows are important in contemporary room designs. Vertical and horizontal lines are a large design element in a contemporary room design. Because of the structured nature of a contemporary room design, there needs to be a lot of open space for the body and the eye to wander free. This space creates a feeling of airiness, serenity and freedom. This open space contrasts with the strong lines of the furnishings of the contemporary room design.
Colour palettes for contemporary room designs are often based on neutral shades. This is not to say that they are simply beige. Many neutral colours are actually quite dramatic or vibrant. They can be black, white, charcoal, in addition to grey, tan or beige. If the colour palette is tone on tone, the lines of the furnishings play a larger role than the colour does. We are not actually avoiding strong colour in contemporary designs, though. Rich colour palettes will warm up a contemporary room design. Textural elements are another design tool which add a sense of a comfortable retreat to the contemporary look, and will relieve too stark and bland a colour palette. A touch of bright or fun colour adds punch, while black grounds the space. Accessories in a bold or vibrant colour suit the contemporary space. Even feature walls can be painted in hot hues.
Linear design elements are one of the key features of contemporary design. Undraped windows, or clean lined window treatments, artwork with geometric shapes, sculptural elements, tall ceilings, exposed brick, colour blocking, and interesting architecture are seen in this style type. Each element is important and draws the eye because it is powerful. There is significant use of bare wall space and space between furnishings. The rooms are not over furnished because less is more. Furnishings have a unique and powerful look to them. The lines of each furniture piece are simple and direct in nature. The furnishings of a contemporary room design act a planes, and the overall room has a sense of calm and cohesion.
In loft spaces, exposed brick, air ducts, and even plumbing are left exposed as a design feature. These are often painted in vibrant colours to enhance them and to draw attention to their presence. Similarly, while leaving these structural elements exposed, they may be painted the same colour as the walls or ceiling. They act as a textural feature. Drama can be achieved through graphic elements in combination with simple but effective colour palettes.
Furnishings in large loft spaces are large to suit the scale of the space. Button tufted sectional sofas are a current trend and they look terrific in these spaces, even thought the tufted style is a traditional style element. This just means that rules are made to be broken. Often the furnishings are clean lined and geometric. Most often, materials used are natural linen, leather, silk, jute, wool and all of these materials add texture to the space. Even when traditional elements are used, there remains an overall sense of simple, uncluttered design. All of these clean lines need to be made comfortable to live with and tempered by a little softness so that the room doesn’t become so sterile that no one wants to spend any time in it. The decorative motifs used in the room design are often related in nature, such as squares, stripes or circles, thus maintaining cohesion and balance.
Lighting is often unusual or dramatic. Legs on sofas are exposed. Toss cushions are done in vibrant shots of colour and add a sense of fun to the space. This style has no use for ruffles, fringes, florals, carved detailing, or beads. Flooring is bare hardwood, but area carpets in geometric and distressed motifs are spectacular in these spaces. Clear or opaque glass, metal in distressed finishes, industrial looking surface details, stone and reclaimed wood all work well in contemporary spaces. Prints that employ two colour shades are effective as well. Zebra or leopard prints are an example of this and they look wonderful with furniture pieces in a solid fabric or leather. Stripes also are a strong element in many contemporary spaces. Large and dynamic artworks are often the finishing touch that makes a contemporary space really work. Contemporary artwork is an exciting feature in the design. In spaces with high ceilings we are able to use very large pieces and they are a strong element that conveys a sense of excitement to the design. It is important to leave bare space for the eye to rest and to wash the artwork with soft spotlighting and wall washing.
Contemporary lighting has made huge advances in technology and design. The focus is on the unusual and even the quirky. Lighting elements do not match each other. Rather, they stand alone as works of art. Quite often they are made from stone, metals or are very colourful. Artwork is emphasized and spotlighted using lighting. Recessed lighting and track lighting are a feature of contemporary room design. Lamp shades on table lamps are often square or black or both. Niche lighting and indirect light are beautiful and serene features that are wonderful in a contemporary space. Framing is simple, often metallic, clean lined wood or matte black.
Large, dramatic pottery accompanied by dramatic and lighting options maintains the sense of leaving bare space for the eye to rest between design elements. These may have large or tall botanical elements in their makeup. The entire feature can be washed in gentle lighting. The eye is drawn upward and the ceiling feels even taller.
We specialize in colour and in making the best and most creative use of the client’s home and available space. The photos that we show are inspirational images which show the quality and type of work that we are able to achieve.
Call Mulberry Interiors now at (905) 849-6423 to book a consultation. We look forward to working with you to increase your enjoyment of your home.
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