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The Greenhouse Apartments in Boston, MA
The Greenhouse Apartments in Boston, MA

When asked to define contemporary décor, you may be confused with modern décor. Though the terms are closely related, there are distinct differences in the two design styles. Contemporary décor revolves more around a monochromatic, minimalistic and neutral color scheme. The design style features asymmetrical design, rounded forms and graphical patterns.

Contemporary design features more of what’s going on in present day, and with that comes a comfortable and inviting space. Read on for pointers to turn your space into a comfortable contemporary retreat.

Colors
The dominant color palette in contemporary design includes neutrals, black and white. It doesn’t necessarily have to be boring or bland. Keep the main things neutral (walls and large furniture), but accent the room with bright and bold colors in the form of accent chairs, pillows and accessories. However, you can mix it up. If you decide to paint a wall a bold color, then use neutral décor around your space.

Read more: Find the Right Color Combo for Your Space

Furnishings
In contemporary design, furniture should have smooth, clean, geometric shapes. Large pieces are often neutral, white or black in color. Your furniture should be simple; less is more. Bare space is just as important as furniture pieces. Your couch and chairs should be uncluttered and without decoration. Exposed chair legs are a key detail in contemporary design, and avoid having bed skirts, trim, fringe or tassels on furniture. If possible, use simple, armless furniture to allow the views to command the room.

Fabrics
When choosing fabric, choose textured natural fibers, such as wool, cotton, linen, silk and jute. This creates a natural look, as well as a textural appeal. Soft fabrics on the sofa will add a sense of comfort, and using shades of beige and cream create a calming environment. Avoid using colorful and “busy” prints, as this takes away from the simplicity of contemporary design.

Read more: 7 Fabulous Ways to Add Texture to a Room

Finishes
For cabinets, countertops and furniture pieces, choose pieces that have a sleek wood finish. This creates a warm and comfortable room, and surprisingly enough, the sleek wood adds softness to contemporary spaces. Additionally, keep finishes natural, as the focus in contemporary design is on comfort.

Accessories
Incorporating aspects of nature into your design fits in with contemporary style. Accessories inspired by nature are encouraged. One way to do this is to add green foliage, which adds interest and color, and it also brightens up a neutral color palette. Dress up your furniture with throw pillows, using colors that accent the other furniture and accessories in your room. To create a focal point in the room, hang an oversized abstract painting on one wall. Another way to create a focal point is to arrange your furniture in a way that encourages conversation. Revolve the arrangement around an accessory that creates drama, such as a reclaimed wood coffee table.

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About The Author

Tu-Anh Pham is a content strategist for Apartment Guide. She writes and edits articles for Apartment Guide's Apartment Living Blog. She is also a member of the social media team. Find Tu-Anh on

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