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Key Elements for a Modern Space

3 June 2021

Modern spaces are fashionable again and you might be wondering where to start in your home. The term ‘modern design’ can be confusing to many people especially when designers contrast it with contemporary design. So what exactly is modern design?

Modern vs Contemporary design

Modern design began life around the turn of the twentieth century, embracing principles from Japanese and Scandinavian interiors. The modern design celebrates unfussy lines and a lack of unnecessary embellishments. It uses neutral color palettes and natural materials. Modern rooms tend to emphasize monochromatic colors and focus on creating a mood with the color palette. 

The main principle of modern design is that form follows function. If a piece of furniture, decor, or detail does not have a purpose you should think about removing it. In other words, every single piece you bring into the room should have a purpose, a reason for it to be there.

Contemporary design, on the other hand, does not refer to a specific decor style. It evolves with time and derives inspiration from multiple design trends. In twenty years, contemporary design would refer to something completely different than today. It generally refers to what’s in style at the moment.

Living room

So what does a modern living room look like? The beauty of the modern design style is that you can incorporate elements from everywhere. Your living room can be modern minimalist, modern maximalist, modern industrial, or even modern farmhouse! 

If you have a beautiful architectural element like a fireplace, you can design a modern farmhouse look to highlight it. White walls paired with bright pops of color can emphasize the clean lines and simple furniture. If you have a room with a view, then a minimalist color palette that focuses on the outside can look stunning.

Pay good attention to the color palette in your living room. Instead of tans and creams, opt for grays, muted navy, or black and white as a backdrop. Use colors to set the mood and don’t be afraid to experiment with unusual combinations like blues and grays with more earthy tones like terracotta.


A modern kitchen features simple cabinets with straight lines and handles. There’s not much room for curves in a modern kitchen. Kitchen counters should be uncluttered and free of visual debris. Stainless steel appliances fit right in but you can also add one or two small appliances in bright jewel tones. 

Stick to fewer colors in the kitchen but unusual palettes can work here as well. White walls with deep green cabinets or a backsplash can work wonders, especially if you have a light-filled room.

You may want to eliminate drawer pulls and handles altogether in a modern kitchen. Flush drawer fronts and flat doors combine to give a clean look. A couple of open shelves or glass-fronted cabinets can show off your eclectic collection of jars or ceramics but don’t go overboard. Most of your stuff should be behind closed doors and drawers.


A modern bathroom usually has a couple of features like a freestanding tub or floor-to-ceiling tiles. Use the tiles to create a pattern or design to break it up. Or use multiple shades of the same color to decorate the walls. If you have a walk-in shower, tile walls will look even better there. 

You can mix and match different materials for a modern bathroom but options like marble are always a good idea. Coordinating accessories in the same finish will round out the look. Large mirrors and windows can create an airy/light-filled space for you to enjoy at the end of a tiring day.


If you want to decorate your bedroom in a modern style, emphasize natural materials like wood. Wood is naturally warm and pairs wonderfully with a range of colors. A wooden bed frame or large headboard can serve as the centerpiece. 

Keeping things simple in the bedroom pays off as well. You don’t really need defined areas in a modern bedroom, so focus on fewer pieces but with luxurious textures. Stick to a simple color palette of 2 – 3 colors at most. Decorate throughout the room with multiple shades of those colors to bring everything together.

Finally, lighting plays an important role throughout your home so don’t ignore it. Scones, metal chandeliers, or integrated lamps can help you create a cozy, romantic, or bright mood perfect for any occasion. If you’re not a fan of minimalism, you can break up the straight lines of modern design with greenery and artwork on the walls. Remember to keep things simple, stick to the basics and eliminate anything that does not have a purpose. Pretty soon you will have a beautiful modern home with a warm and welcoming vibe!

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