Modern Interior Design: Style a Sleek Space With These Tips

Modern interior design began in the late 19th century as a complete contrast to the overly ornate designs of the 1800s.  The interior design style defined by the function above form truly took hold in the 1930s.  As the industrial boom continued across the country and cities grew in size and population modern design was catapulted to the forefront of the design scene. Not only did modern design do away with overly ornate design it brought industrial materials such as concrete and steel into the mainstream.  These materials that were first used in warehouses and factories across large cities were the key to building structures with large windows, flat roofs, and a variety of shapes.  Reinforced concrete and steel overtook the ornate features of thick carved wood with its cost-effective sturdy design.

As the century progressed, modern design was enhanced by notable architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright.  His modern architecture was enhanced through his keen awareness of nature.  By building his homes into the natural landscape he enhanced the beauty of modern design and opened the door to more natural elements being included in space.  Today’s modern interior design is still defined by clean lines, clutter-free spaces, industrial-inspired materials, and a neutral palette with curated pops of color.  The modern design also features an open floor plan with strategically placed furniture to differentiate between spaces.

Keep it Neutral the add a Pop of Color

Neutral colors are the backdrop of every modern space.  Shades of white, beige, or muted gray are perfect on walls.  Neutral walls should be combined with a bit of warmth from natural materials such as wood, bamboo, and stone.  These materials can be added through flooring, trim, or furniture. A neutral palette throughout an entire house can be boring and bland.  To break up your spaces you can add pops of color.  A bold pop of color on a large accent wall is great in a large open space.  Smaller pops of color can be added through artwork or rugs.  Finally, a set of bright throw pillows or shelf decor can be a vibrant addition to liven up a muted room.

Use Built-in Storage

Modern interior design is known for its clutter-free environments.  But you still need to live in your home and that means there is going to be a clutter.  To keep your main rooms clutter-free you’ll need to get creative.  Choose furniture pieces for your living room that can also double as storage.  Couches that have hidden storage, ottomans that can double as a storage unit, and even TV stands that have drawers where remotes, books, and cords can be hidden when they are not being used.  Bookshelves are another great storage tool for a modern interior.  Tall bookshelves add height and interest to a room especially when they have geometric design elements within them.  Make sure they follow your color palette or offer a bit of warmth with a wood or stone finish.

Decorate Intentionally

Intentional decorating means you are using one or two pieces to pull a room together or create a focal point within a room.  Modern decorating thrives off of simplicity that should not be lost with too much accent decor.  Keep your pieces to a minimum and make them count.  Show off a large piece of abstract art on a wall instead of filling the wall with a dozen small paintings or accessories.  If you do make a gallery wall, use picture ledges and art that are cohesive and follow a theme of either subject, color, or frame shape.

Bring in Nature

Modern interior design is all about neutrality.  From the walls to the furniture.  Adding plants can add fresh, natural, additionals of greenery that will breathe life into your home.  Large plants are particularly beautiful when they are placed in the corner of a room or at the end of a long hall.  Easy to care for simple yet unique plants are fiddle leaf figs, dragon trees, snake plants, and Phalaenopsis orchids.  You can place them in large sleek planters with a bit of accent color.

Add High-Polish Accents

Modern interior design isn’t just about neutral colors and warm materials.  Dramatic metals with texture and polish are a common addition to modern homes.  Lighting fixtures with polished metallic finishes such as chrome and stainless steel are an easy way to add polish and shine to a modern interior.  Metals that reflect natural looks can be added throughout a modern interior with mirror frames, wall accessories, and photo frames.  Larger items to add polished accents are pendant lights, tables, and oversized planters.  Small additions of high polish metals can be easily added as cabinet hinges, drawer pulls, and knobs.

Place Your Furniture Strategically

With a large open floor plan, it’s easy to decorate your home as one open space rather than as a designated area.  Choose furniture pieces that stick with the functionality of the modernist design.  Functional furniture pieces should be minimal in design without frills or excess pattern and design.  A sleek, low-profile sofa with natural materials such as leather or natural fabrics is the perfect piece to separate the living room from the kitchen.  Small accent chairs made of the same materials can further anchor the edges of the living room, while an oversized rug will add comfort and further designate the space. The same concept can be applied to each area of the house you wish to designate.

Modern features may vary slightly from home to home and the style may shift slightly over time, but the clean lines and open space design will always be the core of the modern interior design.  By adding minimalist pieces and removing excess from your home you can create a modern space that exudes sophistication while remaining a comfortable inviting area.

Bella Duckworth

“Architecture is really about well-being. I think that people want to feel good in a space… On the one hand, it’s about shelter, but it’s also about pleasure.” – Zaha Hadid
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