Interior design is at something of a crossroads, with some of us preferring to seek solace in tradition and finding comfort in an old school aesthetic. Then, there are others with eyes firmly fixed forwards, keen to modernise and streamline their interiors in keeping with the times we’re currently living in.
Today, we find ourselves in the latter camp, luxuriating in the cutting edge convenience of technology, our present-day posteriors parked on some statement seating, our rooms illuminated by voice controlled, futuristic lighting fixtures. Yep, it’s all about putting your future foot forward today, with these 5 ways to add a contemporary touch to your interiors.
FIRSTLY, ESTABLISH WHAT ‘CONTEMPORARY’ DESIGN YOU COVET
First things first. Modern and contemporary interiors are not the same thing, and it’s important to establish what ‘contemporary’ means to you before you go about renovating and reinventing your property.
The guys at the Spruce define a contemporary style by stating that it’s “defined by simplicity, subtle sophistication, deliberate use of texture, and clean lines. Interiors tend to showcase space rather than things’’. Minimalism and functionality, then, is the bigger picture you may want to be painting.
What’s more, Elle Decor points out that ‘’contemporary design doesn’t refer to a specific period of time — it’s constantly evolving to reflect the popular styles of present day design’.
‘Contemporary is, by definition, what’s happening in design at this very moment in time. This definition makes it more fluid and hard to pin down. Modern design, on the other hand, has a distinguishable aesthetic that emphasizes crisp lines, warm neutrals, and balance.” Fascinating stuff.
Sometimes, it may feel like the world is getting ever more ignorant, but homes, it seems, are doing just the opposite; they’re getting smarter and more refined with each and every year.
Take, for example, the television. Indeed, a 55-inch TV is no longer just an instrument for entertainment; it’s become a real design element in its own right that grabs people’s attention. The Samsung Frame TV, for instance, isn’t just a TV; when you’re not watching, it acts as a piece of art. Oh, and it also triples up as a mirror. For just £3.99 a month you have access to a huge digital library of artworks which you can display on your wall, turning what was once an unsightly element of a ‘contemporary’ living space into a work of art.
But it doesn’t end here: home automation is increasingly a part of everyday life and more and more appliances are becoming intelligent and connected to us through the internet. When planning the décor of a home or venue, you cannot neglect the plethora of technological innovations available if you wish to keep up with the times.
A fantastic way to modernise your space without needing a full renovation is to deck it out with tech. Amazon Echo, Google Home, Apple’s Homepod… these smart home hubs that integrate your home and phone together, allowing easy home automation and lifestyle management, make things feel very futuristic indeed. Your home’s smart devices can dim your lights, monitor your security systems, regulate the temperature, and play your music. There’s even smart ovens that automatically recognise the food you’re trying to cook and will complete the job for you.
Set foot into any modern bistro that does breakfast and brunch and no doubt you’ll find sophisticated upholstered dining chairs in sleek modern styles. And don’t you just love to sink into them? With that robot we mentioned cooking our breakfast eggs, we could relax here all morning. Whilst we’re perhaps not there quite yet, you can still bring that contemporary touch with statement seating.
Go further; outfitting your table with the right seating can transform your dining room into something current and fashionable. Or, consider moving away from the traditional dining table altogether. A thick-cut picnic bench for casual dining, with a bench on one side and those upholstered dining chairs on the other, offers a contemporary take on the traditional, and we just love it.
The interior design experts at Albaplus, market leader for the manufacture of designer furniture, tell us that ‘’the idea of ‘contemporary’ encompasses different concepts: the search solutions to meet the needs of today’s lifestyle, current trends and, in some way, even the personal taste or character that you want to create in one or more rooms’’.
Clarity of vision and a little sprinkling of individuality, then, is so important in creating that current, in vogue look.
LIGHTING MEETS ART
The ways you illuminate your home shouldn’t purely be in the name of function. Form is also hugely important, and the right lighting fixtures, lamps, shades and even bulbs can all help harness that contemporary look in the home.
2020 has seen matte black become a hugely popular colour for lighting fixtures, with brass finishes also in vogue. Perhaps most fashionable right now, and also in keeping with that contemporary feel you’re after, is the notion of ‘refined industrial’ lighting domestically. Nope, we’re not talking about those exposed lightbulbs you’ll find in half of London’s steakhouses; rather, something a little more sophisticated which channels an artistic vibe as well as fulfilling practical purposes.
Combining all three of those lighting trends we mentioned, we’re particularly in love right now with John Lewis’ pendant Baldwin ceiling lighting, in pewter and copper. Just gorgeous.
There’s also been a rise in the popularity of crystal lighting recently. Indeed, crystals have become a core element in modern design with a contemporary edge.
MASTER THE ART OF MINIMALISM
The modern design aesthetic of minimalism came into existence in response to all that overly ornate, fully fanciful and somewhat cluttered architecture and design of the late 19th Century. As we’re sure you’ll be familiar, this is particularly prevalent in the UK. So if you want to channel a modern look without having to renovate your home, then use the excuse to go minimal. If your home shows a distinct lack of ornament and flair, then you’ve nailed it. Remove unnecessary details and frills and focus on functionality.