Modern Design

Decorating a home in modern style can be done by simply juxtaposing edgy and traditional, blending subtlety with strength, and fusing minimalism and complexity. It may sound impossible to accomplish but it’s simpler than it sounds.

Before you start, you need to understand a little of the history of Modern design. Today, this style that was the height of fashion in the 1950s is being rediscovered as “retro.” Look for furniture from designers such as Mies van der Rohe, an ardent follower of the “form follows function” rule; Charles and Ray Eames, whose Eames lounge chair has become a classic; and George Nelson, whose “sunburst clock” is still produced today.

While simple clean lines mark Modern style, it is not all sharp angles and shiny surfaces. Furniture and furnishings from the era tends to encompass a range of styles such as armless sofas, geometrical rugs and a various mixture or art and accessories. Synthetics were just coming into widespread use and are seen often in the furniture and accents of the era. Today, however, synthetics in furniture and fabrics have been replaced with newer and more improved versions of cotton and linen. This is in keeping with the global environmental movement’s concern about potential pollution of interior air quality when synthetics are used.

The colors of Modern style tend toward a neutral palette sparked by bold, vivid touches. It features upholstered furniture in muted tones, with natural elements such as stone and wood mixed together in tables and flooring.

For the 21st century interpretation of Modern design, globalization has brought in Asian culture to create an austere, yet comfortable style. Furnishings such as platform beds, low tables and large floor cushions define this new expression.

The eclectic style of Modern decorating reflects a extremely personalized approach. Often home decorators will mix Modern pieces from the mid-20th century with traditional furnishings and used finds. Colors, textures and shapes tie together these seemingly unrelated pieces in a new definition of Modern style.

This new interpretation of Modern style differs sharply from its previous reputation as a cold, stark, uncomfortable decor. Hard plastic chairs and chilly, empty spaces may come to mind initially, but current Modern style’s approach has been softened and warmed. This decor style still uses a minimalist approach, intended to highlight the unique qualities of each piece.

For instance, instead of wall-to-wall carpeting, the preference in Modern style is for hardwood floors that ar topped by distinctive coverings, such as animal print rugs or even leather rugs. The furniture that surrounds these rugs is staged to create intimate groupings for conversation and other interaction.

Meanwhile, the decorations around the room are placed in such a way that space around them serves to highlight their characteristics. Against a neutral color scheme, a vivid shawl or throw from Guatemala bespeaks global culture, while solid-colored throw pillows add visual punch. An antique vase may be situated on a glass-and-chrome table, a marriage of vintage with contemporary that speaks to timeless design.

This simplification of line, object and materials, combined with a global, up-to-date sensibility, are the essence of Modern design.

Photos of Modern Design