How do you create a modern interior decorating style in your home?

Posted by Randy Caruso on

Modern furniture design is oftentimes mistaken for contemporary design. The two may share some similarities, but overall they are not interchangeable. Modern furniture is angular and very artistic. Contemporary design shares the same clean lines but is more functional, less artistic, and has a softer look and feel. Contemporary design is an updated traditional look with a slight midcentury modern influence. The design of a contemporary space often includes modern elements such as brushed nickel light fixtures and light wood accents. The main furniture will be more comfortable, overstuffed, and with softer curved lines and little ornate detailing.

To create a modern look, paint the walls using a soft, light, neutral color. According to American Modern Living, white, cream and beige walls are staples of modern living room design. Modern design is all about minimalism with dynamic pops of color for visual interest. You want your walls to serve as a neutral palette, making it easier for focal artwork and furniture to stand out. 

Also, it is important to keep the floor neutral and nondescript. Some modern living rooms even utilize bare concrete floors. As with the room's walls, a neutral-colored floor helps take focus off of this surface, allowing important furniture, artwork or accessories to capture the eye. If you plan on using carpeting, make sure the carpeting is not overly shaggy and that it does not contain any intense, bright colors.


When buying furniture, use coffee tables and sofas with straight lines and strong geometric shapes, as recommended by American Modern Living. Major furniture pieces should be symmetrical and rigidly shaped. Though the shape of a modern sofa is minimalistic and rigid-looking, many modern sofas are actually quite comfortable. Additionally, you can use throw pillows to add pops of color and occasional asymmetry. Furniture should be darker colors to provide stark contrast to the white walls if you want the pieces to be a focal point, or lighter colors if you plan on using artwork as the room's primary focal point.

Make it your home, you can use artwork to personalize the space with your own sense of style. Modern artwork varies widely, offering a number of interesting styles, ranging from multicolored abstract to monochromatic minimalist artwork. Decorate the room with artwork that emphasizes a dynamic, personalized color palette. Artwork allows you to get creative with the space, bringing your favorite colors and shapes into the modern decor.

Finally, Light the room with thin-based floor lamps, small sconces or recessed ceiling lights. As with the walls and floor, the lighting should not be the room's main point of interest. You want visitors to notice the interesting wall art or comfortable and inviting furniture pieces. The lighting should be subtle and relatively small. Large hanging lights have no place in modern living room design.

To create that lived in feeling, use vases, candles and books to fill out the space. Modern living rooms are supposed to be minimalistic, but you don't want the space to appear completely barren and unused. Scattering a few small accessories across the room will help the area feel more warm and inviting. Stay in touch with us for more great interior decorating ideas and tips.