What is modern interior design style?
The terms modern and contemporary are often used interchangeably. And although they share several similarities, they're two very distinct design styles. While contemporary interior design is continuously evolving to reflect popular and current styles, modern interior design refers specifically to a design trend that emerged at the turn of the twentieth century. Unlike contemporary design, which can have many variations, modern interior design follows a fairly strict format. This format shares several similarities with Scandinavian and minimalist design styles. Today, architects and designers both use modern elements in contemporary design.
So what exactly is modern interior design? Modern interior design can be characterised by furniture with simple form and function, the use of natural materials such as wood, leather, glass, and stone, and a warm, neutral colour palette. Similar to minimalist and Scandinavian design styles, modern interiors focus on simplicity, functionality, and clean lines to create minimalistic yet inviting spaces. Below are some of the key elements of modern design and how to incorporate them into your home.
Modern interior design elements
• Simple forms focussed on function
In modern design, form should follow function. Modern-style furniture is characterised by low, horizontal pieces and clean lines, usually made from natural materials such as wood or leather. Surfaces are smooth with little to no ornamentation or decoration. Geometric shapes are often used. However, there are no intricately detailed pieces and very few curves. Instead, the emphasis is on the simplicity and function of the design.
• Natural materials and an earthy colour palette
Modern interior design uses materials, such as natural wood, leather and metals. The colour palette is warm, neutral and earthy, often following a monochromatic colour scheme.
• Uncluttered Spaces and natural light
Modern design emphasises uncluttered spaces. They’re typically characterised by open floor plans, which remove barriers between rooms, and lots of unadorned windows. Both of these design elements create a lighter, airier and more spacious feel.
Modern interior design decorating ideas
Traditional modern decor is simple and functional. It’s based on a neutral colour scheme and the use of natural materials, giving the design-style natural warmth. However, since there are numerous iterations of modern design styles, your choice of decor will be influenced by the particular style that appeals to you.
Here are a couple of ideas to get you started.
• Modern art
A large single piece of artwork, rather than multiple smaller pieces, will maintain a modernist look. Fauvism, abstract art, and cubism perfectly capture the essence of the original modernist movement.
• Mid-century modern furniture
Characterised by clean lines, warm woods, and bold upholstery hues (often in woollen textures), mid-century modern furniture beautifully exemplifies simple, functional design. Iconic examples include the Egg chair designed by Arne Jacobsen and the Eames lounge chair and ottoman designed by Herman Miller.