What Is Contemporary Design Style?

Amidst the existing styles in home decoration, contemporary style or contemporary prairie style homes seem to be quite impressive with their timeless elements of minimal visual appeal. 

Whether you have a hard time recognizing contemporary styling, would like some decor ideas, or simply want to know more about it, you have come to the right place. 

This article will show you the features that set this style apart from other design styles. You will also pick up helpful ideas on how to design your contemporary home using such a timeless style.

What is the contemporary style of the home?

The contemporary design style, a much more current style of Home Decor, is a blend of simplicity and sophistication. It is well known for its deliberate use of natural light, neutral elements, and clean lines. 

Contemporary style — always evolving and shifting to meet preferences and trends — is also known as the style of the moment.  

Home decor made in the contemporary style typically gives off a sense of richness via minimal furnishing. Here, less is more when combined the right way. An excellent choice for a minimalist who likes the idea of conversation-starting pieces standing independently in an ocean of neutrals.

Contemporary vs Modern: What Is The Difference?

The terms, modern and contemporary, are synonymous, so people are often misled into thinking modern design is just another term for contemporary design. 

However, they are entirely different styles of interior decor. While the two share some characteristics and design elements, contemporary decor is more about today’s style. 

Contemporary decor is a combination of design styles developed in the latter half of the 20th century until now. On the other hand, modern design, or mid-century modern as it is called is a representation of a period in history, the 1920s to the 1970s.

The contemporary style is an ever-evolving blend of modernism and futurism. It reflects the happenings in today’s world of home decor.

It’s hard to tell the difference between modern and contemporary spaces can be difficult. Both radiate a minimalist preference for simple, uncluttered spaces with a classic touch of art. Read on about the controversy of modern vs contemporary on our Enlighten blog.

contemporary prairie style homes- Mid-Century Modern Style
Example of Mid-Century Modern Style | Image by Jilbert Ebrahimi@jilburr

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But they do have their different ways of achieving aesthetics. The modern interiors usually feature neutral color palettes in their designs. Spaces designed with a modern style concept are decidedly simple and free of unnecessary detailing. 

You can be sure you will never find any form of ornamentation or eye-catching elements such as those found in the Art Deco style. But with the ever-changing rules of the contemporary style, you might see some design ideas that are a bit more dramatic. 

Contemporary style in 2021 will be more welcoming of colors. While the style makes use of an extreme black-and-white theme, well-known interior designers are predicting that a contrasting combination is on its way out next year. 

Trending up is a new contemporary color palette that contrasts between muted pastels to vibrant hues.  If you like moving with the wind of the latest trends, and you have financial standing, contemporary design is for you.

What are The Elements of Contemporary Style In The Home?

Contemporary style spaces feature simple yet chic elements with the use of clean lines and texture. They are more like a show of space, not things. To help you understand better, here’s a detailed breakdown of how the styles are incorporated:


Contemporary furniture styling is statement-making and at the same time, simple and free of curves or adornment. It features smooth pieces with solid hues and excellent finishes. 

Sofas, chairs, and beds usually come in natural materials — no tassels, fringes, or trims. Contemporary style furniture for every room from the dining room to the kitchen requires you to be basic, yet bold and structural. Choose bold neutral-colored upholstery pieces and spice them up with colored accent pillows.


Neutrals, gray, black, and white are signatures of a contemporary style room.  A neutral background works beautifully behind brightly-colored expressive artworks and objects.

The right neutral wall paves the way for a play of colors. But then, you might like your wall with a bright color. In this case, use a neutral palette on your trims, ceilings, and flooring light.

Window Treatment

Embedded for contrast, window treatments cut contemporary interior design. But you still want to keep your window simple to maintain that flawless vibe. Use plain curtains made with thick textiles. 

White floor-to-ceiling curtains will give you just the right amount of elegance you need. You can also keep it cool with dark wooden blinds.

Decorative accessories

This is the part where you get creative. Think metals, stones, and clear glass. An accent pillow with zebra prints at the corner of a charcoal black sofa. Whatever accessories you choose, make sure they add depth and personality to your room.


The contemporary design style features bare and smooth floors. Its ideal flooring uses tile, wood, or vinyl. Contemporary style flooring includes carpet, in plain or geometric patterns, chosen for sound control and warmth.

What Lighting Fixtures Work Best For Contemporary Design Style?

Contemporary style lighting seeks to make a mark and create abstract silhouettes. It often features a versatile assortment of lights through layered lighting. 

Task Lamp
Contemporary Task Lamp by NOVA

A combination of recessed lights or chandeliers with the right task and accent lighting will help you achieve the perfect ambiance. The level of warmth a vintage chandelier will give a contemporary living room is unmatched. 

And if you want to make your accessories or artwork a focal point, recessed or track lighting will do it right. A brass standing lamp or a pendant light will also help you maintain a harmonious vibe.

Ideas For Incorporating Contemporary Style In My Home?

Start with your walls. Contemporary interiors have a way of focusing on architectural structures, so whatever room you are designing, black will help ground up space. 

This will especially work if you have high ceilings. Don’t worry if you don’t – you can always make up for it by going for a minimal window treatment.

For furniture, an army green sofa will be perfect. If you don’t like army green, gray linen upholstery will do. Complete with colored patterned pillows and your furniture is good to go.

To accent your walls, you can place a decorative container filled with green plants at differing heights.  An antique artwork or giant clock will do your walls a great favor too.

For the bedroom, you can paint your walls in black and white. Use plain white bedding and set up a fair amount of contrast between your bed and the floor with a zebra-print area rug. 

Your pillow covers should be an equal mix of white and gray. Complete with a small white night lamp beside the bed. You can also include a few more accessories but don’t forget — your bare space is salient.

Final Thoughts

Now you know about contemporary style decor and how to incorporate it into your home decor. And when you hear the question, “What is contemporary design style?” hopefully, you can easily share your knowledge.