Whether you are sprucing up the living room or giving your entire home a makeover, consider incorporating contemporary interior design. The style is characterised by simplicity and plays on textures, creating soothing and serene spaces where the eye flows naturally from one object to the next without having to work too hard to take in everything. It balances warmth and minimalism to stunning effect.  

Contemporary interior design is often confused with modern interior design. The terms might seem interchangeable, but several distinctions mark them.

Contemporary Versus Modern Design

Modern interior design covers a set time period, from the early to the middle of the 20th century. It is also known as mid-century modern and is a precursor to contemporary design. Among the key figures of this era are Charles and Ray Eames, Florence Knoll and Le Corbusier.

Meanwhile, contemporary interior design is rooted in the present and defined by what is happening currently. Consequently, it is fluid and continually evolving. If you are thinking of decorating your home with a contemporary feel, you need to follow what is trending right now in interiors.

The style is a reflection of current preferences and can be a mix of influences and elements of many other styles, including Futurism, Art Deco, Minimalism and Modern. Contemporary interiors don’t evoke thoughts of a specific period; nothing is set in stone. Therefore what is attracting attention at the moment may change in a few years and still be classed as contemporary. Although this makes it somewhat ambiguous and quite tricky to pin down, there are some defining features.

Today, contemporary interior design is distinguished by simplicity, clean lines and uncluttered spaces with subtle variations in textures and colours.  

Creating Contemporary Spaces

Clean Lines

Clean, straight vertical or horizontal lines are a signature feature. Surfaces are straight without ornamentation, and everything flows together. Clean lines can create an added sense of height or depth and make a room appear bigger. However, too many straight lines can turn a contemporary interior into an industrial-looking one so make use of curved and fluid lines.


Floors tend to be smooth and polished and made of tile, wood and vinyl. Rugs add warmth, sound control and a splash of colour.



Shelves, dining tables, side tables and other surfaces are not groaning under the weight of ornaments, picture frames or other clutter. Instead, a small handful of colourful objects are chosen to make a striking impact. 

Open Spaces

Like modern design, contemporary lends itself to open-plan living spaces where one area flows seamlessly into another. 


As with other aspects of contemporary design, less is more. Although unfussy and straightforward without a lot of decoration, contemporary furniture makes a bold statement, especially when set against a basic background. Smooth geometric shapes are the norm, and the colour palette comprises black, white and other neutral tones. Select pieces with exposed legs and avoid floral patterns, tassels, trim and any other type of elaborate ornamentation.

When it comes to textures for your furniture, consider natural fabrics like cotton, wool, linens and silk. Steer clear of ostentatious and garish patterns.

Simple Colours

The contemporary go-to colours are creams, whites and darker shades such as brown and black. Sure, the colour scheme is muted and calm, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be sent off into a Rip Van Winkle-like sleep.

Neutral colours can be paired with bold hues such as red, green or deep blue. Keep walls and important furniture pieces neutral but use cushions, pillows, wall art and tabletop ornaments to add some vibrancy. The trick is to make sure they don’t clash; they’re accent shades and should be used sparingly.  


Although contemporary interior design calls for a minimal and clutter-free approach, a few decorative accessories can bring a room to life. They include lamps, artworks and throws that not only add depth, contrast and personality but they’re also great conversational starters. When accessorising, it is important not to overdo things. Getting carried away with accessories can distract from the overall effect and overpower the clean space that’s been created. 

Always Fashionable

With its mix of styles, contemporary interior design has a timeless appeal. It is easy to update as new influences inspire you, and therefore, it will never go out of style.

contemporary interior design

If you would like to a quote on a contemporary interior design project in Hertfordshire or London please contact Tracey Andrews Interiors on + 44 (0) 1992 414 649 or 07951 203525.

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