Nov 28, 2011

Contemporary style defined

Contemporary style is defined as a style that is current.  It's influenced by Modern and Arts & Crafts styles and is a blend of simple lines on furnishings, use of sleek materials such as metal, glass and polished stone, and solid and textured fabrics. Art and accessories are typically bold, geometric and dramatic, working well with neutral colors prominent in this style.  But what does that mean?

Strong geometry with neutral colors.

There is a distinct lack of ornamentation on contemporary furniture. Sofas do not have rolled arms, but straight, boxy ones. Strong linear or box-like shapes are found in seating, tables and even storage furniture (shelving, curios, armoires). Legs on tables and chairs are straight - often made of metal - without carving or intricate woodworking. Simple lines, solid colors - often with texture - and on a large scale are standard in contemporary style. No skirts on sofas and chairs those straight legs! Glass tabletops, smooth floors - wood, tile and even concrete - and glass and metal light fixtures, complete the look.

Boxy furniture with bold accessories and art.

Fabrics are generally neutral - beige, cream, gray and tones of black and white - with surface texture, or tone-on-tone to create interest. Wall colors are also neutrals in shades of cream, beige and gray. Monochromatic color schemes are ideal, with accessories providing the interest and color.  Architectural details on moldings, doors and windows tend to be spare; no ornate crown molding here.  Structural elements including air ducts, plumbing and exposed beams are considered part of the space and not to be hidden. For both furnishings and accessories, "less is more" is the philosophy.

Using fewer bolder, larger scale accessories characterize this style, and those pieces are generally bright and colorful. Heavily textured area rugs add warmth so the style is not confused with Minimalist or Modern styles. The styles for window coverings is diverse, and can be anything from blinds to roller shades to drapery; their overall appearance is simple rather than ornate or fussy. Art - often comprised of unframed canvases or in sleek black or metal frames without detailed carving - adds the final touches.