April 15, 2016 estilodesignadmin

Interior Design Styles: What Does A Contemporary Interior Look Like?

Many people get confused with what defines a contemporary styled interior. The most common mix up is between Modern and Contemporary styles and what’s the difference between them. So here is how to tell for yourself.


The term modern actually defines a period in time between the 1920’s and 1950’s. The style associated with this period is called Modern, which stems from the modernist era also known as modernism. ‘Modern’ is a defined design style not an ever changing one like a ‘Contemporary’ style. Some characteristics of a modern design style that you can look out for clean straight lines, the use of chrome or stainless steel and in particular furniture options that blend with these other styles Mission Style, Art Deco and Shaker. These days when people refer to ‘Modern’ interiors they are often referring to retro interiors as well.

A contemporary design style is ever changing with the ideas that are current and popular now. However, to help achieve a contemporary look in your home it’s important to stick to some basic rules.

A contemporary interior is comfortable, quiet and welcoming. Colours associated with a contemporary look are neutrals, black and white. Other colours are used as bright and bold accents in smaller doses. The neutrals, blacks and whites help ground the interior and allow for pops of colour to be introduced cleanly.

Subtle, simplistic, sophisticated and minimalistic are often terms used when describing a contemporary interior. Keeping things minimal and following the phrase ‘Less is more’ is considered very contemporary.

Contemporary furniture is smooth, clean and forms strong geometric shapes. If you choose upholstered furniture items these are often in neutral tones and if more colour is wanted / needed this is done through cushions etc.

Because most contemporary colours are neutral, materials seen in a contemporary interior are often from natural elements such as woods and stone. Currently a contemporary interior would also include a strong sense of open plan living incorporating the surrounding landscapes.

Lighting options are used artistically in a contemporary interior and are often the statement piece in a room whether it be a large scale pendant, a strong floor or table lamp or even unique lighting ideas for way-finding purposes.

A contemporary interior style can be considered as ‘eclectic’ as it pulls ideas from all over the place to create something new and well, contemporary!

I did an online search for ‘contemporary styled interiors’ and these are the range of ideas that came up. Some pictures may include all of the aspects listed above but other only a few. Check them out >>>

contemporaryinteriors_bathroom contemporaryinteriors_bathroom2

Soft and warm neutral colours. Using natural materials such as a wooden bench top and replicating a washed stone look with the tiles. Both of these spaces are clean, functional, minimalistic and simple.

contemporaryinteriors_bedroom contemporaryinteriors_bedroom2

Here we see loads of natural tones but mixed nicely with soft pinks, silvers and blue accents.

contemporaryinteriors_kitchen contemporaryinteriors_kitchen2

Strong use of natural colours, minimalistic spaces and a great connection with surrounding landscapes in both through large windows. (hiding in the far corner of right picture haha)

If you have any questions or queries about the blog post or about contemporary styled interiors and how to achieve one leave me a comment below or email me at eily@estilodesign.co.nz it would be awesome to hear from you!! 🙂 

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Comments (22)

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