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Cheap and Modern Decorating

Updated on June 29, 2012

Decorating your home does not have to cost a fortune. It can be fairly inexpensive (as I have stated in a previous article - HERE). All you need is a good eye for detail and a willingness to take chances. Modern, or contemporary, decorating is often thought of as clean, crisp lines. The furnishings and accessories are often geometric and interesting to look at. A modern decorating style combines glass, chrome and wood for an overall great look. This style usually has less and uses open spaces as more of a decorating element.

Danish Design Center chairs
Danish Design Center chairs | Source

To decorate in a cheap modern style you start with unique and unusual furnishings

  • Choose light colored wood
  • Look for eye catching designs
  • Clean lines do not always mean straight lines
  • Furniture placement is designed to create an intimate seating area
  • Curved chairs or round tables or platform beds
  • Vintage furnishings represent ties to the past and appreciation of form
  • Putting an antique vase on a glass table can express the timelessness of design

Many items you can find at a flea market or thrift store. Purchasing these items at a lower price and repainting them or fixing them on your own is a lot cheaper then buying them at a large chain furniture store.

Next think of your color palette

  • Colors need to be primarily neutral
  • White is most often associated with modern decorating
  • White walls open up and brighten rooms
  • Cream and beige
  • Add bold splashes of secondary colors with cushions, pillows, shades, rugs, vases, etc. to add a punch to the neutral tones
  • Keep secondary colors to a minimum

To get cheap paint, go to your local hardware store that sells paint (Home Depot, Lowes, Sherwin Williams, etc) and see if they have any miss-mixed paints. These normally run a lot cheaper then the regular paints will.

Use Simplicity

  • Rooms should feel uncluttered
  • Accessories and artwork are used sparingly to accentuate each piece
  • Use functionality
  • Rooms should have items they need and can be easy to reach
  • Kitchen should be functional and include a toaster, coffeepot and other important appliances
  • Keep cabinets free of unnecessary items

Because you want your rooms to feel uncluttered there is no need to fill every shelf to it's max or make sure every table is covered with something. With modern decorating, remember, less is more.

Bold color circle rugs to add to the kids' play room
Bold color circle rugs to add to the kids' play room | Source

Enhancing your decor and the mood of your room

  • Choose rugs with geometric patterns and shapes that blend well
  • Wooden floors
  • Stone tiles
  • Granite or slate counter tops

Instead of changing out the whole room, try to just change out a few little things such as rugs. In old houses you might be able to tear up the carpet and have an incredible real wood floor underneath that just needs a little refinishing. This would save a ton on laying new flooring.

Using Artwork

  • Exhibit striking shapes or forms
  • Use spotlights for visual impact
  • Use frames that have straight bold lines that accentuate the picture

I like to have my kids draw pictures for me using bold colors and I hang them in the house using bold black frames. This always brings out the shapes and colors of their pictures a lot more. At my mom's house, she uses the spotlights on her Terry Redlin paintings.


  • Sleek, smooth and polished
  • Chrome and stainless steel are common accents on furniture and in the kitchen
  • Lacquered finish on kitchen cabinetry

Almost all appliances and hardware for sinks come in modern types. Stainless Steel is a huge hit in our kitchen with accents of dark copper hardware for the sinks and lighting.


  • Geometry and angular shapes – when light comes in the windows it creates an artistic statement and calls attention to the interior of the home

Do you use modern decorations in your home?

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    • CassyLu1981 profile image

      CassyLu1981 5 years ago from Spring Lake, NC

      teaches12345 - My house is a bit cluttered but that is mainly because I have three small children and some things it's easier to keep in the living room then upstairs. Thanks for the comment :)

    • CassyLu1981 profile image

      CassyLu1981 5 years ago from Spring Lake, NC

      Om - modern decorating does allow a lot more creativity than say vintage. Keeps a lot more space available in the house as well. Thanks for the votes!!!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I agree with your idea to keep things uncluttered. I do keep my home simple in design as well. Wonderful ideas on hot to decorate on a budget.

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 5 years ago

      Awesome tips! I think modern decorating allows lots of room for creativity and personal interpretation. You can either go with minimalistic and chic or bold and funky. Such a fun way to decorate a home. Rated up!

    • CassyLu1981 profile image

      CassyLu1981 5 years ago from Spring Lake, NC

      K - I completely understand about all of us on the apprenticeship having our homes and yards done. So many excellent ideas (most of which I'm using or going to use in the future!). And yes, miss-mixed paints are normally 1/2 price or lower! Got to love that! Thanks for the comment :)

    • krsharp05 profile image

      Kristi Sharp 5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      Cassy, another triumph! I love the idea of using miss-mixed paints. I would bet they are a great deal cheaper. Before this apprenticeship is over our team will have our entire homes and yards completely redesigned. This hub is well presented and very easy to read. Nicely done. -K

    • CassyLu1981 profile image

      CassyLu1981 5 years ago from Spring Lake, NC

      Ann1Az2 - I completely agree on red being a bit bright if it is everywhere but pillows would be a great touch :) Glad you found it useful! Thanks for the votes and the comment!

    • Ann1Az2 profile image

      Ann1Az2 5 years ago from Orange, Texas

      Very interesting article - I'm not much of a decorator, but I love some of your suggestions, like the bold colors mixed with the neutral ones. I love red, but it is far too bright to use everywhere, so I need to get some red pillows for an accent. Thanks! Voted up and interesting and useful.