Modern Home Furnishings and Accessories
Do you think of yourself as modern in regard to home decor? Modern interiors derive from early 20th century minimalistic design movements such as Bauhaus, art deco and mid-century modern styling from the 1950s and early 60s.
The most popular examples of modern furnishings are chairs from the German Bauhaus school including Cesca and Wassily chairs by Marcel Breuer known for their clean lines and economy of scale. The same is true for the Barcelona chair by Mies van der Rohe and the Eames lounge chair and ottoman by Herman Miller.
These quintessential pieces incorporate elements from modern art and architecture. Because they are valuable and difficult to find, many furniture manufacturers have replicated these classics.
Before you jump in and start buying accessories and furnishings, here are some characteristics of modern decor to get you moving in the right direction.
Many modern homes consist of a pleasing combination of sleek design and mid-century design elements. No clinically stark interiors and no overly decorated rooms. The feel is sophisticated, light and airy featuring straight lines, sleek and smooth surfaces. Abstract and geometric shapes are the antithesis of ornate decoration.
The use of aluminum, light wood, acrylic, stone and fiberglass are the hallmarks of modern interiors. Modern interiors feature the best of styles from past modernism movements. The focus is on curved lines, neutral backgrounds, shots of bold color, natural textures and open spaces.
Stick to these simple guidelines when furnishing your home and you will be enjoying modern decor before you know it.
A current example of modern fabrics consist of a new generation of environmentally-friendly textiles. In the past, modern upholstery fabric choices included leather, velvet, barkcloth and horsehair. Social responsibility has ushered in a new wave of fabrics based on fair trade practices, natural dyes, organic growing conditions and sustainable fibers. These fabrics are durable and textural, visually pleasing and comfortable.
Cotton, linen, silk and burlap are great choices. However, hemp, abaca and bamboo fabrics have become increasingly popular. This is due to their minimal impact on the environment from harvest to manufacture.
Imagine if you will, a monochromatic color scheme grounded in neutrals like varying intensities of beige, gray, brown, cream and white. To some people this color palette might be the height of boring but neutrals actually promote harmony and calm. Add interest by introducing an accent wall or ceiling in a contrasting color, black accents, bold pillows or bright throw rugs.
Lighting sets the mood for a modern home but it can also serve as a design statement. As in any interior design style your home should have a balance of natural, general, task and accent lighting. Within each of these categories the choices of lighting styles are limitless.
Modern lighting choices offer function and form in one neat package. For example, an Italian table lamp made from gleaming chrome with an organic glass shade offers flawless task lighting. A sculptural lamp created from moldable silicone provides soft ambient light. Which one of these styles matches your personality and lighting needs?
Modern chandeliers can be playful with bendable wire arms or classic designs, like a rectangular dining fixture made from wood and brushed nickel. An vintage style Arco floor lamp curves with a graceful arc creating overhead illumination. Track lighting is also a suitable choice. It is easy to install and can spotlight specific areas, artwork and accessories.
Look for furniture pieces with simple lines and little ornamentation. Upholstered pieces should feature natural fabrics or leather and preferably in a neutral solid color. Materials for dining and occasional chairs, tables and bookshelves include woods such as, poplar, ash and beech--think Danish modern, plexiglass, glass and silver-tone metals.
Floors and Windows
Keep carpet to a minimum. Bare floors of stained concrete, tile and wood add to the clean nature of modern design. You can create a bit of warmth with jute, sea grass or shag rugs which are all excellent choices. Or try introducing color and pattern with a geometric or abstract wool rug.
Maintain design consistency with light and airy window treatments, blinds or solar shades in colors that blend in with the walls. This creates a sense of openness in the smallest of rooms. Woven wood blinds, cellular shades and curtains in natural fabrics keep the lines simple and are a good fit for any modern room.
Modern artwork encompasses a variety of different media and styles. It has two distinct characteristics: expressionism and abstract. These encompass surrealism, cubism, fauvism, abstract expressionism, post-impressionism and symbolism. Experts define modernism as works created before and after World War II between the 1930s and 1960s.
Artwork is an investment and very personal statement. Out of all the design elements in your home artwork is one of the most defining features so choose carefully. Whether your choices are wild and whimsical or subdued and thought provoking, find artwork that reflects your personality and the tone of your modern home.
Home accessories are the final layer of design in any home. A key feature of modern accessorizing is the use of hand-created decorative pieces. Source local artisans through galleries and art festivals.
Seek out colors and designs that will meld with your preferred color palette. Concentrate on accessories made from natural materials like glass and light reflective metals. Keep well-chosen accessories to a minimum. Remember, clutter is taboo in a modern home.
More Ideas for Modern Furnishings and Accessories
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2012 Linda Chechar