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How to Make a Home Look Modern: Decorating for Beginners

Updated on May 25, 2017

When I first moved into my new house, I was excited. I loved the house, we could turn it into five bedrooms and we could re-decorate.

For years I had the same brown suede couch, the same oval wooden coffee table, and the same traditional style that was borderline country. There’s nothing wrong with a country look, but I was ready for something different. I wanted something modern. Something out of the magazines.

The problem was, I have never re-decorated anything with a style in mind, so this took a bit of research, a little bit of thought, and some planning.

These are the easiest ways to transition from a country style to modern.

Geometrical Shapes

Pick a shape and go with it. I went with squares. I switched my traditional, wooden coffee table out for a nice, rectangle glass one, complete with a square candle garden. Then, there is a rug with geometrical shapes underneath the coffee table to complete the look. This might not be for everyone, though.

There are more ways than one to include modern, geometrical shapes into a home. Switch out old dishes for modern, square dishes. Picking up a few pieces of wall art will do the trick too. Simply putting a few new decorative pillows on the couch that feature squares or circles will help transform a living room. Stay away from a checkered pattern as this can appear more country than modern.


There is something about mirrors that instantly seems to say modern and chic. Pick up some gorgeous framed mirrors for a luxurious modern look, or stick to a budget by heading to the nearest department store for some mirrors that simply stick to the wall. Those are available in every shape, from circles to hearts.

As a bonus, using more mirrors can create the illusion of more space, so this will work out perfect in smaller apartments.


Modern isn’t just about geometric shapes and picking out the perfect wall art. It’s also about functionality. Instead of filling up a home with clutter from floor to ceiling or putting twenty pictures on the wall, minimize things.

Throw the extra tables that have no use in the yard sale pile and stick with a few key pieces of wall art instead of several pieces. When homes don’t look cluttered, they instantly look more stylish, and homeowners are that much closer to their home looking like one of those gorgeous centrefolds in a magazine.

Fun Accent Colors

Accent colors are what really make a home shine. Right now, my favorite color combination is black and baby blue. The baby blue is the accent color, and I love the contrast it has against black, like my black leather couch. For the most part, however, lighter colors are not considered modern. I think it works in my home because of the contrast and other modern accents, but it can also give off a traditional feel if not done correctly.

For lighter furniture, go with a brighter accent color that will really stand out, like cyan, red or yellow. Placing a few vibrant pillows on the couch or vases on the table in that happy accent color will add a modern touch to any room.

Go with Glass

Adding a bit of glass to any room will help create an airy feel that goes hand in hand with a modern style. It doesn’t matter whether it is a coffee table, end table or even a dining room table, it will instantly color coordinate with everything in the room, and it will make it appear more modern. As a bonus, you can do this for under 100 dollars. Depending on the piece you want, you might be able to find something at a local thrift store for under 20 bucks.

Say No to Patterns

Other than modern patterns and geometrical shapes, just stay away from patterns. If you don’t know whether you should go with a certain pattern or not, just say no. Those fuzzy pillows may look adorable, and that intricate damask rug may be pretty, but it can also look like something your grandmother would buy.

If solid colors sound a bit too boring, stick with shapes and do an online search for some contemporary artwork. You’ll be happy and your home will still look modern.

Overall, transitioning a home from traditional to modern just takes a little thought and planning. Take some tips from this blog, and then keep on looking. There is a way to transform every home into a modern, chic living space that is worthy of its own magazine centrefold.


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    • Angel198625 profile image

      Amber Lynn 9 months ago

      My living room doesn't have a closet either. It has a sectional couch, an entertainment stand with a television, etc. on it, a coffee table and an inversion table in it. I like it :)

    • Magicality LM profile image

      Magicality LM 9 months ago

      It's always unfortunate that decoration examples always feature clean, sterile living rooms. Example: The purple one doesn't have a single closet ... You'd have to try that at home.