You would have to be living under a design rock not to know home décor styles have been shifting from traditional to contemporary for the past decade. We made a temporary stop along the way to embrace Transitional styling but continued our trek towards a cleaner, brighter contemporary interior.
If you think you can’t update your style because you live in a traditional house take a look at what comprises contemporary.
First up, light. Not just lighting fixtures but natural daylight. One of the biggest differences between old fashion and modern is the introduction of fresh sparkling light. Start by taking down your draperies. If you need drapes for privacy consider replacing heavy fabrics with lighter weight sheers or shades that can be push completely open during the daytime hours and only closed when privacy is essential. Don’t forget to clean your windows every three months to keep a glistening view.
Take a look at your windows. If you have mullions . . . those removable grids that always seem to keep falling out . . . go ahead and take them out. Today’s windows are wide-open panes of glass that invite the exterior view inside. Time to replace your windows? Take a look at today’s new contemporary collections from Marvin Windows and Pella.
Paint transforms everything it touches. Select a pure shade of white to give your home and woodwork a fresh, clean look. Off whites and beige tones read traditional and out of date. If you love color, don’t despair, select an accent wall and give it a splash of attitude. Contemporary is all about pure colors.
I know this next suggestion is going to send all my male readers through the roof but it has to be said. White, shades of gray or lighter-natural wood tones work best with with the contemporary style. I know men hate to see anyone paint wood but once it happens they generally have to admit, “Why didn’t we do this sooner?”
Wood flooring plays a big part in setting the tone for any room but not all houses have hardwood floors. If you have wall-to-wall carpet consider replacing it with a shorter tight looped pile carpet. Select a light color or go dark like charcoal or espresso. Can’t afford to replace your carpet. Invest in a sisal or shag accent rug in a contracting color to go on top of your existing carpet.
If you are going to install new hardwoods or have your existing hardwoods refinished steer away from reddish or blond wood tones. Even red oak can be refinished in a stunning brown or gray finish. If you are installing pre-finished flooring don’t automatically go for the smooth, dark chocolate flooring. A floor without any texture looks plastic and shows every spec of dust, dog hair or scratches.
Biggest misconception about getting this look is making everything match. The best contemporary spaces embrace all types of styles. An antique furniture piece adds interest to a room. Just don’t over do it. One or two antique pieces look fine, more than two and the space quickly turns back to traditional. It also helps if you refresh the antique in a lighter more natural finish.
Go ahead and use an old farm table in your dinning room but keep the chairs more contemporary and select a great chandelier. It can be metal, crystal or glass. Just keep the style artsy and interesting.
Biggest mistake, clutter. The most distinctive feature of any contemporary space is a lack of clutter. Tabletops, fireplace mantels, bookshelves don’t have to be empty but they have to be well-edited. Select the most interesting items you want to display, find the perfect spot for them and then fill in, one item or book at a time. When the look is perfect . . . stop! You don’t have to display everything that you own. It takes discipline to create a well-edited room but so worth it.
Any room’s style can be transformed. Decide on the look you want to achieve and go for it. You’ll never be happy living in a space that doesn’t truly reflect your dream bravura.