Unlike modern design, contemporary design does not have as many rules to follow. It is based on the idea that functionality and simplicity should be the core of your design. Additionally, contemporary design relies on clean, smooth lines and a neutral color base. All of this leads to some common rules that many people follow when they design contemporary homes, such as avoiding unnecessary frills and superfluous pieces of furniture. However, in contemporary design, there is always a moment when it is appropriate to break the rules. Below are five examples.
Frills, Tassels, and Pleats
Traditional frills, tassels, and even pleats are not found in most contemporary design. This is because frills and tassels tend to ruin clean lines and draw too much attention to a single piece, which can break up the cohesiveness of a room. However, in some cases, a couple of tassels, an understated frill, or an over-sized pleat can still look natural in a contemporary room. For example, an over-sized pleat in a chair or couch can help guide the eye seamlessly around the corner of a room.
If you have these embellishments, it is important to keep them as neutral as possible by keeping them the same color as the surrounding fabrics and avoiding any patterning on them.
Ornate carvings are similar to frills and tassels in that they can distract from the overall flow of the room. However, you can still use a couple in your room if you follow these ideas. You should avoid ornate carvings on the end of contemporary furniture, for example, on the top of a bedpost. However, if your entire piece of furniture is ornately carved, for example, a chair with legs and a backing that looks like it is rope, then your piece will be less distracting. Also, carvings should be small and understated, not a focus piece for your room.
Contemporary design usually features either large, bold patterns or solid colors. Intricate designs are considered distracting and superfluous. Intricate designs can still be used in small quantities, though. For example, if your couch is a solid color, then you can use one or two throw pillows with more intricate patterns. However, avoid using intricate patterns on all of your throw pillows. Similarly, you may have an intricate pattern on your drapery ties, but not on your drapes.
Sharp Color Contrasts
Contemporary design tends to showcase blending. For example, you might see a room that is several shades of gray with accents in black and white. Or you may see a room that is various shades of blue. While you can use a pop color in contemporary design, it is not usually too far off from the main color tone of the room. However, there are some circumstances where a sharp color contrast would be acceptable. For example, if your furniture is wood with upholstered seats, then you can get away with a sharp contrast between the shade of the wood and the color of the upholstery. If you do this, though, you should make sure that all of the furniture in the room comes from the same set, matching the style of the contrast exactly.
Contemporary design emphasizes function. This means that you should not fill your room with extra furniture that you do not use. However, the definition of what is useful is highly individual. For example, small end tables may not be considered useful by some people and a coffee table might be preferred. Similarly, if you occasionally host book clubs or afternoon tea, then adding more seating to a room may not be a problem, even if you do not use it every day.
In all design, rules are meant to be broken. However, this is especially true in contemporary design.