Think spring… think contemporary styling

by Diana Fox

It’s that time of year — another change of season. The passage of one leads to the celebration of another. We often feel their underlying effects and change our routine to accommodate the obvious. In the fall and winter we prefer to stay cozy and indoors, seeking warmth and comfort from our home’s environment. In the spring and summer we longingly anticipate the extended hours of sunlight, experience a renewed sense of energy and reclaim a desire to clean, organize and de-clutter our spaces.

Designing contemporary interiors is a natural fit for springtime style. Infused with a ‘less is more’ attitude and defined with a simplicity for smooth, clean lines, uncomplicated shapes, strong colors, neutral elements and uncluttered details, contemporary rooms are both functional and comfortable. They are an appropriate choice for a fast-paced lifestyle and offer a pleasing mix for a sleek, inviting atmosphere.

Although this look may seem cold and stark to some, it’s exciting, urban and fresh to others. Contemporary styling is an appealing look. Interiors make a simple, bold statement without a lot of fuss and can easily fit the traditional needs of an active family or represent a distinct statement for those who love the use of line, shape and form.

Furniture and accessories are selected with care. Don’t overcrowd your rooms and notice how few accessories are actually needed in a contemporary environment. Resist the temptation to fill your rooms with small collections; instead, choose furniture and accessories with strong, classic architectural shapes and curves.

An effective modern room shows best when a few large pieces are positioned with enough empty space around them to create impact and visual appeal. Both the accessories and the art are typically large scale. Highlight art by placing sculptures on columns or pedestals. A sparse background and minimal accessories allow beautiful pieces to stand out and become noticed. This is one of the design elements that sets this casual, contemporary environment apart from other decorating styles.

Contemporary furniture exhibits clean, simple lines. Uncluttered, uncomplicated, unrestricted. Skirts, if used, are tailored and have no additional trimmings, such as fringe or tassels. Legs are exposed and in chunky, solid shapes. Accent pillows in geometric shapes and patterns add wonderful color and important texture and enhance a stylish modern décor.

The color palette in a contemporary interior can be anything from neutrals to black. Add drama and warmth to this setting with the use of bright, bold colors. If you love red, paint it on an accent wall or choose a vivid, contemporary fabric for a chair to easily attract attention. Select a sophisticated combination of classic taupe and chocolate brown or put together a trio of turquoise, orange and cinnamon pillows to toss on an off-white sofa. Let your fascination with color give you courage to try new ideas and express yourself with something creative, fresh and inspirational.

Introduce texture to your rooms by utilizing fabric and other architectural materials. Use natural fibers such as leather, wool, cotton or silk for timeless styling. Wood tones can be light or dark. The use of metal is quite attractive, either in a ceiling loft with exposed pipes or accented on occasional tables or accessories. Glass, metal, stone and wood all fit well into a contemporary interior. When an area rug is added it easily anchors the smooth surfaces and provides texture to the room setting in a very pleasing manner.

Lighting is especially important in a contemporary setting. Select unusual fixtures with sculptural interest, clean lines and accents of bold or metallic color. Also, consider recessed, indirect and highlight lighting to feature your furniture, accessories and artwork.
Pay attention to the background details, such as soaring ceilings, tall windows and the sculptural or geometric elements. Look at the architectural shapes and curves. A successful modern look encompasses design fundamentals like color, form, texture, line and shape. A combination, when established, creates a well-designed, decorated contemporary setting.

Let your springtime contemporary spirit soar… go bold, sparse and functional.

Diana specializes in interior arrangement, room design makeover, color consultation and relocating services. She has been assisting clients since 1986 and can be reached by phone at (951) 202-7859, e-mail at or on the Web at