Confused by Contemporary?

(ARA) – Mixed up by modern? Confused by what’s considered contemporary? With more emphasis on home design today, it can be difficult for homeowners to distinguish between the array of design styles.

Contemporary (or “modern” as some may call it) is characterized by clean lines and smooth surfaces without intricate details. But that doesn’t mean your home will look stark, cold and sterile. Long gone are the days of boxy furniture and eccentric decorating. Today’s updated contemporary look is a blend of comfortable, livable elements that create a sophisticated, fresh feel.

To create this look in your home, start by incorporating these five key elements: color, metal accents, texture, wood tone and lighting.


Contemporary design is offset by neutral color palettes. When painting the walls, choose shades of brown, taupe, cream or pure white. However, neutral does not mean boring, so be sure to infuse the room with small splashes of a more vibrant, bold color. This may include painting one wall with an accent color, adding a bold red sofa, or adding vivid accessories, such as decorative pillows, towels, rugs or art. Just be sure not to over-accessorize — the key to contemporary design is simplicity.

Metal Accents

Stainless steel, nickel and chrome metals are prevalent in contemporary design, providing a decorative framework of sleek finishes. Furniture, end tables, lamps and even bathroom fixtures featuring beautiful metal accents provide this look in all rooms of the home. In the bath, Moen’s new Icon suite features clean, geometric lines, a high-arc spout and Chrome and Brushed Nickel finishes. Plus, with accessories, such as a robe hook, decorative tank lever, towel bars, and glass shelf, it’s easy for homeowners to coordinate the urban, stylish look throughout the entire room.


To offset the clean, smooth lines of the metal accents, use fabrics such as silk, crushed velvet, linen or wool in your room to add texture and create a more natural, inviting feeling. In the bathroom, this may include fluffy rugs, towels or fabric shower curtains. In family rooms, this could include over-stuffed pillows, window treatments or the furniture upholstery. Texture can also be added to walls. New wallpapers made of linen can be an interesting way to add depth to the vertical surfaces of the room. But, one word of caution — stay away from elaborate patterns or intricate details when choosing fabrics, as this will confuse the clean, contemporary look you are trying to achieve.


When it comes to wood surfaces, contemporary designs bring out the extremes, featuring very light or very dark tones. When incorporating woods into your design, look beyond the coffee table and utilize wood surfaces in accessories such as picture frames, large dramatic flower pots or shelves. Feel free to mix the design styles of the wood accessories, but be consistent with the wood tone and carry it throughout the room for a professional appearance.


Lighting is extremely important in contemporary design, often seen as the key in illuminating the room’s design. When choosing lighting for your home, there are many new choices available that provide interesting, clean lines. Track lighting or floor lamps are popular in contemporary design and often utilize metals or bold colors to reinforce the other metal accessories or splashes of color incorporated into the room.

By looking at these five different elements and incorporating them into your home d├ęcor, you’ll be on the path to creating a sophisticated, yet contemporary-styled home. Just make sure that you choose items that you love and elements that inspire you and you’ll be on the right path to a beautiful and inviting room.

For more information about Moen’s Icon Collection, visit or call (800) BUY-MOEN.

Courtesy of ARA Content