What Is Contemporary Home Decor? And Is Right For Me?

Explore what is contemporary home décor and is right for me? Your journey might begin with a design style quiz while other times it’s one piece of home decor that inspires you. 

No matter how you discovered a home decor style, you  want to start designing. 

contemporary home decor

If you think contemporary designs may be for you, then you’ve come to the right place. 

What Is Contemporary? 

Contemporary Home Decor
Hunter Douglas

Contemporary, in terms of design style, is a type of home decor and interior design that is clean, simple, and modern. It describes a look popularized post-2000. As time passes, contemporary styles change.

Contemporary defines the current times. You’ll see stark contrasts, sharp lines, and simple furniture in contemporary home decor. But is this any different than modern?

Modern Vs. Contemporary

contemporary home decor
Amy Troute Inspired Interior Design

People confuse modern for contemporary, and use the terms the same. But when it comes to design style, the two are different. When someone says “modern” they mean mid-century modern.

Mid-century modern is inspired by the 1940s to the 1970s. It’s different from contemporary which is solely inspired by the 21st-century. Looking at art terms can help us find the difference between modern and contemporary. 

Modern art is an expression of individuality. Contemporary art is about social impact, with current society as a base. You won’t see wild shapes or colors in contemporary art, but it defines modern art. 

Contemporary Colors 

contemporary home decor
Phi Builders

Most design styles either have bright or soft colors, but contemporary home decor has neutral colors. This doesn’t mean you can’t have the colors you want and still have a contemporary style, it’s the standard. 


Grey is a popular contemporary color. It is as neutral as you can get and goes well with both black and white. Use it as a backdrop for your other colors or pair it with silvers for a refined look.


Black is another popular contemporary color. Unlike white and grey, it isn’t quite as cool and can provide warmth to a cool room. Contemporary colors are cool, so having black can contrast that. 

Related: 50 Contemporary Bathroom Design Ideas


White is the most popular contemporary color. It fits in with any home decor, especially contemporary home decor. It’s best as a backdrop, giving you a blank slate.


Navy is popular in contemporary homes. While blue is a natural cool color, navy is one of the warmest blues on the spectrum. Because of this, it works well with almost any color.


Both terracotta and burgundy are great red-brown options. Brown isn’t quite as common as black in contemporary home decor, so getting a reddish-brown is a great solution. Other options are cinnamon, brick, and russet. 


If you need purple in your life and your home, eggplant is the perfect contemporary color for you. It is dark, blends well with other colors, and can give an otherwise boring room that oomph that you’ve been looking for. 

Geometric Shapes And Lines

contemporary home decor
Otto/Walker Architects

This may be the most important aspect of contemporary home decor and designs. Contemporary rooms have definite lines and strong shapes. Soft isn’t a word you’d use to describe contemporary homes. 

Contemporary homes need definite shapes and usually sharp corners. You can choose any shape you want, and each of them has a different effect. Here are some of the most common design shapes. 

Related: What Makes A Contemporary Living Room Look Beautiful And Welcoming? We Have The Answer


Circles are the softest shape. If you love contemporary designs but don’t love the sharp lines, then consider using circles as your inspiration. 


Squares and rectangles are the most popular shape for contemporary designs. This is because they occur naturally and are seen in most design styles. You can use the shapes as hybrids, bridging the gap. 


Triangles are simple shapes that have a delicate appearance. Many would claim that they appear more feminine than other shapes. They work well with softer hues and sheer materials. But then again, they are nearly as versatile as squares. 


Although you can see every shape in every other design style, hexagons and octagons are some of the few that primarily occur in contemporary home decor. They can define a living space and are usually focal points.

Invisible Lighting

contemporary home decor
 Felicia Khor Designs

If you’ve seen many contemporary room designs, you probably notice one thing in common. The light seems to be coming from nowhere. This is due to recessed lighting or hidden lights. Contemporary rooms usually have good lighting, but the source is often invisible. 

Related: How To Plan And Design A Contemporary Bedroom

Recessed Lighting

Recessed lighting is a popular way to light a room without your light source showing. The lights in recessed lighting are hidden in the ceiling or wall out of view. So they can provide light that looks natural. 

Deck Lights

Deck lights aadd light to a room without the light taking up much space. They are easy to install and will look like small circles of light that come from nowhere. Make sure you get some that aren’t solar powered. 

Flush Lights

Flush lights are flush with a wall or ceiling. This makes them almost invisible as they don’t take up any room and blend in with the ceiling. You can get wide flush lights that can shine a light on your room. 

Backlit Mirrors

Backlit mirrors are a sneaky way to add light to a room without adding lamps or huge ceiling lights. You can also backlight furniture if you prefer to forgo the mirrors. When you do this, the light seems to be coming from a portal behind the furniture. 

Bar Lights

Bar lights are oblong lights that are often used in bathrooms or dining rooms. They are perfect for adding over a couch or above a coffee table. They aren’t invisible but they are less dramatic.

Grazing Lights

Grazing lights can make light that feels like it’s coming from nowhere. They can be placed on the wall to make triangular patterns or on the ceiling for a softer, larger downward glow. 

bathroom with a contemporary decor
Tuggey Interior Design

Is Contemporary Right For Me?

To help you see if contemporary is for you, we’ve designed a quiz that will help you figure it out. Answer the questions and scroll down to tally your results. 

1) Which Type Of Fabrics Do You Prefer?

a) solid 

b) patterned

2) Which Colors Do You Tend To Be Drawn Towards?

a) neutral colors

b) bright colors

3) Which Color Temperature Makes You Happy?

a) cool colors

b) warm colors

4) Which Word Do You Like Better?

a) simplicity 

b) eccentricity 

5) Are You A Minimalist? 

a) yes

b) no

6) Which Type Of Color Coordination Do You Like Better?

a) contrasting colors

b) harmonious colors

7) Which Type Of Material Suits You?

a) glass, chrome

b) wood, stone

8) Which Would You Rather Put On Your Fridge?

a) artistical decal

b) a child’s drawing

9) Do You Prefer Repurposed Decor Or New Decor?

a) new

b) repurposed 

10) Finally, Which Would You Be More Likely To Display? 

a) a sculpture by a famous artist 

b) a guitar signed by a famous musician 

contemporary home decor
Shelley Cekirge


Now that you’ve taken the quiz, it’s time to find out if contemporary is your design style. 

If You Had Mostly A’s 

If you scored A’s, then you love contemporary designs. Now, it’s time to start shopping because nothing will make you feel more like yourself than contemporary home decor.

If You Had Mostly B’s

If you got B’s, then contemporary design style probably isn’t for you. You’ll want something brighter, more earthy, or with more personality. Self-expression is important, so look a different design style. 

If You Had Equal A’s And B’s

If you had the same amount of A’s and B’s, contemporary could be for you. You should get contemporary pieces for your home but not solely contemporary. You want a transitional style home. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

What Are Some Ideas For Contemporary Home Décor Upholstery Fabric?

Contemporary upholstery fabric has bold, soft, or subtle patterns. The fabric can be silk, wool, or cotton, to name a few.

Keep in mind how contemporary home decor fabric isn’t tied to a specific period, unlike modern counterpart fabrics. Contemporary means current, it’s always changing.  

The main features of contemporary design styles include subtle graphic patterns with streamlined, modern furniture. Most settings will use neutral colors with bold shade pops to accentuate a living space. 

What Are Some Contemporary Candle Holders?

Contemporary candle holders will add flair to a living space. Metal, marble, and glass candle holders are popular. 

The candle holders complement windowsills or end tables. A contemporary flameless candle adds light and style to a living room, master bedroom, or en suite bathroom. 

For an elegant environment, add a few to your fireplace mantel.  

What Are Decorative Contemporary Bowls?

Contemporary decorative bowls are stylish additions to any kitchen setting. Before you decide on what you want, determine what their purpose will be. How will they be used, and who will use them?

A decorative bowl can make a statement or serve a purpose. The bowls can stand alone, or you can fill them with potpourri or other designer ideas.  

The materials for contemporary decorative bowls include glass, wood, sea coral, and metal. 

What Is Dark Academia Contemporary Home Décor?

Dark academia design features dark colors, rich textures, and vintage decor. As a dark aesthetic, the style relies on literature, academics, mystery, and the arts. It takes inspiration from European architecture, history, Gothic and Dark influences.

The style’s primary color is brown. Everything about dark academia revolves around brown hues and shades. When accented, ivory and gold are the most popular colors.

Contemporary Home Décor Conclusion

When choosing contemporary home décor designs, your personality is most important. Create a living space that revolves around you and your family. 

Interior decor should reflect the personalities of those who live in the home. Remember, details matter the most. Specific, tiny accents can give the biggest impression. 

Contemporary home décor is about comfort. Your home should be a comfortable environment. Once you’ve achieved that, everything else will fall into place.