Modern interior design is sleek and minimal but often gets confused with other design styles. It originated in the early 1900s and has never fallen out of favor.
If you prefer a clean look and minimal decor, modern design is a good fit. Here’s how it started, the modern design subtypes, and how to incorporate modern elements into your home.
The History of Modern Interior Design
Modern interior design emerged at the beginning of the 20th century as industrialization took hold. It was also a revolt against the more ornate styles that preceded it. Famous architects like Frank Lloyd Wright helped spur the movement with his Prairie-style houses that mimicked their natural surroundings and contained minimal furniture.
Other architects, like Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius, adopted the modern style, creating structures full of geometric shapes, concrete, ample windows, and minimal furniture.
The modern architecture movements inspired modern interior design, where furnishing was slim and low to the ground, decor was minimal, there was a focus on large windows, and an indoor-outdoor connection.
Many think that modern refers to “now,” but it doesn’t. (That’s contemporary design.) Instead, modern interior design is influenced by the early to mid-1900s, featuring homes with right angles, straight lines, natural elements, minimal decor, and streamlined furniture.
Types of Modern Interior Design
The modern movement paved the way for the later, very popular mid-century modern style, minimal, post-modern, and contemporary styles. There are even newer styles like Scandinavian, modern farmhouse, and transitional with modern influences.
Some famous modern architectural types include Prairie-style, mid-century modern homes, ranch-style houses, Bauhaus, and brutalist styles.
Modern Interior Design Characteristics: Get the Look
Here’s how the original modern interior design movement looked and how to design a modern house interior.
Use a Neutral, Earthy Color Palette
The modern interior design color palette contains white, beige, black, and muted earth tones. It’s big on natural materials, and the color scheme reflects that.
Go For Long, Low, and Simple Furniture
Traditional, modern furniture features long, straight lines and sits low to the ground. A popular style still prevalent today is the tulip chair, which includes one leg in the middle and gives off a retro look.
If you’re trying to give your home a modern makeover, look for furniture with straight lines and geometric shapes.
Modern interiors feature a mix of materials. While there’s always been a big push for natural, raw materials like wood, steel, and concrete, some elements are made of molded plywood or plastic.
Use Minimal Decor
Minimalism is a trait of almost all modern designs, which means intentional furniture and sparse decor.
Opt for an Open Concept Floor Plan and Large Windows
The open concept became popular with the first modern homes in the early 1900s and is still prevalent. Another prominent feature is large windows that allow natural light to flood the house.
Examples of Modern Interior Design
Here’s a look at some examples of modern interior design.
Modern Bedroom Design
The low-to-the-ground bed and corner tulip chair give this bedroom a modern look. The color palette is kept neutral but soft, perfect for unwinding at night.
Modern Living Room Design
In this living room, the designer incorporated many natural materials like wood, concrete, leather, and linen to create a textured feel. The floor-to-ceiling windows add to the modern look and allow the room to fill with daylight.
Modern Bathroom Design
The sharp right angles, neutral colors, and copious amounts of glass give this bathroom a modern style. The crystal chandelier adds a touch of glam.
Modern Kitchen Design
The designers chose sleek materials and straight lines to modernize this kitchen, giving it a timeless look. The mix of wood with the stone counters and acrylic accent table gives the room contrast.