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The Elements of Modern Style

By panamacity56611345, Sep 23 2017 03:18PM

This week, we'll be going over the basics of modern style in terms of interior design.

This one is a bit tricky to define. On one hand, designers and students of design who are sticklers to their terms for periods of design will say that "modern style" refers to a distinct design period that peaked in the 1950's and 1960's called "Mid-century Modern." Think AMC's series, "Mad Men" and the homes with large window panes, flat lines, and multiple levels in Palm Springs with interiors fit for Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack. While we do see some examples of that style to one degree or another even today, the term "modern style" is more commonly used as a way to describe what's fashionable right now. So "modern" is used interchangeably with "contemporary."

For our purposes, we'll go with the more popular use of the word to describe a style that has had a long, overarching lifespan with several incarnations over the decades. In other words, when people talk about "modern" design or style, this is what they're most likely referring to. So what are the major elements of this style? What makes a design "modern?"

One of the most important things in modern design is form or shape. Clean, straight lines, and simple, geometric shapes and curves are the go-to here. An overall emphasis on openness, lack of clutter, and simplicity is also critical. An up-and-coming trend in the tile business that's particularly relevant here is large-format, thin porcelain tile. This type of product hits a lot of the boxes for modern interior design: the sheer size offers a bold impression and fewer grout lines means a more open, seamless look overall.

Colors and materials can vary a bit for this design. Neutrals colors are the mainstays (which is why grays and whites are so popular now), but it's also possible to add in some bold (usually primary) colors as accents. Trending colors to keep an eye on are blues and greens, so if a project that calls for a modern design with a splash of color, these soothing colors are a great choice.

Materials are all over the place, frankly. Metals and other "cold" materials, like plastics, are almost stereotypically modern, but some people like to warm up their design by using wood (or at least wood-look materials). The "warmth" or "coolness" of material selection depends almost entirely on an individual's sense of style.

And that's one of the great things about modern style. It's very easy to adjust and tailor to an individual's style - the rules aren't too rigid. So one day, you may meet someone who digs the "ultra-modern" look; and another day, you might run across someone who prefers a warmer, more traditional touch. Overall, what we're looking for are neutral colors, and a simple, minimalistic design that favors openness and clean lines.

Reprinted with kind permission from Travis Province,

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