Unlike country style interiors where accessories and accents are ‘layered’ to produce a charmingly cluttered effect, modern style is built on minimalism. In the absence of objects there is space, and this space in itself is a design element. Open spaces automatically direct your eye to what few pieces are used – from an elegant streamlined chaise to a bold swirl of abstract art. So the furniture, fixtures and accessories used to define style must be strong and united by color, texture, pattern or style. Unobstructed, orderly, sparse and efficient, the clean open look of modern style would be cold and utilitarian without personality and warmth that is infused with color, texture, art and accessories.
If you wanted to create an interior with modern style, certain defining elements would need to be included. Here are the defining elements of modern style
o An open floor plan: Gone are the walls that define ‘rooms’ in traditional interiors. Modern interior spaces are open and airy often divided only by modular furniture, low cabinets, glass bricks and even moveable screen walls.
o Monochromatic simplicity: The walls, which set the backdrop for an interior of any style, are primarily neutral in a modern setting: Grey, white, and shades of brown or tan predominate while a bold color may be used on a focal wall. Colors from the walls may be repeated on the floor with low-pile carpeting, tile, concrete or wood, or the floor may offer great contrast: Gleaming polished wood floors in a deep mahogany stain, for example, may offset pale dove grey walls.
o Walls of glass: Glass is essential in modern design, both in furnishings and in simple unadorned window treatments that let the outside view become part of the room. Entire walls of glass that open to a mountain vista, ocean view or city skyline are an important part of the room’s design. If sun blocking is needed, minimalist solar shades are often used so that the outside view is not obstructed. If there is no good view to highlight, one is often created with an indoor waterfall, modern fireplace, or piece of oversized wall art.
o The importance of color in accents: Against this monochromatic backdrop, accents assume a crucial role in setting the style and tone of the room. Bold bursts of red, ochre, cerulean blue or fresh mown green are repeated throughout the space. Style is set by accents as well: An abstract painting reminiscent of Jackson Pollock will have a different impact from retro wall art décor from the 1930s. Colors that appear in an abstract painting or metal wall sculpture will be found again in toss pillows, vases, table sculptures or lighting fixtures. Because glass, leather and polished metal are so predominant, the opposite texture will provide relief; so area rugs of sisal or coir, tufted nubby fabrics, and woven baskets or twig arrangements are often used in the mix.
o The importance of lighting: Personality and style is defined by lighting that is used to highlight art and accessories and convey mood. Unobtrusive fixtures, such as recessed lights or halogen pot lights on dimmer switches, allow visual excitement to be created above a dramatic wall art or soften the space around a dining area. Beams of light may even be used to create art through the pattern or design that they project upon the wall.
o Furniture: Modular pieces abound, such as sofas of leather and stackable chrome tables. Glass table tops keep the look open and spacious. Don’t feel limited to black and white. Leather and micro suede in brown, grey, white are other options. Geometric fabric patterns, stripes, dots and swirls can be intermixed within the same color family to create visual excitement and continuity throughout a space.
o Sleek modern appliances: From the hi-def flat screen TV to the industrial edge of sleek stainless steel kitchen appliances, function and style merge in every room. Clutter is banned from countertops and only those accessories or gadgets that contribute to style are in view.