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What is Modern design? 

Modern interior design encompasses a lot of different incarnations, which can make it difficult to define. In its simplest terms, modern interior design refers to the reflection of the modern art movement on the interiors of the home. There are several central characteristics and design themes seen throughout modern design, however, that could be described in part as the definition.

With roots in Scandinavian and German architecture and design, modern style concepts are decidedly fuss-free and simple. The furnishings and decor focus on the use of neutral materials and earthy colors while eliminating unnecessary detailing. And when it comes to contemporary interior design styles, you may see hits of color. However, with modern interior design styles, the focus is placed on the use of monochromatic colors, and patternless fabrications set among whitewashed rooms.

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Characteristics of a Modern Interior Design

A lot of times modern and contemporary are used interchangeably, but they do have distinct differences. Modern interior design style actually was born out of a design movement at the turn of the 20th century. Contemporary interior design style is more about what is popular in the here and now and not tied to any specific era.

Here are some characteristics of modern interior design style:


  • Simple and unadorned

Influenced by German and Scandinavian architecture and design, modern interior design style is simple and unadorned. The most important quality of this style is being functional. Form always follows function.

  • Natural materials and earthy tones

Modern interior design usually also includes the use of natural materials and neutral or earthy colors. Think unpainted wood, metals, leather and monochromatic colors.

  • Clean Lines

In modern style architecture and interior design, the emphasis is on fewer curves and more clean horizontal and vertical lines. Structural elements like concrete or beams are also often left exposed.

  • Uncluttered Spaces

If you need uncluttered spaces to keep your stress levels from sky rocketing, then you will love the modern interior design which emphasizes uncluttered spaces. If something doesn’t have a purpose, then it is not added.

  • Natural light and unadorned windows

In modern designed homes, natural light is very important so lots of windows are important, but they are typically unadorned.

  • Simple, functional furniture

Modern furniture like architecture emphasizes simplicity and function. In modern style homes, you will usually see low, horizontal furnishings with clean lines. And the furniture is usually made of natural materials like unpainted wood, leathers, steel, chrome or glass.

For furniture to be considered modern, it also has to be made of smooth surfaces and have very little ornamentation. Back at the beginning of the modernism movement, furniture factories were just started to get popular, replacing hand-carved, detailed pieces.

  • Monochrome color palette

With a modern design usually a monochrome color palette is used. The main colors are typically black and white with some primary colors (yellow, red and blue) to complement the monochrome color palette.

How cowhide can complement the modern interior design style:

A more neutral palette, the unique combinations of black and browns you find in cowhide can bring a note of elegance. Even rooms dressed in modern combinations of grey, black and brown can be enhanced with a touch of cowhide.

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Looking to achieve a Modern look for your home? Browse our featured Modern interior design ideas here to create a space you love!

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