Your Guide to Contemporary Design

It’s hip, it’s happening, it’s here and it’s now. It’s the contemporary design aesthetic. What is contemporary design all about? How do you implement it in your home? Is it right for you? All these questions and more will be answered in this exploration of contemporary style.


What is Contemporary Style?

Contemporary style is new. It’s now – literally. Contemporary is what the designers are currently doing and will evolve with them on a minute to minute basis. Contemporary design is minimalist and uncluttered. Curves, strong lines, both horizontal and vertical, structural elements and bold furniture are all welcome in a contemporary home. Think dark exposed beams or ducts in a bright white ceiling. Neutral walls to showcase bold colors in furnishings or vice versa – bold colored walls with neutral furnishings – and don’t forget to include smart-home technology.



How to Decorate in a Contemporary Style

Starting with the walls, decide if you are going bright or basic, then do the opposite with the furnishing and décor color. Selecting a structural, brightly colored couch with strong lines and exposed legs when you have a white or creamy neutral wall will create a focal point that is perfect in a contemporary room. Use materials that contrast each other as well. Concrete and metal with glass and lucite. And finally, try to bring the natural world in, where possible. When you are looking to decorate with a contemporary feel look for:

  • Pieces with strong lines

  • Neutral walls as a backdrop for bright colors (or vise versa)

  • Juxtapose materials, like concrete with glass

  • Fewer accessories, go minimalist to highlight special pieces

  • Black and white

  • Avoid tassels, skirts, fringes, ruffles, and other excessive details

  • Natural fibers like wool, linen, and silk

  • Go basic, bold, structural, graphic

  • Bring nature in


When decorating your home, think of it as the exact opposite of Traditional Style. While traditional is cozy and ornamented, contemporary is a stark, minimalist, embracing of negative space. Look for graphic use of black and white, clean lines, and strong shapes. That’s not to say that you can’t have a welcoming space, but it will be entirely different from a plush traditional space.



Contemporary Style and Your Fireplace

A fireplace is a room’s focal point. Usually one thinks old-world, elegant, cozy, and warm. However, a fireplace can fit into contemporary design quite easily. The use of bold lines and minimal frames and ornamentation can lend a contemporary style to any fireplace. Fire bed materials can make a huge difference too. Instead of going the traditional log route, go with a stone or glass ember bed or bring a touch of the outside in with a modern driftwood log set. Mantels over the fireplace should avoid decoration as well, instead opting for a single, unadorned thick shelf, natural wood, or nothing at all. Many of Napoleon’s clean faced fireplaces can be built so they are touching wall materials, which will highlight the large viewing area of the fireplace itself. With Napoleon, it’s easy to incorporate a fireplace into a contemporary home.




While contemporary style can sound cold, it should never feel uninviting. A contemporary space should be interesting, comfortable, and welcoming. Share your Contemporary styled spaces and decorating stories on our social pages like Facebook and Instagram, using the hashtags #ContemporaryStyle and #NapoleonFireplaces.

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