Welcome to the Contemporary home decor style guide where you can see photos of all interiors in the Contemporary style including kitchens, living rooms, bedrooms, dining rooms, foyers and more. See our latest trend in home exteriors.
Contemporary Homes (Exteriors)
Check out these spectacular homes showcasing the Contemporary style architecture.
1. Kloof 145 House in Cape Town by SAOTA
The house is designed to reinstate the qualities of its surrounding natural landscape with the top part expressed as a green terrace and braai area, the lower part expressed as a “heavy stone plinth,” and all the levels of the house connected by a sculptural timber staircase.
Open-concept interior with fold-away glass walls to welcome in the stunning view outdoors.
2. Shelter on a Rock by ESPACE Vital Architecture
Contemporary house with minimalist architecture and exterior design surrounded by towering trees. It offers a floating deck where you can lavish on the serene view of the surrounding forest.
Exterior lines flowing through the interior of the house. From the inside, you have an expansive view of the greenery through the glazed windows and doors.
3. Long Horizontals House by Thellend Fortin Architectes
Glazed house built on a steep slope and nestled in pine trees. Its exterior has a neutral color scheme that complements its surroundings.
See more. Designed by: Thellend Fortin Architectes
A combination of concrete, wood, and glass rolled into a beautiful and warm interior of the house. Floor-to-ceiling windows allow natural light in and provide a calming view of the majestic forest.
4. House at Charlebois Lake by Paul Bernier Architecte
Contemporary house situated on a green lush lawn on the shore of Charlebois Lake. It showcases an L-shape design with a rusty concrete along with dark wood plank.
The house features an open patio design where you can relax and enjoy the lake’s view on a sloping terrain.
5. Estrade Residence by MU Architecture
Modern contemporary house accented with a boulder retaining wall in the middle of an enchanting forest. The house exterior creates a harmonious design with its environment.
This side of the house boasts a steep bank landscaping planted with shrubs and layered with natural rocks complementing the stone walls.
6. House on Lac Grenier by Paul Bernier Architecte
Sophisticated house with vertical wood exterior along with glass-paneled walls surrounded by magnificent nature.
An angled view of the house showing a closeup look of the wooden facade with an open and bare yard.
7. Brazilian Treasure Designed by 1:1 Arquitetura:Design
Contemporary terracotta house on a downhill slope featuring solid and glass walls. It has a green lawn and is surrounded by concrete privacy fence walls.
The back of the house showcasing an extraordinary perforated wall or also called as Cobogo walls. This design provides proper ventilation and natural light.
8. Big Timber Riverside House by Hughes Umbanhowar Architects
A two-story house resembling a T-shape is designed with light wood facade cladding and highlighted by an impressive scenic view.
This is the back of the house showing massive floor to ceiling windows accented with wood planks. It sits on an expansive lush lawn.
9. Planchonella House by Jesse Bennett
Spectacular house with curve ceilings and glazed facade walls framed with wood panel. You can see the abundance of greenery surrounding the house.
From this angled view, you can have a peek on the house rustic interior from the wooden frame floor to ceiling windows.
10. Dichotomous Living-Garden House in Katowice by Robert Konieczny – KWK Promes
Huge contemporary house features a fascinating mirrored architecture reflecting the expansive lawn and providing an illusion of larger space. The rest of the walls is built with bricks and glass windows.
An aerial view of the house where it shows a T-shape design of the two-story house. The first floor’s rooftop is maximized by turning it into a hangout place.
11. Mothersill Project By Bates Masi
Side of the house showing a mix of vertical and horizontal light wood siding accented with black framed glass walls. The wooden house is built on sloped terrain.
A luxurious infinity pool attached to the elevated boardwalk extending to the wooden house. The yard is filled with lush lawn and plants creating a calming ambiance.
12. Hupomone Ranch Design Project By Turnbull Griffin Haesloop Architects
White barn house sitting on a green lush lawn framed with towering trees features paneled glass walls sandwiched by white wood plank walls.
Natural light streams through the full height glass panels illuminating the white interior. It also overlooks the outdoor scenery and allows fresh air to enter through the sliding door.
13. SGNW Project By Metropole Architects
Contemporary house accented with bricks and illuminated by recessed lighting and wall sconces. It includes a brick driveway that enhances the entire look of the house.
The warm interior of the house with a zen ambiance from the wooden and water elements.
14. Curva Renovation by LSA Architects
Stylish modern house enclosed with glass walls and includes a stunning pool covered with gray concrete flooring. Across it is a green yard with plants lining into the fence.
The interior features an open floor design plan giving you easy access to the room while the glazed walls provide you an extensive view to the outside pool.
15. Wilden Street Project by Shaun Lockyer Architects
The contemporary house featuring shiplap clad walls along with glazed windows. Black railings separated the pool from the green yard.
This part of the house is covered with black shiplap walls and sliding glass doors that open to the sheltered patio space.
16. Glass Wrapped Three Trees House
Modern house beautifully wrapped in a glass along with warm natural wood cladding. It includes open spaces and is surrounded by vast greenery.
This glazed house offers an expansive view of the surroundings. It is accented with plants and shrubs and integrated with an immense courtyard.
17. Hwa Hun Project by IROJE KHM Architects
White contemporary house with interesting architecture. Its modern and minimalist design with small triangular windows conceal the interior from public view.
A bird’s eye view of the house where you can see the surrounding neighbors and mountain. There’s also a rooftop garden integrated into the house.
18. Orchard Way Project By Mcleod Bovell
Sophisticated house covered in greeneries features a concrete and wood combination along with glazed windows.
The house is framed with glass-paneled walls overlooking the sloping landscape and tranquil pool that’s paired with a warming fire pit.
19. Dion Project by Fabelta
Modern house designed with brick walls and accented with wood cladding. It also boasts tall trees that serve as the backdrop of the house.
The glazed walls invite plenty of natural light in this high ceiling interior. It has metallic and leather chairs adding a sleek modern tone in the house.
20. Bernier-Thibault House by Paul Bernier Architecte
Contemporary house showcasing an extensive green roof. The house is built in bricks with a yard next to it covered with wooden fence.
This part of the house is covered with wood planks and sliding doors that open to the yard filled with stones.
21. March Rabbit by L’EAU DESIGN
This is an exterior view of the Contemporary-style home with white exteriors that have unique structures and angles complemented by the warm lighting that escapes through glass walls and windows.
22. Self stack_flow&stay by L’EAU DESIGN
This is a front street view of the house that follows the lay of the land and has a unique and contemporary design with large modern structures and tall pillars that support them. These are then complemented by the landscaping and the warm lighting.
23. MoyaMoya by Fumihiko Sano Studio
This is a front view of the Contemporary-style home with a walkway leading to the main entrance of the house with bright white exterior walls. These are then complemented by the opaque net outer cover of the exterior that gives it a unique look.
24. deNormanville by TBA / Thomas Balaban Architecte
This is a front view of the house that has light earthy brick exterior walls with a contemporary box-like design with curves and glass walls adorned by tall trees.
25. Black Gems by Bureau Fraai
This is a close look at the house with a unique black contemporary design to it with a large glass wall that displays the car parked inside with warm glowing interiors complemented by a grass lawn.
26. Sustainable Living by Bureau Fraai
This is a close look at the front of the house that has red brick walls on its upper two floors and shiplap wooden walls and glass walls on the ground level adorned by simple landscaping.
27. Blanche Chapel House by Alva Roy Architects
This is a close look at the back of the house that has unique combinations of black exterior walls and wooden shiplap walls to its exterior along with large glass windows and walls that look out onto the backyard that has a grass lawn.
28. Curves by The Ranch Mine
This is a close look at the back of the house that has wood-paneled exterior walls and a large curved structure on the side with glass walls. This also shows the outdoor dining area and the landscaping with unique art pieces.
29. Villa in Perchtoldsdorf by Jan Proksa
This house has a contemporary design surrounded by glass walls. The house is also a three story building and the third floor is an open space.
Contemporary Interior Examples (by Room)
The following are photo examples of contemporary interiors (room-by-room). Below each photo are links that take you to extensive contemporary photo galleries for each room.
Bright and airy Contemporary living room with plenty of windows, a wall-mounted TV above a fireplace, indoor plants, and hardwood flooring.
Single-wall contemporary kitchen with stainless steel appliances, gray subway tile backsplash, and an eat-it island.
Contemporary dining room with a rectangular dining table for six under a pendant lighting and a large wall decor.
Contemporary bedroom with a sputnik chandelier and double glass doors leading to the balcony.
Contemporary bathroom with a floating vanity with double sink and a glass shower.
Small Contemporary entry hall with a pendant lighting above the wall mirror and console table.
See more contemporary landscaping here.
Contemporary pool landscaping with wood and concrete privacy fence as well as tall trees and plants.
What is Contemporary Interior Design Style?
Every Contemporary home is an example of twenty-first-century architecture. From the perspective of the 2020s, the Contemporary home style isn’t really particularly contemporary. Contemporary homes date from as far back as 1970.
But the Contemporary home building style reflects modern preferences for sleek lines, open spaces, and natural light. And, of course, Contemporary homes incorporate modern innovations in building materials, security systems, energy efficiency, and modern luxuries.
Is there a difference between Contemporary home design and Modern home design? The answer is, in some ways, not a lot. The modern home design was new and different when it emerged about half a century ago.
At that time, the ideas of minimalist architects like Walter Gropius, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and Frank Lloyd Wright had finally caught on. The absence of ornamentation and the comfortable functionality of the new style became extremely popular.
Even after 100 years after construction, a home built by iconic architect Frank Lloyd Wright is still Modern. But the warmer and cozier style that incorporates new materials and new building techniques with the latest of technology is deemed to be Contemporary.
Interior Design Features
You will almost always find three features in Contemporary home design. There’s a good chance you are already familiar with them. They are:
- Open floor plans, and
- Natural lighting, requiring
- Big windows, window walls, and patio doors opening to the deck or back yard.
But there’s a lot more to Contemporary home design than you will notice at first glance. Contemporary style is characterized by:
Interior Style Features of Contemporary Homes
It’s also easy to recognize a Contemporary home from interior design. Contemporary homes are built with these interior design principles in mind:
- Open layout. Contemporary families don’t divide their daily activities between the kitchen, the dining room, the living room, and the den. Contemporary home designs eliminate the walls that used to define smaller rooms for formal uses. Contemporary homes allow all residents to enjoy the entire space without feeling crammed into tiny rooms.
- Clerestory (floor-to-ceiling) windows. Windows in Contemporary homes are situated well above eye-level. They may extend from the floor to the ceiling, taking up the entire wall, or they may consist of a series of panels opening interior space to natural light and scenery.
- Clean lines. Like the exterior of the Contemporary home, the interior design features clean lines in décor echoing the clean lines in the exterior of the house. Furniture and art throughout the house are created from a combination of geometric shapes.
- Minimalist décor. Everything in a Contemporary home is designed to be functional. Sleek lines make the house feel more spacious because simple but elegant furnishing do not distract from the bones of the house.
- Limited color palette. Contemporary homes tend to emphasize neutral colors. Furnishings, walls, and ceilings are usually painted black, beige, gray, or white. There may be a pop of color to add interest to a room, but often there is not.
- Natural materials. Just as the exterior of a Contemporary home usually features natural materials, interior décor also uses light-colored woods, stone, and glass. Upholstery is also natural and often textured.
- Little or no use of moldings. There isn’t a lot of trim in Contemporary homes. Walls usually don’t have molding.
- Focal points for each room. Many Contemporary homes use one piece of art to create a visual focus for each room. If mementos are displayed, they have their own room. The walls remain mostly bare so they do not take away from the scenery outdoors. If there are baseboards or crown moldings in the house, they are simple. They are not embellished.
- State-of-the-art appliances. Contemporary kitchens are often clad in a lot of stainless steel. Contemporary homes usually feature high-end, energy-efficient appliances.
An important contribution to Contemporary interior design features is the existence of better building materials. Double- and triple-pane windows and sturdier construction means homeowners don’t need to make their homes a fortress against storms. Lamps and candles and shutters to keep out the weather have been supplanted by natural light and huge windows and sometimes window walls, blurring the boundaries between inside and outside.
Contemporary home design also reflects contemporary views on raising children. There was a time when homes were designed around the principle that children and parents didn’t need to be in constant contact. Solid walls separated kids from mom and dad all through the day.
The modern idea is that it’s good for parents and children to be in visual range of each other. Open floor plans leave a line of sight from the kitchen to the family room and from the family room to the patio and yard. And all this interior openness is a natural match to big windows and sliding patio doors and even skylights for lots of natural light.
Exterior Style Features of a Contemporary Home
Just about anyone can recognize a Contemporary home on a drive-by. Why is that?
The exterior design features of Contemporary homes include:
- Well-defined lines. Contemporary homes usually have free-form lines that convey a sense of movement. The unique style of the house depends on geometry rather than on ornamentation.
- Unique combinations of shapes. Using free-form lines allows the facades of Contemporary homes to be composed of the architect’s selection of different shapes. Contemporary homes are geometric, for the economy of construction, but don’t have a cookie-cutter feel. Some Contemporary home designs integrate triangular and circular forms that make them look different from different angles. But other Contemporary homes are boxes with flat roofs like the “Modern” style from the middle of the twentieth century.
- Mixed materials for facades. The design of Contemporary homes is made more interesting by the combination of different materials for the façade. The construction of contemporary homes can make use of glass, steel, and concrete with stone, metal, or wood accents.
- Obvious eco-friendly features. A contemporary home may sport solar panels on its roof. It may have rainwater collection barrels connected to gutters.
The exterior features of Contemporary homes are geometric and symmetrical. There are clean lines. This is an absence of ornamentation. The objects of fascination in Contemporary homes are nature and the residents themselves, rather than meticulous craftsmanship for its own sake.
Furniture Style in Contemporary Home Design
It’s not hard to imagine the kinds of changes in a furniture style that have been brought about by the popularity of the Contemporary home design style. If you don’t have a dining room, you don’t need a formal dining room table and ornate dining room chairs.
If you don’t have a sitting room, you don’t need a love seat and a lovely cabinet for your tea set. And if you don’t serve your meals on fine china and you don’t use sterling silver eating utensils, you don’t need cabinets to display them anymore, either.
The floral prints and fluffy pillows on frilly furniture of your great-grandparents’ time have been replaced with tight leather upholstery and steel frames. Furniture in older-style homes often looked comfortable, but it almost always wasn’t. Furniture in Contemporary may not look comfortable, but it almost always is. And don’t forget to take a look at the difference in prices!
Great-grandma might have had a rocking chair. Your Grandma might enjoy a rocker recliner upholstered with plush microfiber.
Lamps before modern times were covered the light source with a lampshade. A modern lamp might need no shade because the entire lamp is the light source.
Old-timey formal dining room chairs had stiff backs and no armrests. Nowadays we don’t have dining rooms, so we can focus on function. Modern chairs provide cozy comfort that wraps all the way around you.
For generations, beds had ornate carvings. They were so high you practically had to use a ladder to get up into them, but they were so laden down with spreads and pillows and ruffles that you would never think of using the space beneath them for storage. Contrast a bed from the first half of the twentieth century to its modern version.
Building Materials for Your Contemporary Home
Your contractor will build your Contemporary home with lots of:
- Steel, and
The materials your contractor won’t be using are:
- Brick in a variety of colors (brick in a single color and size is more likely to be sued in the façade),
- Full-wall stone facades, and
- Wood or plastic siding.
Contemporary homes are sometimes built from materials that are never even considered in other styles, such as shipping containers and boxcars. Contemporary style doesn’t have to “look normal” the way other styles, for instance, Modern style, usually do.
Contemporary homes draw their beauty from their design, not from their materials. Building materials must never overwhelm the elegant simplicity of the architecture of your house, so brick, stone, wood, and exterior asphalt, laminates, and plastics are not part of the plan.
Décor for Your Contemporary Home
The interior features prominent in Contemporary homes aren’t limited to open floor plans and natural lighting. In Contemporary homes, you will find features that prioritize function over form. Gone are the dining rooms and sitting parlors of the Victorian, Edwardian, and nineteenth-century American homes, and relegated to the garage or the garage sale are the bric-a-brac and trinkets that work well in other home styles.
When you are investing in decoration for your Contemporary home, look for:
- Light-colored woods, steel, wrought, iron, and glass.
- Black leather.
- Natural fabrics such as linen and cotton.
- Rattan in simple patterns.
Buy only what you need for minimal decoration. Allow natural light and scenes from nature and your family’s activities to be the beauty that lights up your home.
When you are shopping for decorations for your Contemporary home, remember to look for the light woods like a maple or birch, or sleek combinations of metal and glass that you sought in your furniture selections. Just as you want to find furniture that has bold lines but soft edges, you want to find decorative objects that have sharp lines and sharp edges.
Stay away from patterns and use leather or natural fabrics such as cotton or linen. Color, however, is OK, as long as the decorative object does not dominate the room.
Styles That Mix Well With Contemporary Design
You don’t have to be a purist to have a beautiful Contemporary home. And your collection of furniture and décor doesn’t have to be boring. Some of the styles that work in most Contemporary homes include:
- Midcentury Modern, which we have mentioned before.
- Boho Chic, and
- Vintage, although never distressed vintage furniture and décor.
Midcentury modern (referring to the twentieth century) has the same bold lines as Contemporary style, although without the rounded edges and the modern manufacturing methods that enhance comfort, durability, and energy efficiency. Midcentury Modern is not likely to clash with Contemporary.
Boho Chic style provides that splash of color or hint of patterns that Contemporary décor can otherwise lack. Pieces in this style usually offer the same comfort, durability, and ease of placement found in Contemporary pieces.
Vintage style sometimes is the style of last resort. When homeowners are building their collections, sometimes cost savings are necessary. That’s OK. You can always make Vintage furniture that may not quite fit your overall design scheme a quirky, comforting part of daily living.
A Brief Historic Overview of Contemporary Style
American Contemporary style, which has been around since the 1970s, is in many ways the natural outgrowth of the internationally popular Modern style that got into full swing in the 1920s. The contemporary style grew out of the need of ordinary people not to be bound to “pure” Modern style.
Modern style chooses a theme and sticks to it. Contemporary style has some wiggle room for personal preferences room by room.
Contemporary style can be out of the box when choosing building materials that recycle metal, glass, and wood that had uses other than just housing. Contemporary style is Modern style with a sense of stewardship of the Earth’s resources, a style of building that is always eager to be green.
Why Contemporary Style Looks Great
The beauty of Contemporary style lies in the reality that the design of a Contemporary home makes it look good, but the heart you put into your Contemporary home makes it beautiful. Contemporary style forces you to choose what’s dearest to you, but it gives you a chance to live with nature and, through green building practices, to be as good a friend to nature as nature is to you.