My lifestyle - CONTEMPLARY

What's contemporary style? 

Strong lines, smooth forms, minimal accessories — with room for rule breaking

Less is more: smooth profiles instead of ornamentation, solid or subtly patterned fabrics in lieu of colorful prints, minimal accessories rather than big collections. While it doesn't have the overt warmth of older design styles, it won't cast a chill either.

You'll often hear the terms "contemporary" and "modern" tossed about interchangeably, but they're not exactly the same thing. Modern refers to a specific design movement that arose in the early 20th century and follows stricter guidelines; contemporary, by definition, is more fluid and tolerates a bit of rule-breaking. (Keep an eye out for a guide to modern style in the near future.) 

A strong emphasis on line and form — two essentials of good design — gives contemporary style its energy. These rooms are designed with abundant open space and natural light in mind, which makes them feel airy and expansive. Because there isn't any clutter, every piece has to count. 

Sophisticated Neutrals

Cream, white, tan, beige, black — these are the bedrock upon which contemporary design lies. Monochromatic and tone-on-tone schemes allow the lines and shapes within a space to take center stage. 

Open Space

Contemporary design celebrates what isn't there as much as what is. Empty space takes on an almost sculptural quality, carved out by the strong architecture. Because of their openness, contemporary interiors are especially well suited to large-scale furnishings, art and accents. 

 Unadorned Floors

If you're wild for the feel of bare feet on cool tile, you're in luck. Contemporary design eschews rugs and carpeting in favor of sleeker, harder surfaces: bamboo; blond woods such as maple or ash; stone; ceramic. Ebonized planks or dark-stained concrete can ground contemporary rooms (as long as you're prepared to make friends with your dust mop).

Style Secret: High-Impact Furniture

Contemporary furnishings have clean lines and striking profiles. You won't find a lot of skirts or slipcovers — even the most tailored versions can look too soft and full. Instead, focus on pieces that show a little leg. 

Minimal Accessories

Remember how we said "less is more?" Eschew eclectic groupings, fussy finds and bric-a-brac; keep accessories simple, few and well-chosen. In this pared-down arrangement, every piece adds drama without detracting from the streamlined feel.

 Overscale Art

Walls in contemporary rooms don't usually have much in the way of adornment: no heavy moldings, no plate collections, no family photo groupings. So they're a perfect foil for large works of art that shine best amid gallery-style simplicity. Canvases should be framed very cleanly, if at all. Streamlined sculpture, black-and-white photography, glass and prints also work. And if you like your art a little edgy, it'll feel right at home.