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Modern Living Room with Sectional And Fireplace

How to Design & Decorate a Modern Home

Thinking about incorporating modern decor in your home? While this interior design style is similar to minimalism, modernism follows a more distinct set of rules to create a specific aesthetic. From color schemes and lighting to modern furniture ideas, here are 25 design and decorating tips for a modern home!

Pick Your Modern Design

Modern Home with Black and White Couches and Gallery Wall. Photo by Instagram user @craven_haven

Photo via @craven_haven

Before you create your modern home, it’s important to choose between the many different styles of modern home design to help guide your design process. If you love searching for vintage furniture and decor, you might like a Mid-Century Modern look for your home. Or if you tend to gravitate toward neutral colors and natural materials, organic modern style might be for you. Other popular Modern styles include industrial modern, modern farmhouse, and contemporary modern. Once that’s been decided, you’ll have a base for picking paint colors, choosing furniture pieces, placing decor items, and more.

Stick to a Neutral Color Palette

When it comes to decorating a modern house, neutral color palettes are a classic and easy way to go. Simplicity is key when it comes to modern design, which is why using colors like white, beige, brown, gray, and other natural shades work so well with this type of home style. Plus, it can give you a blank canvas so you’re able to highlight the furniture in a room, add in splashes of color, and complete your modern home look.

Incorporate Darker Tones for Contrast

As you’re planning your home’s modern color scheme, consider adding in some darker tones to contrast any lighter shades that you use. Modern home design isn’t afraid of bolder tones so have fun playing with darker shades like black and charcoal gray. Other modern styles also tend to lean into the contrast of light and dark colors, especially modern farmhouse! You can start incorporating darker tones in paint colors, shelving, and cabinets as well as furniture pieces like dining chairs, tables, and couches.

Go for a Pop of Color

Modern Reading Area with Green Chair. Photo by Instagram user @studiotksocial

Photo via @studiotksocial

Although neutrals and darker tones are standard for modern home design, decorating doesn’t have to come down to just black and white. While the base color palette should stick to neutrals, you can use bursts of color to create some visual interest! As modern home design first became popular, many interior designers opted for the primary colors of red, yellow, and blue to achieve a more dynamic look. However, other bright hues like green and pink have made their way into modern design as well. When looking for colorful home inspiration, consider a bright couch or colorful rug, painted cabinets, or a vibrant accent chair.

Strive for a Clean Look

Not sure which direction to take when designing your modern home? You can start by creating a clean, polished look throughout your entire space. Here, you can lean into minimalism, which uses a “less is more” approach, to help you achieve the light and airy feel that many modern homes have. In order to achieve this, choose functional furniture and minimal decor pieces, and avoid clutter where possible.

Geometric Design Is Key

Modern Bathroom Using Geometric Design. Photo by Instagram user @mishkashoe

Photo via @mishkashoe

Strong shapes are a staple in modern interiors, and there are many ways to play with geometric design in your home. Triangular coffee tables are popular in Mid-Century Modern style while square sinks give homes a modern farmhouse touch. Geometric shapes aren’t limited to furniture, either! Try going for a herringbone tile in the bathroom to create a sleek look that draws the eye.

It’s All About the Lines

No matter which modern home style you end up choosing, you’ll want to put a big focus on crisp, uninterrupted lines. While straight lines are a major part of this rule, don’t shy away from adding in items with curvy, dramatic lines to help add balance and give the room more personality. Consider placing a chair with curved edges next to your bed or set a rounded vase on top of a square table for a bold, modern juxtaposition!

Use Materials Purposefully

The goal in modern design is finding a good balance between the different types of materials. Polished wood, metal, vinyl, and glass are all commonly used materials in Mid-Century Modern design, so if you want to achieve that look, consider finding pieces made from those materials. On the other hand, organic modern homes use sustainable materials like linen, cotton, and bamboo to create a sleek modern look that’s also eco-friendly and inviting.

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Vary Different Textures

Adding various textures in your home is a great way to give any room more depth. Modern design is all about creating an interesting balance, which is why mixing various textures like velvet and leather is okay. When choosing furniture and decor items, consider mixing other textures like shiny, suede, matte, and furry to make your space more dynamic and give it a modern feel.

Let in Natural Light

Using natural light helps open up the space in your home and makes it feel larger. The best way to do this is with large windows—just be sure to avoid heavy curtains and drapes to help rooms maintain that airy feeling. You can also place mirrors throughout your home to add more light and give the illusion of a larger room. These elements will help emphasize the modernity of your home’s design.

Buy Statement Lighting

Statement lighting is a fun way to play up the modern look of your home while still providing function. When choosing modern lighting for your kitchen, living room, or bedroom, look for an angular chandelier, large floor lamp, or an abstract pendant light. You can also mount a back-lit mirror in your bathroom to help keep lines clean while giving you some added light when getting ready.

Rethink Your Kitchen Seating

Modern Kitchen with Oak Floors. Photo by Instagram user @dorosflooring

Photo via @dorosflooring

Start your modern kitchen remodel by thinking about how you want to arrange the seating. Breakfast nooks are a modern design feature that were first created in the early 1900s as a way to improve room flow and reject the traditionalism of separate rooms. Rounded tables surrounded by tulip chairs can help your eating area feel more intimate. Or, if you’re limited on space, simply place some art-deco-inspired bar stools around the kitchen island.

Put Open Shelving in the Kitchen

Modern Kitchen with Large Light Overhead. Photo by Instagram user @laneylainc

Photo via @laneylainc

Need any ideas for some modern kitchen updates? Try open shelving! This kitchen storage solution can help your kitchen feel more open and makes grabbing dishes and utensils super easy. If you don’t want to commit entirely to the open shelving look, section off one area for shelves and keep your cabinets for the rest of the kitchen!

Install a Sleek Backsplash

One way to play up clean lines and texture in your modern home is with your kitchen backsplash. Depending on the modern style you’re trying to achieve, there are many backsplash options to choose from. If you’re going for a modern farmhouse look, consider staggering white subway tiles, or go the extra mile and use a herringbone pattern. Or, for a Mid-Century Modern-inspired kitchen, think about pairing a bold color with hexagon-shaped tiling.

Try Out Modern Kitchen Appliances

Luxury kitchen appliances are key to designing a sleek modern kitchen. Many appliances have state-of-the-art technology, such as smart refrigerators that can help you keep track of the inventory in your fridge while logging important reminders for your family. As far as aesthetics go, using stainless steel, matte black, or a “hidden” look are all sleek ways to make your appliances feel more modern. You can even add smaller touches to your kitchen like a pot-filler faucet for some improved function.

Create a Modern Bathroom with a Shower Stall

The best way to achieve a modern-looking bathroom is with a shower stall. To create this, use glass doors to help keep the space open and expansive with create sharp lines favored in modern design. Or ditch the glass and go with a completely open shower stall. Improve water flow and add a sleek feel with a rainfall shower head. You can also use a different type of flooring in your shower than the rest of the bathroom to add some contrast!

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Install a Fireplace

Modern Home with Spiral Staircase and Fireplace. Photo by Instagram user @heartlyhome

Photo via @heartlyhome

Part of modern design is using today’s technology to improve the functionality of your home, which is why installing a fireplace can be a great update. An electronic fireplace is an eco-friendly swap compared to a wood-burning fireplace, and many of today’s models utilize smart technology, which allows you to control them from your phone. If you want to harness the Mid-Century Modern look, consider buying a Malm fireplace.

Upgrade Your Staircase

Looking for a larger modern home project? Give your stairs a modern upgrade to improve their functionality and add to the sleek look of your entryway. Many homes use metal railings paired with wood stairs, but you can also eliminate railings altogether for a sophisticated floating stair look that pairs well with minimalist design. Glass balustrades are also a popular addition to staircases because they don’t block light, giving the illusion of more space.

Opt for Raised Furniture

Modern Home Office with Elevated Furniture. Photo by Instagram user @janskacelikart

Photo via @janskacelikart

Many modern furniture pieces have a raised look, which helps add crisp lines to any room. Think about adding hairpin side tables to your bedsides or placing an accent chair with wooden dowel legs in an otherwise plain corner. Tapered furniture is also good for smaller spaces since they give off more of an open look!

Customize Your Furniture

Modern Sideboard in a Home. Photo by Instagram user @castleryus

Photo via @castleryus

In modern home design, form and function go hand-in-hand. Customized furniture can be a great option in a modern home because it creates a focal point but is multi-functional as well. Not only can you have a table, chairs, or other furniture pieces made to fit your unique style, but it’s also a good way to include high-quality items in your home that serve a purpose, such as extra storage.

Place Accent Seating

Modern living rooms often feature a mix of seating as opposed to a single couch to help give the space the balanced feel that modern design strives for. Try pairing a smaller couch with a couple of sleek Barcelona chairs or a classic Eames chair. Furniture placement matters too! Consider moving the furniture away from the wall to help create more depth in your space.

Go Bold with Modern Art

Modern Home Dining Area with Fun Lighting. Photo by Instagram user @westelm

Photo via @westelm

What better way to decorate your modern home than with modern art? This style refers to late 19th and early-to-mid 20th century art and rejects the aesthetics of art styles before those times, resulting in a more avant-garde look. To bring modern art into your home, hang up a bold abstract painting or geometric sculpture to help create a focal point in a room and add some personality!

Utilize Metallic Elements

Metallic elements are perfect for elevating any modern interior because they help add texture and dimension to your space. Silver, gold, copper, and other shiny materials can be used in small accents such as frames or table centerpieces, or you can go for a more striking look with a lustrous wall hanging or metallic full-length mirror.

Decorate with Lived-In Items

Modern home design focuses on creating a space that feels lived-in, which means you’ll want to decorate with items that you use often or items that at least give off a gently-used vibe. Use plants, books, and vinyl records to get a lived-in look without cluttering your home.

Hunt for Vintage Pieces

Modern Living Room with Large Library Wall. Photo by Instagram user @thildesecher

Photo via @thildesecher

You don’t have to stick to all new furniture and decor when decorating your modern home. You can actually mix modern and vintage decor to create balance by playing with these opposite styles. Also, since Mid-Century Modern was popular from the 1940s-1960s, many furniture pieces from that time can be incorporated into today’s modern homes! Try pairing a vintage lounge chair with a modern side table, or mix and match your dining room chairs for a contrasting, yet balanced look.


Need somewhere to put items while you design and remodel your modern home? Extra Space Storage has convenient self storage facilities located across the country for you to keep your belongings safe. Rent storage space near you!

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