What Are the Hallmarks of Contemporary Style Furniture?

Contemporary Style Furniture

Contemporary style is a relatively new phenomenon. Born in the second half of the 20th century, this style of furniture is newer than many other styles. Yet, it’s distinct from modern style furniture. So, what do interior designers and furniture makers mean by contemporary style? Here are a few things to look for in this type of furniture.


The lines of contemporary furniture are softer and rounder than strictly modern furniture. Modern furniture tends to have very sharp, angular lines. However, like modern style, the lines are clean, simple, sophisticated, and uncomplicated by elaborate carvings or ornamentation. You often find curving lines, but they are gentler curves than some other styles of furniture. The profile of contemporary pieces is generally slim without seeming dainty.


Contemporary colors tend to be some type of neutral. For example, various shades of brown, taupe, cream, and pure white are popular. There may be bright patches of colors, such as in accent pillows, but not in large expanses of the furniture. Or, the accents might be high-contrast neutrals.

For instance, in the Signature Design by Ashley Ballinasloe Collection, the two colors available are smoke gray and platinum, with accent pillows in dark and light neutral shades. Interior designers often create a more striking image by adding artwork, rugs, pillows, or throws with bold geometric patterns to contrast with the unadorned contemporary neutrals.

Fabrics and Other Materials

Natural fabrics are often used in contemporary style. Fabrics such as silk, cotton, wool, and linen not only stay within the neutral color scheme. They also add interesting textural effects.

For wood parts, furniture makers often use maple, birch, and other light-colored woods. You’ll see very little wood grain. If the piece has glass, it will likely be either clear or frosted glass. Metallic finishes are common and include materials like chrome, stainless steel, and nickel colored finishes.

Lighting Options for Contemporary Design

Once you’ve found the contemporary furniture of your dreams, consider what kind of lighting works best for it. Go for an artistic look. Try floor lamps and table lamps with straight lines and metallic finishes. You can also add touches of color by choosing a bright shade. Use track lighting to highlight points of interest like a piece of art.

Mixing Contemporary with Transitional Style

Unless you’re an expert, you might have trouble combining other styles with contemporary design. However, one way to do it more easily is to create a transitional style living room. Transitional style is a combination of contemporary and traditional styles.

Like contemporary style, transitional uses neutral colors like dark brown, tan, and vanilla. Transitional furniture often pairs highly textured fabrics like corduroy with smooth fabrics like cotton. Curves and straight lines show up together in transitional style.

Because of the similar fabrics, colors, lines, and features, transitional style furniture is a great addition to a contemporary living room. Or, you can go for a strictly contemporary home décor. Either way, you can find many different pieces of furniture, coordinating accessories, and full collections with both styles when you shop One Stop Bedrooms.