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When people hear the term "modern," they often think "cold." But most homeowners who love modern design also want their space to be warm and inviting. Fortunately, a streamlined modern interior can also be luxurious and welcoming, layered with classic elements full of texture and interest. If modern seems too broad a decorating concept, remember that specific styles such as art deco, retro, minimalist, and contemporary can be considered modern.
A classic modern design is often as much sculptural as it is functional. Monochromatic walls and architecturally clean lines encourage an overall sense of simplicity and orderliness. Furniture lines are often strong and clean, with little or no ornamentation, and a sculptural piece, such as a chair or bed, may be the starting point for the space. Deep wood tones and rich textured fabrics can contribute interest through contrast. Contemporary elements work so well with today's casual, more eclectic direction that the overall feel is comfortable and uncomplicated. The strong, simple lines of modern design offer the perfect backdrop for dramatic art and accent pieces. In this environment, lighting becomes a structural element, creating washes of light that accentuate planes and highlight focal points. The result provides a feeling of harmony throughout the home.
To keep the simplicity from becoming sterile, look for ways to incorporate other elements into the space. The clean lines and simple styling of modern design leaves room for unexpected traditional details. Traditional patterns and materials can mix easily with sleek finishes and modern accents, and keep the space warm and familiar. Even in a strongly modern interior, the mood can be warm and even romantic. The secret is using texture and contrast. A dark, almost monochromatic palette can set the tone, adding a sense of richness. Hard-edged metals and sleek veneers can be softened by deep-seated upholstery pieces, luxurious fabrics, and good lighting design.