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Trend Alert: Clean & Modern

 

Design industry experts are telling us that as modern life becomes more hectic, and we feel the pressure, our homes have become our sanctuaries, a place where we are able to switch off, detox and rebuild. Contemporary design seeks to provide the perfect balance between aesthetics and usability; it focuses on the function of the home. Contemporary design is all about long clean lines, neutral colour palettes, wide entryways and clutter-free living spaces. There’s elegance and beauty in its simplicity. Less truly is more.

Everything in our vision subtly pulls at our attention. Visual noise in the room can lead to overstimulation. Joshua Becker, Wall Street Journal best selling author of “The More of Less,” says that “A minimalist home is significantly less stressful.” Clean, clutter-free design helps manage visual distraction and reduce anxiety. Modern design is simple and chic, with an absence of unnecessary detail. Parallel lines add a visually appealing aesthetic, lending simplicity and symmetry.

The value of simplicity is taught in many cultures, but especially so in Japanese Zen Philosophy. Zen principles of simplicity transmit the essence of living, serenity and feelings of freedom. Contemporary design draws from Zen principles as well as post-war minimalism. Minimalism strips everything down to the essential.

Modern interior design acts as the antithesis of older looks that were ornate and busy. Modern furniture relies on stark contrasts, clean lines and elegant silhouettes. Furniture is becoming highly specialized and intuitive. A unique and simple furniture piece can make a statement, adding splendour and interest to a modern living space. Draperies have been largely replaced by blinds, frosted or one way glass.

Modern design is bright and airy, with plenty of ultra-clean white space. Quiet and calming hues are in for 2016. Stark white walls are common, with light to medium tone hardwood floors, accented by light grey and beige furniture. Cold greys are being replaced by warmer stone hues. Sherwin-Williams has announced Alabaster (SW 7008) as 2016 Color of the Year, and Benjamin Moore has released Simply White (OC-117) as their contender. Valspar has come out with an entire “Comfort Zone” palette as their “antidote to the fast-paced lifestyle.” Colour authority, Pantone, named two new calming colours for 2016: Rose Quartz and Serenity (powder blue).

Clean modern spaces can be rather sterile environments, so adding a touch of earthy roughness can add interest and intrigue the senses. Warm but calming colours are often complimented by natural textures like wood and stone. Adding a stone feature wall, or textured accents, can elevate a room into a truly impressive living space, or give it a retreat vibe.

Contemporary living roomLiving Rooms

A living room should be a place where the family can put their feet up and unwind, enjoy each other and entertain. Designed well, it ties all of the living spaces together. Edgy feature walls, neutral colour palettes, plenty of space, and the absence of any clutter are on trend for 2016. Towering windows fill rooms with natural light.

Hidden storage is included in many designs, with shelving and drawers that disappear into the walls. With simple furniture and ample storage, a small space can feel much larger.

Kitchens

Negative space is an important design element in the contemporary kitchen. Tall ceilings impart feelings of freedom and serenity. Pendant lights brighten cooking and food preparation areas. There’s more space between cabinets. Minimalistic cabinet lines are clean, with flat surfaces and flush-mounted appliances. Hardwood, laminate, lacquer, brushed stainless steel and marble surfaces are on trend for cabinets and appliances. Shelves and countertops can be glass, marble, granite or even stainless steel. Hardwood and stone are the popular flooring materials.

Large windows flood kitchen spaces with natural light. Simple bar stools often replace the clutter of a kitchen table and chairs. There is a risk that the modern kitchen will resemble a commercial restaurant or laboratory. To add some warmth, stone backsplashes have become very popular. A vase of flowers or bowl of fruit can add a splash of colour to the neutral surroundings, making the kitchen feel warm and welcoming.

Bedrooms

Bedrooms are not only a place for passion and sleep. They have become a place to unwind and relax after a busy day. It’s common to find soaker tubs, mini-bars, fireplaces and televisions in modern bedrooms, as couples spend more time in the seclusion of their own private retreat. The decor is pleasing to the eye, crisp and clean. A palette of soft pastels and neutrals provide a soothing environment, with hardwood and stone giving the space the rustic charm of a secluded getaway. Furnishings tend to be minimal, but couples are splurging on luxuriously comfortable bedding. To reduce clutter, traditional nightstands, dressers and amours are being replaced with well organized walk-in closets and flat wall units.

Bathrooms

Bathrooms are considered to be some of the most valuable rooms in your home. Modern bathrooms take advantage of natural light, with skylights and generous windows. Many homes are designed to offer spectacular views from an elegant soaker tub, using blinds, frosted or one way glass to assure privacy. Contemporary design trends dictate that bathrooms should be clean and functional, but it’s important to infuse some warmth into these spaces, so they doesn’t appear too clinical.

Monochromatic colour schemes can be sleek and sophisticated, and they never go out of style. Bathrooms are a place where subtle prints and patterns can add visual interest. If a monochromatic look sounds a bit intense, natural materials like wood, stone and metal can brighten up the space.

Fixtures and furniture has clearly defined shapes. Art Deco, Shaker and Mission styles are still popular, and have more recently been joined by Scandinavian-inspired pieces. Multiple layers of soft towels, plush mats and fluffy robes can add balance to the room, and some warmth.

The Takeaway

Modern, clean design is all about simplicity, space and creating calming spaces. There’s a tendency for contemporary design to feel stark and cold, and stone brings welcome contrast and warmth to the modern home.

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