How to Give a House a Modern Look for a Cheap Price

Modern furniture often combines leather, metal and curved lines.
Modern furniture often combines leather, metal and curved lines. (Image: Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Modern furniture began being made in the late 19th century and continues to today. This style is light, curved and simple and is sometimes accented or made with plastic and chrome. Although modern design furniture is widely available in furniture stores today, it is a good idea to comb through old magazines from the 1960s, for example, or search on the Internet to get ideas for how to decorate your space and see examples of furniture to hunt for when shopping. Familiarizing yourself with the modern style will help you score the best deals at thrift stores and bargain stores so you can achieve the modern look you desire at a cheap price.

Things You'll Need

  • Camera
  • Canvas
  • Paint
  • Paintbrushes

Visit furniture stores and take photographs of the pieces that really catch your eye, or of designed rooms and layouts that you wish to emulate. Most of the furniture will be made of wood, glass, chrome or plastic, or at least have some of that on it, and will not be heavy looking but something that floats on slender legs.

Plan exactly where you are going to put each piece. This will help you decide on what to buy. You don't want to go searching with the idea you need a couch and two chairs and come back and find that you have one chair too many and you should have gotten a small modern glass table instead. Think of each piece as a work of art that can stand on its own.

Travel to thrift stores, garage sales and swap meets looking for these particular designs of furniture. Because the style has been around for a while, you can find pieces from the 1960s that still work today. Look at pieces with curved lines and thin legs instead of heavy buns. If a piece of furniture has the “look” but is worn out, don't eliminate it. You can always give it a new coat of paint or upholstery. Look for what it could become, not what it is.

If you find the right couch or the right chair but the fabric is strictly 1970s plaid, you can reupholster it with abstract fabric that has lots of design or a one-color fabric with a pop of bright color, like lime green, hot pink or orange. Also, don't forget that modern Italian furniture, such as a leather chair or couch, fits this style.

Accessorize with curved shapes and complementary colors. Go back to the furniture stores and buy that one amazing lamp or group of vases that you saw that will put the final touches on your room. Showcase your accessories and do not put in too many. One single pillow is much better for this style than two or more pillows.

For modern art work, don't hesitate to make your own. Use colors that match your accessories. Buy a large canvas, paint and brushes and paint away. Take several cans of paint and pour them over the side of the canvas, so they drip down, or use your paintbrush and fling paint onto the canvas. Scribble your signature on the bottom.

Don't forget to personalize your room with something of your own. Add a favorite toy from your childhood or something that would normally be seen outside to give the room your signature.

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