If you think modern house design is limited to stainless steel cube construction and designer paint colors, think again. There are many influences on the modern design aesthetic, from the midcentury modern designs of Frank Lloyd Wright and Charles Eames to contemporary eco-design visionaries who integrate natural finishes, repurposed items and indoor/outdoor spaces into their structures. Modern design infuses everything from furniture hardware to window frames, so it is relatively simple to give a current home a modern makeover.
Innovative architectural elements are a trademark of modern home design. Repurposed industrial buildings, urban high rises, live/work spaces and lofts comprise some of the modern spaces popular today, all of which require different approaches to architecture. Glass walls, sliding walls, inner courtyards and skylights integrate exterior and interior spaces. Ladders and stairwells connect living spaces with work spaces, but typically keep them on separate floors. Open floor plans that join the dining area and living room, and sometimes the kitchen, often feature a bay of picture windows or solar tubes to allow natural light to spill into the cavernous space.
Palette and Finishes
Modern house design encompasses a diverse range of palettes and finishes. The midcentury modern look includes wood tones, angular lines, metal accents and geometric shapes. The bohemian modern aesthetic has a more arty tone, along the lines of a Paris apartment packed with paintings, bold-colored furnishings and antiques and drawings in mismatched frames. The eco-modern look centers upon renewable and nontoxic resources such as bamboo floors, organic textiles, solid wood furniture and no-VOC (volatile organic chemicals) paint.
Furniture and Layout
A modern home's design extends to the furnishings and layout. Multipurpose pieces function well in open floor plans or loft-style buildings. For example, a Shoji screen may serve as a window covering, room divider and artwork. A tall bookcase, long bench or skinny table adorned with plants sets a living room apart from a dining area. A covered porch, deck or patio allows gatherings to spill out from the home and into the garden, especially if you furnish outdoor areas with cushions, lighting, a fire pit and chairs. Modern space-saving devices such as closet systems and loft beds with desk areas or storage underneath often feature the crisp lines, light wood tones and metal accents that blend well with modern home design. Add color and style to a modern home design with fashionable light fixtures such as pendant lights above the dining room table or a funky chandelier painted periwinkle blue over the bed.
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