Young? Old? Contemporary Design is for You


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So you've got a new home - a new apartment or a new house - and you want to decorate it.

There are two ways you can do this. You can hire a professional interior decorator to do the job for you, or you can do it yourself.

It's really not difficult to decorate your home yourself, as long as you do it in a systematic and methodical manner.

The first thing you have to ask yourself is - to what use is the home to be put? If you're a young couple with a child or children, you have different needs than a young couple without children. Middle-aged couples will find the same. Elderly couples will have different needs entirely - and probably a lot more possessions that they'd like to display!

But there's more than decorating a house to accommodate children. If you like to entertain family, friends and your colleagues from work, you'll want to decorate the house in a different way than if you're a home body with only a few visitors.

Contemporary Design

Despite the fact that you'll want to decorate your home differently depending on whether you have children or plan to entertain a great deal, doesn't effect the style that you'll use.

The style known as Contemporary, or Modern, is appropriate for anybody at any time. This style emphasizes minimalism - no over-ornateness and no clutter. Simplicity does not equate with starkness, of course, a minimalist room can be just as cosy as a “homey" room - but there's less things to run into in a room designed in the Contemporary way.

As with any decorating style, Contemporary design deals with lighting, the walls, the floors, the windows, the furniture, and the accessories of your home. By following the general principle of minimalism for each of these, you'll achieve an overall balance that will make your new home a delight.

Lighting? Stand alone lamps in interesting modern shapes are popular. Recessed lighting gives any room a classy, modern look.

The walls? The rule of thumb for almost all styles is to keep your walls a light color - beige or white - because such colors add brightness to the room and make it appear larger, and will not detract from any wall hangings - paintings, masks, posters, etc. - you use.

These paintings, masks or posters should not cover the walls as if they were thrown there. Rather, one piece per wall is generally enough. By putting too much onto the walls, you detract from the individual pieces - they disappear and are hard to notice.

Hardwood floors are popular. Wall-to-wall carpeting again should be in light-colored shades. Yes they may show the dirt if not properly cared for, but will again make the room look larger and brighter.

Frilly window treatments are out. Some experts say that lots and lots of curtain fabric gives a luxurious feel to a room, but to someone who likes the contemporary style this simply looks over-dressed.

Frilly furniture is also out. By this I mean furniture with flowery upholstery, or ornate twists and curls. Sleek, straight lines and dark upholstery - blacks or blues - are the way to go.

Accessories? Now, they're always difficult. Practically everyone collects something - from stamps to statues to glass eggs to figurines to books. And obviously if you collect something you want to display your collection. The thing is not to overdo it. As with paintings on your walls, your collection will lose its impact if too much is displayed at one time. Every few months, exchange a few pieces with some different ones for a new look.

Don't be a slave to contemporary design however - or to any design. While it's perfectly possible to decorate every room using a single, unifying style, there's no reason why you can't vary this and do one room with a Tuscan look, another with a period look, and so on. It's what you like that matters, after all.

Adam Peters contributes adding long articles on floor lamps for . Find more publications about contemporary decorating at his website.


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