Contemporary architecture is not a homogeneous look, in fact, it’s very far from it. The most unusual houses you’re going to see are going to be contemporary of mid-century modern homes. The distinctive style has many variations on it, and while you can access some liberties with the style with little ease, there are other differentiations on the style that are more easily accessible than trying to incorporate antiques with an ultra-modern scheme.

Whenever you come across a piece you’re particularly fond of that’s potentially overwrought or particularly detailed, you’re going to run into quite a problem when attempting to incorporate it into your contemporary styled home. However, contemporary style covers a large swath of options.

50s to 80s Inspiration

Sometimes referred to as “retro”, this style incorporates older pieces of furniture into a newer space without having to dip into the antique department. The idea of these particular items is that they were all very in vogue when they came out. Because of this, they offer a charming glimpse into what people thought the future should, and would, look like. As far as distinctive features, you’ll find them in most vibrant colors. As our previous articles stated, it’s best to be sparing with color when dealing with true contemporary style. This renders this retro incorporation a little harder to pull off than the rest of the styles. However, as long as you maintain a good balance of stark contrast throughout the rest of the room, it should turn out fine. There are a few ways to recognize this style over the other contemporary designs. Look for the classic modular chair, usually a one-piece, and Formica tables with chrome bar stools. Retro style is also produced by a compilation of boomerang tables and kitschy items with pop culture influences behind them.

City-dwelling

Living in a city is usually much more clamorous in Hong Kong than it is elsewhere. But the rugged, modernist look of the urban style is known for its chic, distinctive flavor. The furniture will often appear smaller since it’s meant for those smaller living spaces that a city is known for. This, however, adds to the traditional contemporary style atmosphere because it capitalizes on using as much of the space as one can. These pieces separate themselves with their sophistication and utilitarian design. You can differentiate these pieces by their hard lines and shapes that are reminiscent of the contemporary architecture they’re made for. They come with very little ornamentation, and often appears in black, or occasionally a bold primary color. The materials used generally consist of microfiber, metal, wood, and glass.

Mid-Century Modern

As the predecessor to traditional contemporary design, this is the easiest to incorporate seamlessly. You’ll find mostly simple designs that are closer to art pieces than being entirely utilitarian. There were many very popular designers that specialized in this style such as George Nelson and Saarinen. You’ll recognize these pieces by identifying the sculpture-like aspects of the piece, with sleek lines. You’ll see these pieces most commonly appear in plexiglass, lucite, metal, glass, and plywood. These materials were often mismatched so that the piece was created from very different textures.

Art Deco

This style is defined by its gentle curving and juxtaposing structured lines. The true differentiator is the combination of expensive materials with synthetic ones. Because of this mixture, it’s hard to make these pieces into formal looking items. These expensive materials will appear as exotic leather, like crocodile, ivory, gold leaf, mother-of-pearl, and lacquers. The lines of the furniture will appear beautifully simplistic and very streamlined, which renders it a good match for contemporary architecture. Since this style was on the rise mostly in the 60s and 70s, mirrors and chromed surfaces appear often among its pieces.

Casual

This is an example of stylists trying to incorporate more warmth into the contemporary architecture of a home. It avoids harder edges that were inherited by the mid-century modern roots. Instead, it leans toward a softer, more natural appearance. It’s purposefully neutral so that it can be used to transform spaces, while also allowing you to allow a space speak for itself. Non-abrasive furniture is become much more popular within the contemporary styled world due to its ability to let things like an entirely rough, slate-stoned wall speak for itself. You can distinguish it by its medium tones paired with leather, glass, and textures. You’ll find it with rounded edges and less dominant lines. It’s much more common for this version to be physically soft in comparison to the other contemporary counterparts.

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