Modern Interior Design Style: Everything You Need to Know

Modern Interior Design Style: Everything You Need to Know

Born in the late 19th century, the modern interior design style has shaped our homes time and again ever since. It is defined by a neutral color palette where form follows function. This home decor style is neat and relies heavily on simple design elements such as clean crisp lines, right angles, and natural materials.

The modern style also employs glass and steel accents to create a welcoming feel as well as fresh individual elements that feature logic and practicality rather than indulging in opulent décor. It has been popular in homes, offices, and public spaces for decades.

Although not suitable for everyone’s taste, modern home design makes a strong selling point for prospective buyers with its minimalism and simplicity.

What is Modern Interior Design Style?

popular home decor style, the modern design style is characterized by a monochromatic color scheme, refined by clean edges, a minimalistic décor approach, natural materials, and natural light. Modern design has its own distinct style that specifically refers to the historic aesthetic movement. It celebrates the union of natural materials with earthy tones and uncluttered spaces.

Modern Interior Design
Image: William Waldron

Modern design is an elected time period that originated at the turn of the century with a shift toward industrialization and really grew in popularity all through the first half of the century. Rooted in modernism, modern style focuses on abstract thinking, functionality, and basic forms. The style is a reflection of the modern art movement on the home interiors with several central characteristics.

Modern Vs Contemporary Interior Design

Often confused and used synonymously with contemporary design, modern home design matured out of the decorative arts in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It refers to a style with a distinct time period in history; whereas contemporary design refers to currently new and innovative design trends. The rules of the modern style stay pretty much the same, while contemporary design rules are ever-evolving.

History of Modern Home Design

Starting in the late 19th century, the modern style reached its height during the 1930s. Although the design trend slowly dropped after that with movements like Post-Modernism emerging in the world of design, modern style survived into the present day.

“Form follows function” is one of the most significant codes of modern design, which focuses on creating a practical and functional space rather than aesthetic or ornate elements. This era witnessed homes designed in the modern style featuring open floor plans, large glass windows, geometric shapes and patterns, natural elements, and smooth and straight lines, which marries the indoors with the outdoors.

The modern interior design style has German and Scandinavian roots through its use of natural materials such as metals, glass, vinyl, and plywood. The origin of modern design can be traced back to German Bauhaus design and Scandinavian design. A German school of design and ensuing art movement in the early 20th century, Bauhaus offered elements of minimalistic functionality and experiments with shape.

The design style was also influenced by modern art, which rejected the maximalist trends of Victorian design to prioritize its mantra of form and function. The dominant features include floor-to-ceiling windows, open living spaces, and flat roofs.

Characteristics of Modern Interior Style

Modern design is a breath of fresh air with its simple defining elements in an era when interiors are getting smaller and smaller. Read on to know its key features to curate a modern interior design style.

Clean and Crisp Lines

Modern interiors are distinguished by clean, straight lines, and minimal adorning elements. The style emphasizes fewer curves and crisp edges. It often leaves structural elements such as concrete or beams exposed. This is an ode to the contribution of industrialization to the modern style. Modern design doesn’t indulge in arches and opulent curves but makes ample use of horizontal and vertical lines.

Modern Design Style with Clean Lines
Image: Kyde Architects


Modern interiors are clutter-free and without unnecessary flourishes. It highlights functionality over fashion that was inspired by the serene minimalism of Scandinavian design and the rigid adherence to simplistic elements. This style became an antidote for its excessive and extravagant counterparts.

Modern Interior Design Style - Minimalist Interior
Image: Kanstantsin Remez

Neutral and Monochromatic Palette

The neutral and monochromatic palette is unpretentious and uses textures and natural tones to attract attention to the distinctive architectural elements of the modern interiors. It can provide a calming space by employing natural, untreated colors of concrete or stone paired with muted paint tones like grey or white, beige, black, and pastel tones.

Modern Design Style with Neutral Color Palette
Image: Office4

Open Floor Plan

Open floor plans are a brilliant way to solve the problem of cluttered spaces in small homes and apartments. The open floor plans and minimalist design trends can help create a welcoming and comfortable environment. This trend can help emphasize simplicity, natural light, and openness.

Defining Elements of Modern Interior Style - Open Floor Plan
Image: Jette Creative

Also Read:Design Direction: Your Simple Guide to Getting Eclectic Style Right

Unpretentious Interior

The modern interior design style is simple and modest of the lot. It makes use of functional and practical spaces and objects to create an unpretentious interior. You will not find any opulent or extravagant things in a modern interior that doesn’t have practical use.

Unpretentious Modern Interiors
Image: Kyde Architects

Uncluttered Spaces

With a priority for performance over fashion, modern interiors are known for their uncluttered spaces. A neat and tidy home can keep your stress levels in check while making it an inviting space. Modern homes are free from unnecessary flourishes and purely decorative things.

Modern Interior Design Style - Uncluttered Spaces
Image: Moretti Interior Design

Natural Materials and Light

The use of natural materials and natural light is encouraged in modern interiors. A fuss-free approach incorporated new materials like reinforced concrete and steel, adding depth to the style. Unpainted wood, metals, leather, and monochromatic colors are often observed in modern design. Natural light is allowed to filter in through lots of windows, which are typically unadorned. It gives the space a warm, welcoming, and spacious feel.

Natural Materials and Natural Light in Modern Homes
Image: Collov Home Design

Modest and Functional Furniture

Modern furniture is humble and functional. Leather and fabric upholstery, wood veneers, glass, chrome, steel, and concrete are some of the common finishes for modern furniture. You will find low, horizontal furnishings with clean lines in modern style. With smooth surfaces and little ornamentation, modern furniture adheres to the design style’s fundamental motto.

Modern Furniture
Image: Andrew Twort

Modern Art

Modern art is one of the ways to incorporate the style into your home. Modernist artists disdained the traditional idealistic approaches of realism. They chose to create expressive artwork in vivacious colors and unusual forms. The style boasts abstract art, cubism, and Fauvism to capture the essence of the modern perspective.

Modern Art for Modern Homes
Image: Mariah Cardoso

How to Get the Modern Look Right?

Modern design style may not have a single definition but it is a style that characterized a swath of design styles. Born from a need for simplicity, modern style takes a pared-down approach to décor. There are many ways to instill modern interior design into your home.

Through Color: You can paint walls in neutral colors such as gray or cream and offset them with darker furnishings for a high-contrast layout.

Open Floor: Knocking down separating walls can be a start to evoke modern design in your home. Open floor plans are at the heart of this style and can offer spacious and interlinked areas.

Statement Furniture: Iconic furniture pieces like the Eames Lounge Chair, Barcelona Chair, and Tulip Chair are among a few examples of the design style. Most of these pieces marry plywood and leather that can help you incorporate the statement modern furniture in your home.

Natural Material: As natural materials are luxuriously used in modern design, you can incorporate polished chrome, natural wood, and aniline leather for a smooth look.

Modern Design Style Inspirations

If you are still not sure about how to adopt the modern style in your home, here are a few gorgeous modern interior inspirations for each part of the house. From humble and inviting living spaces to calming and sleek furniture, these ideas should guide you on the right course. Get inspired!

Modern Design Style Bedroom

Modern Interior Design Style - Bedroom
Image: Kanstantsin Remez

Modern Bedroom Design
Image: Brophy Interiors

Modern Style Bedroom
Image: Shexia Space Design

Modern Design Style Living Room

Modern Style Living Room
Image: 0932 Design Consultants
Modern Living Room Inspiration
Image: Joshua McHugh

Modern Living Room
Image: Brophy Interiors

Modern Style Kitchen

Modern Kitchen Inspirations
Image: Brophy Interiors
Modern Design Style Kitchen
Image: Kyde Architects

Modern Style Kitchen
Image: Brophy Interiors

Modern Style Furniture

Modern Furniture - Eames Chair
Image: Modern Homes Portland
Modern Furniture - Barcelona Chair
Image: Roger Davies

Modern Style Art

Modern Art
Image: Matthieu Salvaing

Art for Modern Homes
Image: West Elm

Art for Modern Homes



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