Modern Interior Design Style: The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Modern Home

Many of my real estate clients have questions about certain interior designs. They have a desired look they want to see in their home, but aren’t sure how to decide. One of the more popular choices out there is modern interior design but it’s often confused with contemporary design. I’m here to answer the question, what is modern interior design?

Contemporary dining room with pendant lights and marble floors

What is Modern Interior Design?

In simple terms, Modern Interior Design is simplistic with an open and inviting feel. The space is airy and lacks anything ornate or complex.

Types of Modern Interior Design

The following are some examples of Modern Interior Design that may inspire you! Every design is an individual approach to interior design; you can incorporate it into your home uniquely.

Mid-Century Modern

Mid-century modern is a timeless style that emphasizes simplicity, functionality, and an appreciation for the beauty of natural materials. It continues to be popular today, with many people drawn to its clean lines, warm woods, and vintage appeal.

This style emerged in the mid-20th century (the 1940s to 1960s) and showcases clean, simple lines, geometric shapes, and an emphasis on functionality.

  • Materials: Natural elements like wood, leather, and linen
  • Color palette: often neutral, with pops of bold and vibrant colors
  • Flooring: terrazzo, travertine, cork, etc.

You will often see the use of natural materials such as wood, leather, and linen. Furniture in mid-century modern style often features clean lines and geometric shapes, such as the famous Eames lounge chair, and designers like Charles and Ray Eames, George Nelson, Eero Saarinen, Hans Wegner, and many more. Flooring often includes terrazzo, travertine, or cork.

The color palette in mid-century modern interiors is often neutral, with pops of bold and vibrant colors, such as orange and teal. Lighting fixtures in mid-century modern interiors are often simple and functional, such as the iconic sputnik chandeliers or sleek and sculptural table and floor lamps.

Minimalist Design

Like to keep things simple? Consider the minimalist design. It’s a comfortable space with lots of space. As the name suggests, the less you have, the more minimalist you are. Many people enjoy minimalism because they don’t like being surrounded by lots of furniture and decorations.

The minimalist design focuses on the space with key elements like a vase or houseplants.

open concept kitchen, dining room, and living room with a minimalist modern design

Minimalist Modern

Similar to the Minimalist Design, what sets Minimalist Modern apart is that it focuses on materials and texture. There is no decor like wall art to bring attention to the space. This design focuses on the textures in the floors and walls and natural light to bring attention to the space.

Modern Rustic Farmhouse Kitchen with kitchen island and open concept with dining room

Modern Farmhouse

Modern farmhouse combines elements of traditional farmhouse design with modern elements and aesthetics that showcase a rustic charm. Clean lines, neutral color palettes, and organic materials like wood and stone define the style.

It often incorporates vintage and rustic elements, such as reclaimed wood, barn doors, and exposed brick, but with a modern twist.

In terms of decor and furniture, the Modern farmhouse style often features a mix of vintage and modern pieces, such as a vintage farmhouse table paired with contemporary metal chairs or a reclaimed wood headboard with crisp white bedding.

Lighting fixtures and hardware tend to have a vintage or industrial feel, like a pendant light made of metal or a simple pull handle on a cabinet door.

The modern farmhouse style also often utilizes open floor plans, with spaces designed to create a continuous flow between functional areas. Kitchens often feature large islands, open shelving, and apron-front sinks and are combined with dining and living areas for an open and connected feeling.

living room showing wooden coffee table with rustic centerpiece and basket next to accent chair with open concept kitchen in background

Modern Rustic

In modern rustic interiors, natural wood elements are explored, such as reclaimed wood flooring or barn wood-style walls. Exposed brick, stone, or concrete surfaces are also commonly used.

To balance the natural elements and textures, modern rustic spaces often feature clean lines and simple shapes, with a neutral color palette of whites, grays, and natural wood tones.

Furniture in modern rustic spaces often has a mix of modern and rustic elements, such as clean-lined sofas and natural wood dining tables. Decor in modern rustic spaces often features natural materials such as woven baskets, wool throws, and pottery.

Lighting fixtures are often simple and industrial, such as pendant lights, or have a rustic feel, like chandeliers made of wood or metal.

Overall, modern rustic is a style that emphasizes the beauty of natural materials while incorporating a modern aesthetic.

It’s a style that can create a warm and inviting space with a balance of natural textures, modern lines, and comfortable pieces.

living room with industrial style chairs and iron wall hangings

Industrial Modern

Modern industrial interior design combines an industrial space’s raw and rugged aesthetic with a modern interior’s sleek and contemporary look. A mix of exposed brick, metal, and concrete surfaces and a neutral color palette with pops of color often characterizes this style.

One of the key elements of modern industrial interior design is raw and unfinished materials. Exposed brick walls, concrete floors and ceilings, and metal surfaces such as steel beams or pipes are all commonly found in this style of interior. Using these materials gives the space a sense of history and character and adds texture and depth to the design.

Industrial Modern Design of an open floor concept with couch in living room and kitchen with island in the background

Another important aspect of modern industrial interior design is a neutral color palette. This often includes shades of gray, black, and white, as well as natural wood tones. The neutral color palette helps to create a sense of calm and harmony within the space and serves as a blank canvas for the use of bold pops of color.

Furnishings and accessories are often kept minimal and functional, with sleek lines and clean forms. Industrial-style light fixtures, simple metal or wooden furniture, and vintage or retro-inspired pieces are all common choices in this interior style.

It is also important to note that modern industrial interior design is not a minimalistic design style. It is meant to be curated, with balance and textures playing a big role, and not just looking unorganized and empty.

Modern industrial interior design creates a functional and stylish space with a raw, edgy, modern, timeless aesthetic.

What does Modern Home mean?

A modern home generally refers to a house that is designed and built using contemporary architectural principles, materials, and technologies. Modern homes are characterized by clean and simple geometry and the use of new materials such as steel and reinforced concrete.

Some of the defining features of modern homes include:

  • An open floor plan allows for greater space flexibility and natural light to flow through the home.
  • Large windows provide natural light and blur the line between the indoors and outdoors, creating a sense of connection to nature.
  • A minimalist aesthetic, with simple, uncluttered interiors with functionality over ornamentation.
  • A neutral color palette, emphasizing white and other light colors, gives the interiors a sense of spaciousness and serenity.
  • The use of modern building techniques and technologies such as energy-efficient systems, airtight construction, and prefabrication.
  • With sustainable approaches, including the use of renewable energy sources and sustainable building materials, and energy-efficient systems.

It is worth noting that what is considered a “Modern Home” can vary over time and that architectural movements, materials, technologies, and design principles are continually evolving.

What is the difference between Modern and Contemporary?

Modern interior design is characterized by a minimal, clean, and uncluttered look. It is inspired by the Bauhaus design movement of the early 20th century, which emphasizes function and simplicity.

Modern interiors feature a neutral color palette with pops of bold primary colors. Materials such as wood, metal, and leather are often natural. Furniture has clean, straight lines and is often made of metal and glass.

Lighting often includes recessed lighting, floor lamps, and statement lighting fixtures.

On the other hand, Contemporary interior design is more fluid and adaptable than modern design. It is not defined by a specific time period but rather by the current trends and styles of the present moment.

Contemporary interiors are characterized by a sense of simplicity and a minimalist aesthetic but often include a mix of different design elements, such as vintage, industrial, and even traditional.

The color palette for contemporary interiors is often neutral and monochromatic but can also include bold, bright colors and unexpected patterns and prints. Materials used are often a mix of natural and man-made materials, such as wood and metal.

Furniture has clean, simple lines but can also include more sculptural and organic forms. Lighting is also an essential element of contemporary design and often includes LED lighting and statement lighting fixtures.

It is worth noting that while the two styles have some similarities, the main difference is that Modern is a defined style from a certain period. Contemporary is a more fluid style that incorporates elements from a different era and can change over time.

transitional style living room with open concept kitchen with kitchen island and white couch

What is the difference between Modern and Traditional?

Modern design is characterized by simplicity and minimalism with an emphasis on functionality, while the traditional design is characterized by warmth, elegance, and an emphasis on ornamentation and detail.

Also, modern design is an outcome of a movement, contemporary trends, and technology, while the traditional design is more closely linked to historical and cultural styles.

Many homeowners like to combine traditional and modern style, and this is known as a transitional interior design.

Bottom Line

If you’re still wondering more about modern interior design, you are welcome to contact me here with your questions. I’m here to make your dream home a reality! If you’re looking for Modern Interior Design, which style do you like the best?

Nicole Mickle

I've lived, worked, and played in Orlando my entire life. Let's make the most out of your Florida lifestyle! I'm here to help you take overwhelming interior design options and simplify them room by room.

5 thoughts on “Modern Interior Design Style: The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Modern Home

  1. Your explanation of the modern-rustic design that you can get for your house was really interesting. Just thinking about blending these two designs into one really makes me excited for the end result since these two styles are some of my favorites. Once I find an interior design expert in the area, I’ll definitely get them to help me achieve a style like this.

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