What is Modern Interior Design?

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

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

For those that are all in and know this is it for them and may need to start a smaller or big renovation here are a few pointers to achieve this look.  Stairs are a huge piece in the design.  Whether it is architectural design or mixing acrylic surfaces with wood or adding metal spindles with natural woods.

To better understand the full scope of modernism, you can check out this infographic. Think of modernism as “modern thinking.” During the Enlightenment, modernists were always looking for ways to “cross the line” and push boundaries. They strived for creativity and wanted to move the culture in a new direction.

A modern space allows for additional interior design influences such as Industrial Modern, Modern Rustic, Mid Century Modern, and Minimalist.

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 and you can incorporate it into your home in a way that’s unique to you.

Mid-Century Modern

Mid-Century Modern is a design approach that got very popular after World War II. It focuses on clean lines and wooden bases, but it also incorporates pops of color and more flashy accessories. It allows you to keep a simple space and dress it up with a few vibrant and unique items like rugs or throw pillows.

Follow my mid-century modern design board on Pinterest!

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. There are lots of people who enjoy minimalism because they don’t like being surrounded by lots of furniture and decorations. The minimalist design focuses on the space itself with a small amount of key elements like a vase or some houseplants.

Find Minimalist Design inspiration on my Pinterest board!

Minimalist Modern

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

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. The picture above is a great example of Modern Home Design.

Modern Farmhouse

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

This is without a doubt one of the more popular modern styles available and relies on a natural theme, often leaning on wood or wooden patterns to create a more dressed up space. Colors for this style include earthy greens, grays, and even warmer whites. You can oscillate between industrial elements and slightly dressed up glam elements to create a more modern look.

Modern Rustic

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

If you enjoy modern designs with a hint of industrial and rustic furnishings, then Modern Rustic Design may be right for you. Wooden coffee tables like the one pictured above can add a woodsy accent to a room. This design is eclectic but subtle in doing so.

Industrial Modern

living room with industrial style chairs and iron wall hangings

Following the modern look, Industrial Modern utilizes architecture and furniture that will make you think of old factories, but in a good way! Furniture pieces are made with leather and metal. The wall hangings in the picture above are made with either copper or iron. Exposed brick and weathered surfaces are very common.


Maybe you are still trying to figure out if this is your style and do not want to invest a lot of money or time in making the change. I would suggest adding in a few key design elements like:  pillows, lighting, and decluttering table tops and counter spaces. Going for lighter colors that would blend in with your current design style.

Modern Interior Design FAQs

Q:  What is the difference between Modern and Contemporary?

Modern interior design has a minimalist feel with clean lines and natural elements. You may notice inspiration from the past. The contemporary design incorporates current trends. In other words, it’s more cutting edge.

Q: What does Modern Home mean?

A modern home could have many different definitions. It could reference the exterior and or interiors design of the home, it could mean for the lifestyle of the members of the home.

Q:  What is the difference between Modern and Traditional?

Modern is focused on clean lines and minimalism. Traditional is an eclectic mix of many design styles like Mid Century, Industrial, and Nordid.

If you’re still wondering more about what is 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 “What is Modern Interior Design?

  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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