When you first start considering the many different styles of furniture available, the array of choices can seem intimidating and more than a little confusing. Once you do a little bit of browsing, shopping around, and looking at various styles, though, your preferences will start to emerge. You will likely find yourself drawn to one particular style more than any other, and for many people that particular style is contemporary.
How do you know if contemporary furniture is right for you? Let’s take a look at a few considerations that might help you answer this question.
What is contemporary furniture?
The first step is to define and understand the attributes of contemporary furniture style. This will help give you a better idea of what it is, what it is not, and what characteristics to look for in contemporary styling.
In general, contemporary furniture uses modern materials like glass, metal, chrome and composites. The shapes tend to be very angular, with a lot of right angle corners, distinct edges, and overall lines that may be asymmetrical or otherwise not quite square. There is usually very little in the way of carving, decoration, or other intricate details. Surfaces are typically very smooth in texture and flow in an even line from one end of the piece to the other.
The look and feel of contemporary furniture is often described as clean, sleek, chic and high tech by fans of the style. By contrast, it is often described as cold, hard and sterile by those whose tastes do not include contemporary styling.
Where does contemporary furniture come from?
Contemporary furniture can originate from anywhere on the globe because it is defining more by shape and materials than by region or culture.
Different cultures do have their own versions of contemporary furniture, though, so it is not uncommon to see furniture that is called American contemporary, European contemporary, or Asian contemporary. One especially popular style among people who prefer sleek, clean lines is the style known as Japanese contemporary. This grouping of furnishings combines traditional Japanese shapes and simplicity with the modern world of contemporary materials and looks.
What materials does contemporary furniture use?
As mentioned earlier, contemporary furniture makes extensive use of glass, metal, chrome, and other composite materials. True contemporary furniture rarely includes wood, leather, or other natural components, instead usually opting for man-made materials and synthetic fabrics or coverings.
Increasingly, though, the boundaries of contemporary furniture materials are blurring. The current trend is to define contemporary more by shape and feel rather by the material used for construction, opening the door to furniture that is quasi-contemporary. These pieces typically have the clean, angular lines of traditional contemporary styling, but they may use wood or other natural materials in construction.
What is the best environment for contemporary furniture?
Contemporary furniture can look terrific in many different kinds of spaces and rooms. In general, it looks best in environments where the colors are neutral, which creates a sharp contrast with the stark shapes of contemporary furniture. A contemporary environment will typically have few decorations, wall hangings, or other adornments, in keeping with the sleek, angular style of the furniture. Tile floors are common, as are short fibered carpets and rugs.
An environment with abundant lighting is also a good fit for contemporary furniture styles. Track lights, spotlights, and other focused fixtures are common, as are lights that give off a sharp, white light rather than a softer yellow light. The sharpness and color of the light highlights the lines of contemporary furniture and contributes to an overall modern feel.