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Abstract Designs Set Off Contemporary Decor

By Staff

Contemporary and Modern decor styles can surprise observers these days. The latest versions of these sleek, sharp styles have been re-interpreted in the 21st century to add new layers of warmth and global sophistication.

Modern decor, which actually began around the turn of the 20th century, still retains the sharp lines and hard surfaces for which it was originally known. However, its stark black and white palette has been softened in recent years by the introduction of warmer earth tones in furnishings such as pillows, area rugs and art. Black and white still dominates the Modern color scheme, but its accents have taken on a warmer touch. White walls have evolved from icy to ivory, setting up the perfect background for abstract art in earth tones. This move to warmer colors also shows up in area rugs, where abstract designs appear in shades from brown area rugs to beige rugs.  

Meanwhile, the Contemporary style has moved from industrial chic to casual home. The emphasis remains on simplicity, with sleek lines, uncluttered spaces and a neutral palette. This simple spaciousness proves to be ideal for showcasing a single Contemporary artwork done in bold lines of color, or an abstract whose curves may provide the room's surprise element. The colors of the artwork set the palette for the rest of the room, reflected especially in the choice of solid colored area rugs that harmonize without competing with the artwork.

Providing contrast is another way that artwork and area rugs work together in Modern and Contemporary decor. While most decorators can imagine using a boldly colored artwork against a white wall, inverting that scheme with light-colored art against a solid black wall provides a striking focal point for the room. With a design element of this type, the decorator then has the option to repeat the inversion on the floor – white rugs against dark tile flooring, for example.

Like Modern and Contemporary decorating styles, artwork that’s considered Modern or Contemporary also emphasizes sharp lines and simple, uncluttered forms. The impact of this style assures that the art will become the room’s focal point, meaning that its companion area rugs should be in solid colors, or have simple geometric patterns that don’t detract from the art. Nothing destroys a room’s decor quicker than the mistake of having two competing focal points. With two strong eye-catching pieces in a room – especially a room that’s otherwise as simple as a Modern or Contemporary design – the eye doesn’t know where to land. Having two pieces that “fight” one another so strongly dilutes the impact of both.

That’s why, difficult as it may be, a home decorator must make a choice: strong art or strong area rugs in Contemporary and Modern design. That’s not to say that either can’t be of good quality and do its part. However, the purpose of having a focal point is to give the room a center around which the rest of the design should revolve. Because Modern and Contemporary designs tend toward the minimalist, bold art or bold rugs stand out even more. The trick is choosing which one has the best ability to serve as the room’s major design piece.

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