In the ongoing debate over contemporary versus traditional style, contemporary certainly seems to be holding its own in today’s office. Contemporary furniture is often used as an umbrella term when talking about a range of styles from mid-century modern, minimal urban to casual off-the-shelf pieces, but has very definite associations.
As the antithesis of traditional carved wood, ornate detailing and superfluous furnishings, it offers both functional solutions to modern living and sleek style. The following are some of the best approaches to contemporary furniture today.
Retro and modern
Some may argue over its definition as a contemporary style, but even the retro-chic of 20th century designers like Charles Eames has more in common with the contemporary canon than traditional pieces. An early suburban drive for simplicity, associated with pre-fab housing, the mid-century modern offices mixes natural and artificial materials like wood against vinyl, metal against Plexiglass. Recreate this style by going for organic but clean lines and a neutral or monochrome palette.
A more openly retro approach might include items described as ‘kitsch’ and a kind of sixties feel for bright hues of orange and cerise, high-shine materials like chrome and molded tables and chairs which demonstrate a curious blend of both futuristic design and vintage nostalgia.
Function first and foremost; the contemporary city-dweller will often use urban style to give their office a touch of spacious elegance where space might be the very thing that’s limited. So urban means multi-tasking units such as under bed storage, window-seat drawers and sofa-beds. Finding pieces such as those from Stress less furniture will help to make the office look modern yet provide a comfortable space to enjoy. Key colors tend to be a balance of high-contrasting black and primary tones, with little print or embellishment and an emphasis on markedly man-made material like glass, metal and microfiber.
Today’s mainstream furniture market is successfully selling a combination of relaxed comfort, matt colors and a low-maintenance feel. Neutrals are again a staple, with a trend for one bright accent color deployed on a sofa, wall or focal point to create a strong visual contrast. The modular approach to seating and storage ranges is popular, so that buyers can easily increase or reduce their furniture according to needs and capacity. The angles of earlier contemporary items and urban furnishings are softened here with wood making reappearance and curves sneaking back in.
Decorating your home in a contemporary fashion is fairly straightforward these days and doesn’t come with the high price tags of the past. Functional pieces which adhere to the demands of modern living can be found for every budget and taste, from off-the-shelf self-assembly units to bespoke options. The key things to look for are always practicality, lack of ornamentation and an uncluttered feel. Stick with these objectives in mind and your contemporary home will emerge around you with less effort than you may think.