Perhaps it is life’s fast pace, coupled with the economic downturn, or simply the need to take refuge from it all, that has shifted interior design’s focus to what matters most. Accordingly, there has been a return to appreciating natural products, comfort and functionality, and revamping what is at hand to reflect current longings. A keen awareness of sustainability and eco-friendly attitudes also now influence decision-making when adding anything new to the home, from light bulbs to appliances. Here is a look at five important principles guiding 21st century design and how they can be applied to personal living spaces:
Furniture With Uncluttered Lines and Simple Designs
Modern furniture is sleek and simple, with geometric lines replacing overly intricate curves or fancy wooden legs. Conversely, large boxy-shaped sofas and easy chairs invite sinking into ample cushions of leather, suede, velvet or other smoothly finished fabrics from nature’s color palette. Bold patterned pillows and throws supply interest and pull a room together. Functional ottomans in the same shape and fabric can be snugged up for resting feet or used for snack tables or game and magazine rests, with the emphasis on usage and flexibility.
Thus, if replacing sofas and chairs, utility and comfort should be of primary concern. Look for simple designs with soil-treated fabrics that will hold up to wear and tear, yet be inviting enough for everyone. Similarly, if reupholstering comfortable pieces, choose from fabrics that echo nature: beiges, soft blues and greens, terra cottas, warm browns, muted grays. These are restful to look at and will be the most harmonious when adding accessories. Using pillows to add decorative touches allows seasonal enhancements, and keeping a few special ones on hand for entertaining ensures freshening the look in a jiffy.
Walls That Do Not Detract
21st century design de-emphasizes overly decorated walls, following the same minimalist approach as furnishings. Walls are increasingly free of wallpaper, borders, or other distracting elements, instead acting as quiet junctures for interesting, similarly uncluttered windows and doors that provide natural light. Moldings and baseboards are simplistic and non-ornamental, often painted the same or complementary colors as walls. Moreover, tray ceilings with depth perception provide uncluttered upward interest for lighting arrangements. These often include recessed swivel bulbs that ensure light falling where most desired, on artwork or over reading areas. Dimmer switches create atmosphere.
While walls are plainer, they radiate charm and warmth through artwork in various genres. Large oil or acrylic paintings on canvas are often the focus of soaring floor-to-ceiling spaces without windows. Moreover, they are just as apt to be frameless, giving the appearance of floating rather than being confined. Mirrors or glass displays also offer breathtaking dimension, especially when reflecting outdoor scenes or unique lighting fixtures hung over tables or central locations.
Selecting art with modern themes and strong colors will give soft-hued walls personality. While paintings or replicas are always stylish, rooms often dictate other possibilities. A bright art deco poster in a simple metal frame will make any kitchen or family living area seem more alive, while smaller prints with ample color and design are well-suited to baths, bedrooms, dining areas and any walls interrupted by windows or doors and not as spacious.
Kitchens With Eco-Friendly Functionality and Centralized Design
Kitchens have been the heart of the home forever, always family friendly though sometimes crowded. Modern kitchen design has magnified the gathering concept with much more space to enhance mixing eating, socializing, and food preparation, too. Furthermore, while once designed to blend in as insignificantly as possible, modern appliances now sport a new boldness. Stainless steel and other metal finishes formerly relegated to restaurant kitchens grace home appliances, their commercial looks underscoring function and practicality rather than pretense. Designed to take on big jobs nowadays, more relied upon than ever, there is no attempt to hide them. Additionally, their eco-friendly operation requires intelligent engineering and design that makes saving energy a daily kitchen feature.
Thus, no-nonsense appliances are as large as space permits. Remodeling a kitchen, then, should revolve around enhanced spaciousness for family and friends to gather in, but also the accommodations needed by state-of-the-art appliances that double as energy savers through modern engineering. The natural crushed stone and granite products characterizing today’s kitchen workspaces and countertops continue the same functional feeling. Well-placed artwork and colorful rugs, cookware and dinnerware provide warmth.
The Bathroom As An Oasis
As 21st century designers have embraced comfort as the key to home living, it is unsurprising that bathrooms have emerged high on the revamping list. Not only inspiring remodeling projects, they have spurred new home designers to rethink how this room is used. Once the purveyor of simple functionality, prone to being cluttered with frilly curtains and bath accessories, the modern bath now more resembles a luxurious spa, a comfortable oasis for relaxation.
Consequently, fixtures have been designed for ease of use, with modern, eye-appealing lines. Footed or sunken soaking-tubs may be centrally located or backed by a cozy fireplace, while showers can accommodate more than one with larger enclosures and multiple showerheads offering streaming massages. The release of steam only provides another spa-like quality in this home retreat.
Updating a bathroom by replacing old fixtures and faucets provides modern functionality. New vanities and countertops with crushed stone looks, larger floor tiles in neutral tones, and walk-in showers are further ways to accomplish 21st century appeal. Rugs and towels in natural colors and textured fabrics will extend this aesthetic. Also, replacing fluorescent tubes with eco-friendly light bulbs in soft bronze or satin nickel light fixtures imitates natural light where most needed, around mirrors and vanities; adding a high window or two encourages soaks in natural daylight in even the oldest tubs.
Windows And Doors Add More Than Light
With the impetus behind eco-friendly light bulbs in mind, natural lighting is now in vogue as well. Likewise, more attention is paid to window and door design and placement. Once regarded as challenging to conceal while simultaneously allowing light inside, most concealing now is reserved for evening or personal privacy. Thus, windows and doors are in the spotlight, equipped with energy-efficient glass and better insulation and mobility for easy cleaning. Sourcing natural lighting, preventing drafts and damaging sunrays, while also looking nice, is a major plus. And when it comes to privacy and window coverings, less is more. Blinds and shades of natural textured materials are popular, as are any treatments allowing maximum exposure but ample privacy. Once again, an appreciation for nature surpasses unnatural-looking solutions.
Similarly, doors have been given more design prominence. Replacing a section of wall with double French doors or paneled sliders not only allows increased light, but a distinct outdoor connection as well. Using large plants or small trees in painted ceramic pots by the door’s interior allows the release of beneficial oxygen for healthier living. Moreover, doors with a lot of glass make a room feel larger - a clever way to expand when space prohibits it.
The above elements of 21st century interior design and how they can be applied are a testament to simple, uncluttered living. Establishing a home environment that focuses on simple luxuries, personal comfort, colorful relief and the unparalleled presence of nature and its many gifts is the goal.
Beautiful Habitat: Interior Design & Decoration www.beautifulhabitat.com