Sometimes, a room scheme needs a simple refresh to bring it up to date. This could be as obvious as a good declutter – most of us are guilty of allowing things to build up over time – or sourcing a key piece such as a rug to help tie accessories, furniture, and paint colours together. A new fabric can allow you to cast an existing piece in a more contemporary light, and don’t forget the power of accessories: from eye-catching objets to fabulous lighting, carefully chosen contemporary designs can really help to elevate an interior. Read on for our top ten tips on how to modernise your home…
Inject a new look into your home with soft furnishings
What better way to update a living room scheme than with a striking contemporary fabric? A fabulous design can transform a space, giving window dressings or an existing piece of furniture a brand-new lease of life. If you are not ready to re-cover your big pieces of furniture, think about adding impact with smaller soft furnishings: a selection of cushions in eye-catching prints and plains can enliven a sofa or armchair, giving it a more modern aesthetic, while a headboard requires relatively little fabric to create a strong focal point in a bedroom. In this living room, a punchy printed fabric, Tropicana in Charcoal, makes the sofa the star of the show, while its predominantly monochrome palette fits in well with the colours of the scheme. The linen blend print has the added advantage of being a forgiving choice, perfect for a busy household.
Don't underestimate wall art
Wall art is to a room what jewellery is to an outfit: it draws the eye and adds depth and interest to a decor. You don’t need to have a vast budget to have interesting pictures: look for limited edition prints, artworks by up-and-coming artists, or seek out images from vintage art books. Think carefully about how you frame a piece: an attractive frame can elevate anything from a child’s painting to an eye-catching postcard. And take time to consider how to hang your art: a gallery wall can provide an arresting feature in a room, and the easiest way to create this is to cut out pieces of paper representing each artwork – better still, print out images of the art to the right size – and tape them to the wall, moving them around until you have achieved a pleasing layout. If you are displaying a single artwork, make sure you hang it at a suitable height: in this room, an abstract oil painting in a lovely vintage frame has been hung close to the wooden chair and headboard to achieve an attractive vignette. A lovely blue-green paint colour acts as a rich foil to the piece and marries nicely with the neat trellis design of the headboard, our Buttons in Pond linen print. Note how the darker pieces such as the frame, chair, and cushions in deep gold help to ground the lighter elements in the décor.
Go for eye-catching lighting
Lights serve a crucial function in a home décor, but don’t overlook their ability to help transform the aesthetics of a room, too. From sculptural ceramic lamp bases to ethereal paper shades, modern lighting choices are endless, offering the chance to enhance your scheme. In this bedroom, for instance, an enamel pendant and an angled table lamp perform the role of reading lights, as well as lending an industrial aesthetic that ties in nicely with the metal framed doors. The pieces are mismatched for a relaxed feel, while the strong turquoise hue of the lights creates a sense of cohesion and is a lovely contrast to the upholstery of the bed, our Moleskin velvet in Gold. A lovely retro colour scheme that suits this laid-back décor.
Rugs, rugs, rugs
We at Linwood love everything to do with textiles and that, of course, includes a good rug. Some interior designers swear by starting a room scheme with a rug; others by choosing it last to pull all the elements of a scheme together. Whichever approach you take, make sure that your chosen piece picks out some of the colours used in the fabrics, paints, or artworks of the room so that your modern home décor feels cohesive and considered. Another important factor to consider is the size of the rug, and it is usually better to think big – you need at least the front feet of sofas and armchairs to be sitting on it to create an expansive, welcoming feel. The deep pile and geometric pattern of this tribal style design are fantastic for bringing a resolutely modern touch to a décor that melds classical and contemporary influences. It perfectly picks out the blue of the sofa fabric, Miletto in Ocean, a contemporary reworking of a timeless damask. A modern style that is both luxurious and enduring.
Embrace a minimal aesthetic
Nothing says modern home décor more than a pared-back aesthetic: decorating with a few carefully curated pieces of furniture and accessories helps to give a feeling of effortless simplicity, giving treasured finds space to breathe. This may be a look you can achieve simply by having a cull of extraneous pieces and if so, make sure you opt to keep the items in your home that truly make your heart sing. Think, too, about texture: a minimal home doesn’t mean an uninviting one, so ensure that your choices have all-important tactile qualities. Here, pieces in natural materials, including a wooden table, a sisal rug and an armchair in our inviting bouclé fabric, Sienna in Almond, contribute to a serene décor, while a floor lamp and wall cabinet lend touches of subtle colour. Proof positive that minimal need never be boring.
Opt for a pared-back wallpaper
A pared-back wallpaper doesn’t necessarily mean a design that is devoid of pattern: decorative papers can work successfully in more minimalist homes, particularly if you choose one that features a restrained colour palette. The Wave is an intricately patterned wallpaper that feels surprisingly simple, thanks to its tonal palette. The Smoke colourway pictured here creates a soothing, restful feel and would work as successfully in a living room or bedroom as it does in this cloakroom setting. Similar ideas include Rumi in Smoky, a subtle yet striking abstract landscape, and Island Paradise in Pearl, a woodland scene in a beautiful knocked-back palette.
Stick to one core colour scheme
Monotone is having a moment and it is a fantastic way to add colour to a room whilst giving it a sense of modernity. Choose paint colours and soft furnishings in similar – although not identical – tones to create a sense of layering and depth, including touches of pattern for added interest. Make sure that your tonal palette suits the effect you want to achieve, be that joyful, cossetting, moody or serene. The tonal hues of this living room, for example, sit at the warmer end of the blues spectrum, creating a scheme that is soothing without feeling cold. Textures add to the feeling of depth and include our wonderful bouclé fabric, Sienna in Fjord, which beautifully complements the inviting forms of the sofa. A cocooning décor that would suit many different spaces, from family rooms to bedrooms.
Vases and candle holders
Home accessories such as vases and candle holders are fantastic for injecting contemporary style into a décor and the beauty about these pieces is that they are highly functional: fill vases with fresh or dried flowers to bring an organic quality to the space, and dot candle holders around the room to provide soft, relaxing candlelight at night. The high street has some fantastic designs that often belie their affordable price tags or seek out one-off creations by artisans. The ceramic vase and jug in this sitting room pick up on the warm mustard and indigo tones of the upholstery and cushions, all of which showcase linens from our Small Prints collection. Modern country style at its best.
Install floor-length curtains
Simple, well-made floor-length curtains will make a room feel sleek and modern – and on a practical note, they are fantastic for cutting down on energy loss. Note that floor-length curtains work, too, if your windows stop short of the floor: the effect is generally more stream-lined and elegant than opting for a curtain hem that sits flush with the sill. If you want to draw the eye to the window, opt for a contemporary printed fabric – tropical designs are particularly having a moment – but if you prefer a subtler look, choose a smart plain that ties in with the décor. Here, our Verde recycled cotton in Pebble complements the monochromatic palette of the décor and works well with the industrial metal-framed doors, for a contemporary style that feels both effortless and elegant.
Declutter any unwanted knick-knacks
A decluttered home offers the chance to view your possessions in a new light, allowing favourite pieces to shine. Try to approach displays in your room with a fresh pair of eyes: are there too many items vying for attention on one shelf or table? Could less aesthetically pleasing items, such as newspapers or remote controls, be housed in attractive baskets? If storage allows, consider rotating collections of accessories and art so that the pieces on show can be better appreciated – this also offers the chance to give your room a regular refresh, as having different pieces to look at every few months keeps the space interesting. Here, an artwork hung off-centre above the sofa has been balanced with a side table offering a simple display. The art, dried flowers, and sofa fabric – our captivating Lumen velvet in Metallic – all share a botanical inspiration that neatly ties the scheme together.
We hope you are fired up with inspiration to bring some fresh contemporary touches to your interiors and remember to consider what you already have before rushing out to buy something new. Reupholstering pieces, curating collections and re-framing art can all help you fall back in love with things you already own. And don’t forget that a minimalist interior need not be one that is devoid of pattern and colour: both have a place in a pared-back scheme and can help to create a home that feels warm and welcoming.
How can contemporary styling make a scheme look more expensive? Just as you might mix high street with high end in fashion, consider doing this in a room scheme. For example, if you have fallen in love with an expensive fabric, use it sparingly where it will be seen, such as on cushion fronts or an ottoman, combining it with more affordable fabrics for bigger items. The same goes when it comes to furniture and accessories: simple pieces can be elevated with a couple of truly original choices such as a one-off piece of art or a vintage chair.
Which materials suit a minimal décor? The simplicity of this style brings the importance of materials to the fore, so if you are refurbishing a home, focus on enduring natural materials that will only improve with age, such as beautiful timbers and stones. The same ideas apply to decorating choices: opt for timeless designs that will lend a textural quality to the spaces, including tactile textiles such as wool, cotton, linen, and silk.