Your First Home
Make Mine Contemporary Light
Copyright Deborah Marks 2003
the many styles, Contemporary Light is very conducive
to young, modern living. It's simplistic in nature and
provides the backdrop for the very busy lives of career-minded
people. I have given this design style the name Contemporary
Light because I want to distinguish it from the glass
and steel contemporary of the 50's and the severe and
austere Minimalist approach.
the word "light" indicates, the furnishings
and the surroundings should light in color, quantity,
and design. The walls should be bathed in light tones
to set the stage for the furnishings and accessories.
Many first homes are condominiums, apartments, or smaller
one-family homes. Increase the feeling of space by painting
all the walls in the same light tone!
element which sets the stage is the flooring. Again use
lighter tones, whether in carpeting, hardwood flooring,
or tile. Uniformity in flooring throughout the home helps
to enlarge the space and provide a subtle backdrop for
The colors for the furnishings and accessories are a very
important part of this style. The tones can be cool and thus
create a calm and serene atmosphere. Or they can be bolder
and allude to a more exciting and outgoing lifestyle. They
should be full hues or pastels; the muted tones should be
used sparingly. A general rule of thumb is to limit your
palette to two predominant colors and use a third for accent.
furnishings should be sleek and simple; they can be casual
or elegant. Sleek design means that the sofas and chairs
are smaller, and the seating is somewhat lower. Such
furnishings are proportionately correct and aesthetically
pleasing in smaller homes. Moved into larger spaces,
they can lend an air of sophistication.
also is achieved by placing fewer pieces in each room.
It prevents clutter and reduces the number of items which
have to be cleaned and maintained. Having fewer furnishings
means that you can invest more into each piece you select!
are many contemporary styles from which to choose. They
can be quite angular, display pleasing curves; they can
consist of several individual pieces or one sectional
unit for the living room or family room. Whatever you
choose, warmth and interest are added to the furniture
and to the interiors through the selection of the woods,
fabrics, and leathers that complete upholstered pieces.
which are compatible with the Contemporary Light style
are beech, cherry, maple, and pearwood. Wenge, a dark
wood from Africa, has been popular the last few years
either as solid wood or as a stain. It's a perfect choice
for a contrasting color scheme.
fabrics available today are fantastic for their range
of color, quality, and durability. For the upholstery,
throw pillows, drapes, there are silk-like materials
made of polyester fabrics which wear better than silk
and stand up superbly to the influences of the sun and
heat. For contemporary interiors, solid colors and stripes
work well. For the windows, there are very delicate sheers
made of polyester in many colors to complement the upholstered
pieces and contribute to the overall feeling of lightness.
the upholstered furniture, choose from warm textured
chenille to the relatively new and popular man-made suede.
The suede is made of synthetic fibers, wears very well,
and is available in numerous colors. Imagine an apricot
colored sectional against buttercup yellow walls. It
cheers you up each time you enter the room!
leathers are quite different from the leathers of yesteryear.
They are more supple, adjust more quickly to body temperature,
and are dyed through and through. If you want durability,
leather is the material for your sofa or chairs. Today
leather comes in a wider range of colors, making an interesting
color statement possible.
you are interested in creating the contemporary light
style in your home, I would suggest visiting a few showrooms
in your area. You can see the furniture first-hand and
talk to the sales consultants. You can begin to realize
the possibilities for your own home. (Resources in the
Bay Area and Seattle are listed at the end of this article.)
Some of the retail stores are quite high-end; others
are more affordable.
for future articles about the Contemporary Light design
style at By Recommendation Only. I will cover individual
topics like color, furniture, flooring, and window treatments
in more depth.
wish you all the best for your start in life as a married
couple and for your start in the world of home design.
Don't let the many decisions you have to make get you
down. Always remember― this
can be be fun and exhilarating. Make it work for both
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