Welcome to our Home By Design series!

First off – why the name? Well, I have two reasons for Home By Design:

#1: This series is going to cover 5 trending Interior Design styles, (specifically for your home), so I knew I wanted to words “home” and “design” to be central.

#2: To me, design communicates intentionality. I created this series to help you intentionally turn your living space into your dream home via your favorite Interior Design style.

So, “Home By Design,” to communicate using Interior Design concepts in your home. And, “Home By Design,” to communicate intentionally designing your living space so that you love where you live.

(So smart, right?!) 

(Only took me 3 weeks – what a whirlwind!)

So get ready – this week we’re kicking this series off with one of the most popular styles out there…  

Style 1 | Modern

(Don’t have time right now? Pin me for later!) 

[This post may contain affiliate links, which means I make a small commission on products you purchase through the links provided at no extra cost to you. See my disclosure for details.]

The Short & Sweet:

Modern décor (as we know it) goes by a few different names. The most common terms are Modern, Contemporary and Minimalistic. While each of these styles actually have their own distinctive traits, the names are usually used interchangeably.

So before we move on to making a modern home, let’s clear this up really quick:  

Contemporary style means, “whatever style is currently modern,” not just “Modern décor.” So, though Modern décor is Contemporary décor at the moment, it will one day be outdated and therefore no longer be Contemporary.

For example, let’s say in the next 10 years, Modern décor will be overtaken in popularity by Robot Space décor.

(I’m very good at predicting design trends.)

Robot Space décor will then become the next Contemporary design style, while Modern will still be Modern, (though ironically, it will no longer be modern.)


Good, here’s the next one:

Minimalist style is pretty much just what it sounds like. Minimalists believe “less is more” – to a hardcore degree.

True minimalism involves incredibly bare households. It’s much more intensive than just decluttering your living space. I used to think I was somewhat of a minimalist, until I looked at true minimalist homes.

Then I was all, “Nah, I like more stuff than that.”

That leaves us with what we came for: Modern!

Tonya Lee summed it up best in her article Understanding the Modern Style of Décor by defining Modern like this: 

“Modern style furnishings and décor celebrate natural materials, neutral or earthy colors, and the elimination of unnecessary detailing.”

 So, it makes sense why it would get confused with minimalism. Both are trying to eliminate unnecessary items in the home, but minimalism is much more intensive. 

How to Make it Modern  

Now that we’re experts in Modern Interior Design theory, how to we make a Modern home? Well, to bring Modern style into your living space, you should start with these…

Three Defining Traits: 

#1: Open Spaces

Modern homes are open and inviting. By open, we mean the space literally feels open – room to breath, room to move, etc.! If you’re trying to modernize your home, start with brainstorming ways to either decrease your stuff, increase your storage, or both. 

#2: White & Light

Oof. Parents (and possibly dog owners) tend to cringe at this point. But white/light colors are extremely prevalent in Modern home décor, sometimes to the point where it’s the only color in the home. 

(Granted, they don’t actually live in the home at that point.)

(They just take pictures and wish they could.)

Even if you don’t feel comfortable buying white couches, be sure you incorporate white/extremely light colors somewhere in your home! You can utilize white in high, hard-to-stain areas, but be sure it’s included. 

#3: Natural Wood

Light wood, dark wood, grey washed wood, wood accent walls, wood-colored baskets, wood backsplashes, wood furnishings – there are so many ways to get creative with this! And by “natural wood,” we mean wood with natural colors: i.e. colors you might expect to see in the forest. 

(Or wherever trees come from.)

So, if you’re wood is stained and therefore not showing it’s “natural” color, that’s fine – let’s just put a lid on the purple stain until we get to other styles.

Awesome! You’ve started with the three defining traits of Modern décor – now you’re ready to finish it off with these…

4 Modern Essentials:

Palette Planning:

As Tonya called out earlier, earth tones and neutral colors bring Modern homes to life. Basically, your browns, whites, greys, and black.

(Maaaaaaybe light pink, but for heaven’s sake, call it rouge.) 

Small Space tip: if your ceiling is low and your room feels cramped, paint the ceiling with your light colors and your walls and floor with the darker ones. This makes the ceilings appear higher and opens up the room! 

Finding Furniture:

Think simple, bold, and elegant.

Your furniture should generally follow the same color scheme as above, but it can be chunky, slim, bulky, asymmetrical or otherwise. This is where you get to experiment with what you like! 

Having an accent piece is really effective in Modern décor. Say you have light tan couches: if you have hints of the deep red in your wall décor, throw in a solid red arm chair in the corner just for the “wow” factor! This simultaneously ties the room together and makes the accent piece stand out.

NOTE: Furniture with patterns is not encouraged with modern décor – it’s a “soft rule” that can be broken, but really shouldn’t. Stick to solid colors!

Décor Items:

Think about objects that make a statement about your specific tastes AND your Modern décor! Use geometrical shapes, especially objects with triangles, squares, circles, and hourglasses.  

But don’t be afraid to go off-book here! Kooky lamps with irregular shapes make perfect Modern décor pieces.

(Also, I worked hard to throw in the word kooky. It’s a great word.)

Additionally, you can add throw blankets, candle sticks, cylinders, lamp stands and block side tables, (i.e. side tables that are all one block with no legs.)

Tip: Even though Modern décor feels fancy, thrift stores have a lot of great finds for this style!

Wall Décor:

This is a great place to personalize your Modern décor. If there’s something you like, (say, French Bulldogs, for example,) find large, simple prints of French bulldogs that you like and display them in your home!

They key with Modern wall décor is that it needs to stand out, even if it’s simple. Actually, simple is better, but make sure it’s large, asymmetrical or able to stand out in some other way. 

Framed personal photos, unique glass pieces and art projects look great in Modern homes. Don’t have access to fancy art? (Neither do I!) Gold-rimmed mirrors/photos look stunning and are extremely DIY doable. 

Instagram for Inspiration

If you’re wanting examples, ideas and inspiration for Modern décor, check out what these experts are doing! Here are our favorite Instagram accounts to follow for Modern décor:




@naomidreamhome (Naomi’s page is specializes in minimalism!)


Alright, that’s all for me! Don’t forget to stay tuned for our next post…

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Thanks for reading, be sure to share if you liked it, and have a GREAT week!

Stay Restless, Creatives! 

~ Christine