Does your home retain those classic vestiges of style from bygone eras? Still have the iconic “golden oak”-colored cabinetry of the 90s, walls of mirror and shag carpeting from the 70s and 80s, or even a 50s-era pastel tiled bathroom? It might be time to bid these relics “goodbye” and introduce a more modern feel into your home. And while that might sound like an expensive feat, there are actually a lot of really affordable ways to bring your décor and design into the present. Here are a few fun tips to help you give your home a modern feel (without breaking the bank).
The modern aesthetic is all about clean lines and open-spaces. To that end, clutter or a sense of business can really be a mood killer. So to bring that sense of modern-day chic into your home, start by de-cluttering in a major way. Eliminate knick-knacks from shelves get rid of wall clocks (plus your multitude of family photos or anything else that’s busying-up your walls), and find tucked-away storage places for things that were once kept out and in plain view. Without introducing a single new piece of furniture, the lack of clutter and barren space should spark that feeling of Zen modernity you’re looking for (and it’ll cost you absolutely nothing).
Keep lines clean
Strong shapes like the square or rectangle are a staple of the modern aesthetic (while frills, swirls, and loopy shapes are its antithesis). So wherever you can introduce those powerful right-angles (in your furniture, your décor, and your design in general), do it. In the living room, a low, hard-lined sofa and an unassuming glass coffee table are good go-to options (nothing round or fluffy – think “crisp”).
Go for flat-faced cabinetry and squared-off countertops in the kitchen. A quartz countertop might be your best bet if you want to achieve that modern look: it’s got all the benefits of a sturdy stone countertop but looks incredibly modern (and not quite so natural and “earthy” as sandstone or limestone, for example). A new trend in quartz countertops is the “waterfall” effect, where the counter extends down the sides of cabinets to the floor, creating continuous flow across your countertop or island and down. Quartz countertops are great, too, because they’re not quite so expensive as marble or most granite. If you’re looking to find that ultimate modern staple for your kitchen that’s still budget-friendly, this might be the way to go.
When it comes to color, go high-contrast
Stark shapes aren’t the only things that have a strong visual impact on modern design. Color is also used to make that induce a sense of drama, and in a modern home, those colors should be powerfully high-contrast, yet remain fairly neutral. You really can’t go wrong pairing black with white: try black bottom cabinetry in your kitchen contrasted with a white quartz countertop, white tile backsplash, and white upper cabinets. It’ll be a high-impact look that will age incredibly well.
If you’re averse to black and white, don’t fret: you have other options. Deep charcoal grey has become wildly popular (with good reason), and it too can convey a modern feel when paired with a high-contrast neutral (like an off-white or cream). Deep navy or even an emerald green could serve this same purpose. You don’t have to avoid colors to retain that modern aesthetic, you just have to keep them in check and make sure they balance well. The best part though? Painting is an incredibly affordable way to update the design of your space. Give it serious consideration as a part of your modern re-vamp.
Don’t forget the little things
Finishes are a little thing that can make a serious impact. A sleek, modern bedroom set can be ruined if the hardware on the dresser is outdated. Likewise, your bathroom might be the height of style, but if your bathroom towels are pink and frilly, the feeling just won’t convey. Remember the tenets of modern design in every aspect of a room, and don’t ignore those little items. Invest in towels that match the style of your bathroom (and bedding, and window treatments, and drawer pulls, and faucets). In fact, updating just these little items might be a really easy and affordable way to convey that modern feel you want, without having to change any of the rest of your space! So go ahead and leave your shaker cabinets as they are, but throw on some sharp nickel drawer-pulls. Already, your space will feel fancy and elevated in a way it hasn’t before (and you won’t have spent much at all).
And have fun with it! There are lots of clever (and affordable) ways to achieve that modern look, as long as you remember its core tenets. Keep lines clean, colors contrasting, and clutter out-of-sight and your space is sure to exude that high-design feel.