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Contemporary room is serene, not dull


People who like contemporary designs sometimes express frustration over the lack of choices for furniture.

It's true that this pared-down style relies much more on fabrics and accessories than on furniture. The tables and seating pieces in a contemporary living room are typically rather austere, while a bedroom done in the same style will also be sparsely furnished.

But that doesn't mean you have to accept stifling limitations if you want to create a contemporary look. Materials, textures and colors all offer ways of avoiding dullness in contemporary-style furniture.

In a bedroom, for example, iron furniture certainly qualifies as avant-garde. A brassy color won't do, however. A truly fashionable iron bed needs to be black with dark green or steel finishes.

In the photo, a fairly ordinary bed is the basis for a cozy corner in a contemporary style. The wall is upholstered in a grid pattern with button tufting. This surfacing is plush enough to serve simultaneously as a comfortable headboard.

Detailing, rather than furniture selection, can be the key to creating an interesting contemporary space, notes New York-based interior designer Noel Jeffrey. He illustrates this approach in his book "Interior Details," published by PBC International.

The design shown in the photo has functional as well as aesthetic appeal. Note that the upholstery extends the full width the wall, thus allowing compatible storage units to be built on each side of the bed.

This elegant yet understated setting can be enhanced by color, pattern and a touch of the antique. Whatever gets included, however, must not disturb the room's serenity and geometry. These are the qualities that define the space as contemporary. Remove them or dilute them, and the room will become a mishmash rather than a finely balanced example of creative design.


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