March 11, 2019

How to Make Modern Style Comfortable—not Cold

If you find yourself craving clean-lined interior design, you’re not alone. Especially in Boston, where there is historical emphasis on traditional-style decorating, I find that both younger generations of homeowners and empty-nesters are looking for something fresh. 

Modern style is appealing because it’s tailored and well-edited, but when taken too far, it runs the risk of looking and feeling cold and hard. In my work, it’s always my goal to make modern style livable and comfortable. Whether you’re moving to a city high-rise or want to update your suburban home, there are some easy ways to achieve that look.

Here are things I keep in mind when designing a soft modern space:

Use Curves and Softness

Straight, hard surfaces are not the most welcoming, so introduce furniture pieces with curved lines. That could be a round dining or side table, a curved armchair, a round mirror. Also remember to include enough textiles in your room scheme, such as draperies and rugs, which make a room cozy. Look for upholstery fabrics that are soft to the touch, such as velvet and chenille.

Create Layers

There are three layers to a room: 1) the room’s envelope of walls, floors, built-ins 2) furniture  3) accessories. Make sure there is something interesting happening at every layer. Mixing materials and adding texture are ways to create interest and give a room dimension.

Don't Date Yourself

Filling your entire home with furnishings that date to a specific period can make your interior design look like a passé trend. If you do use iconic silhouettes, mix them with more timeless shapes for an overall effect that is uniquely you.

Be Open-Minded with Color

Because color is so memorable, your first instinct when designing a modern room may be to limit your palette or to recreate classic color schemes of the past. However, today’s livable modern look can accommodate any palette, including neutrals, brights, or moody colors. It’s less about the color, and more about the variation of materials, shapes, and forms.

Consider Your Home’s Architecture

A soft modern style can work anywhere, but it’s important to be thoughtful about the bones of your home. Modern style is a natural fit in a city loft, but in a traditional home, it requires a bit more thought to bridge the two together. One example of how to do this is to cover a clean-lined piece of furniture with a more traditional fabric.

Keep these tips in mind to create a home that looks and feels good. Layered textures, varied silhouettes, and a mix of materials are the keys to nailing this look.

Check out some of the layered designs in my portfolio.

Wondering how we can help?

The first step is scheduling a complimentary call to explore your design project.