Contemporary Vs. Modern Bedroom Design Ideas & Tips

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Design Concept

The terms "modern" and "contemporary" are frequently used interchangeably, but they actually have differences in meaning. Modern bedrooms follow specific design principles according to the "Modern" style of design, and contemporary bedrooms are simply following trends of the moment. The two designs styles just happen to often appear similar. Trends in contemporary designs may change, while the basic principles of modern design will continue to remain the same. Contemporary design also frequently borrows from other styles, making it as much of a blend as a style of its own. Though it may be a bit hard to grasp, a little time spent studying and viewing contemporary design will help it stand out. 

Now that you know the difference between a modern and contemporary bedroom, you're in a strong position to design a room that fits with your personal style and objectives. Create a contemporary bedroom with modern design elements, or mix and match a few trends that make sense for your space.


Minimalism is a buzz word for today's interior design trends. The basic idea is efficiency: use no more and no less than you need, keeping in mind your habits, and your bedroom's architecture. With a minimalist design approach, you'll likely find the style is as soothing as it is functional. Pieces are typically smooth, flat and void of anything intricate or ornate. Solid colors, sleek lines and simple design dominate this interior decorating theme. 

By adopting a minimalist design approach, you don't need to worry about overcrowding your space since you are avoiding any more than what you need. Avoid cramming furniture into your room, but at the same time, make sure that your room is cozy. By skimping on furniture, a spacious room can easily become desolate. Even though minimalism is about efficiency, the concept is also about striking a balance between too much and too little. Work with your bedroom's architectural design to create an atmosphere that is minimal yet cozy.

Contemporary Bedroom Contemporary Bedroom

Minimalist designs are as healthy as they are aesthetically pleasing. With less stuff, your room will accumulate less dust, and cleaning will be easier since you will have easier access to the surfaces that you need to wipe down. If you have breathing problems such as asthma or allergies, a minimalist design may help you relieve your symptoms.


In past eras, bedrooms needed artwork- framed posters, elaborate portraits, sculptures, and more. Without artwork, bedrooms appeared empty and plain. In fact, a room's decorative charm relied on artwork that set the mood and tone of the entire space.

Now, interior design theories are moving away from an overreliance on artwork. In fact, a common design principle suggests that less ornate is better, and some rooms look great without any artwork at all. Instead of relying on expensive art, use your everyday colors and furniture arrangements to give your bedroom vibrancy and life.

At most, stick to a few pieces of artwork, sculptures, and framed posters. Choose items that are in the moment as opposed to décor that looks like it emerged from another decade or century. If you want to use vintage items or antiques, go for a retro-throwback contemporary look. No need to hide what you already have if you can make your stuff work within your room's contemporary context.

Instead of using artwork and other décor, use functional and inexpensive items such as mirrors, lampshades, bed sheets, pillows, curtains, and candles to give your bedroom a contemporary charm. No need to splurge on expensive items that you don't need.

Modern Bedroom Minimalism Modern Bedroom Minimalism


Contemporary designs are veering away from the idea of a timeless, white bedroom. To some extent, it is safe to say that the white bedroom's time is up. For a contemporary look, choose off-white colors such as beige or cream. Only use pure white when creating accent trims to line your bolder shades. You can even choose a subtle pastel shade if you want to move a little further away from white.

A variety of colors are suitable for a contemporary bedroom, including pastels and dull shades. You can paint all of your bedroom walls with a bold shade, but if your space is smaller, you may need to be careful not to overcrowd your space. One way to avoid overcrowding is to paint a bright colored accent wall that is balanced by neutral tones. This way, you can incorporate color in your bedroom while maintaining a simplistic and streamlined design.

At most, choose four colors, and at least choose two. Pick contrasting shades or variants of the same shade. Strike a balance between neutral and bright shades. Work with monochromatic colors, colors that appear natural, or combinations of both.


Paint and wallpaper are both ideal options for your wall. In contrast to a kitchen or bathroom, a bedroom is a relatively clean, dry, and climate-controlled environment, so both types of surfaces should be easy to clean. Over time, your paint or wallpaper may become dirty, but whatever you choose now should last a few years. Keep in mind that wallpaper is relatively more difficult to replace, since you will need to strip it in addition to priming your walls. If you have kids and pets, you will likely need to touch up your walls more often since they may become dirty more often. Keep these factors in mind when you choose a color or pattern - if you're worried that you won't like the color or design down the road, stick to a neutral shade that is more versatile.

If choosing wallpaper, avoid chaotic patterns and musty colors; instead, choose vibrant, bright, and bold prints. Maximize negative space by choosing large prints instead of smaller designs. Avoid ornate, Victorian, and condensed patterns that may appear chaotic.

When selecting paint, you can choose from a variety of bright and soft colors depending on your overall style. You may want to avoid textured walls since they may appear outdated and be difficult to clean, but flat walls in almost any shade will be ideal. Just be sure to create a room that appears bright.

Contemporary Bedroom Colors Contemporary Bedroom Colors


Contemporary bedrooms are vibrant and bright. Leave those dark and musty rooms behind in past eras, and showcase the beautiful colors of your room. Design your lights to remain in line with another contemporary theme - energy efficiency. With the rising costs of electricity, you should design your bedroom in such a way that you can do your part in preserving the earth's resources.

During the day, rely on natural light instead of electricity. Windows, sliding doors, and skylights will help you customize a bright space, and you can also use translucent drapes and curtains to adjust your bedroom's hue.

For artificial lighting, rely on a combination of lights instead of just one to produce a layered effect. If you have space available in your room, include table and floor lamps in addition to your windows and overhead lights. Recessed lighting with adjustable dimness will help you transform your room from bright to dim according to your comfort levels.

The types of bulbs that you use in each light fixture can transform the look and feel of your bedroom. Use LED light bulbs with a golden glow to produce a comforting look and feel, or stick to traditional LED lights that are bright and white. If you want to draw attention to certain parts of your room, incorporate light bulbs with varying strengths. Also pay attention to vibrancy and brightness. Give your table lamps a soft glow, for example, and give your floor lamps and overhead lights a little but more strength.


To achieve a contemporary look in your bedroom, stick to furniture in a basic, linear design. Avoid ornate, organic shapes, and instead, choose items that are elegant in their simplicity. Choose a platform bed with a headboard, or choose a bed with legs. For a streamlined look, choose a bedroom set that matches.

Be careful not to overcrowd your bedroom with furniture, and only stick the basics, balancing what you need with what will fit in your room. Overcrowding may cause you to experience difficulty when moving about your room.

Unlike with a modern bedroom design, contemporary bedroom designs do not need to be bold or monochromatic colors. Natural materials such as wood are ideal for a contemporary bedroom.

Last Updated: February 9, 2012
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About Ritika Puri Based in California, Ritika Puri has worn a number of professional hats ranging from blogger to quantitative researcher, martial arts instructor, and cartographer. No matter what she does, she loves to write and specializes in topics related to home improvement, personal finance, and business. She writes regularly for's Financial Edge section, and her work has appeared on SF Gate, Yahoo! Finance, and The Chicago Sun Times Online. She holds a B.A. from Claremont McKenna College and an M.A. in Demographic and Social Analysis from the University of California at Irvine.  

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