Contemporary style can be difficult to pinpoint. Most often, the style gets mixed in with modern but it doesn’t have to be difficult to define. In the simplest terms, contemporary style encompasses what’s new and current in interior design. Trending colors, textures and accents are a good place to start if you’re looking to adapt this ever-changing style.

Every week the AJC’s Private Quarters takes you inside some of metro Atlanta’s most noteworthy homes and this week is all about homes that embody the simple, clean aesthetic of contemporary style.

“Modern and contemporary styles share a few important features: Both emphasize clean lines and minimal adornment,” writes Houzz. “But while contemporary style is influenced by the here-and-now, modern style is firmly rooted in another era: the middle of the 20th century, from the mid-1940s to 1970.”

If you’re looking to bring this style into your home you might start by asking yourself: What’s popular? Looking to current trends is a good place to start but newness and popularity aren’t the only defining characteristics. A focus on open floorplans with clean lines and lots of structure are crucial elements of this style.

When it comes to the nuts and bolts, you’ll want to keep accents at a minimum. Contemporary style is clean, fresh, light and airy: think strong shapes and furniture with smooth shapes. “Pieces feature clean lines and smooth surfaces without any carving or adornment. Silhouettes are slim without being dainty. Furniture is made of light-colored woods such as maple and birch (which also have minimal graining), frosted or clear glass, stainless steel, nickel and chrome,” writes HGTV.

As for color, contemporary style does rely heavily on white and other neutral colors like gray and taupe. But what’s great about contemporary style is that it’s open for interpretation. There aren’t set rules because the rules are always changing and high-contrast is an important element. Bold accent colors like teal, navy, yellow are a great addition to a contemporary color palette.

“Color in contemporary-style spaces can be as bright and bold — or as soft and subtle — as you want it to be,” according to Houzz. “Thoughtful handling of negative space and a confident application of color, when used, are more integral to this look than sticking to any particular color palette.”

Keep in mind that contemporary style, while minimal, does not have to be cold and sterile. There is plenty of room for comfort and function when it comes to execution. But structural shapes are a must: “Furniture, lighting and accent pieces share a sleek aesthetic with strong shapes and unique silhouettes. Look for slim chair profiles, long and low sofas, and sculptural light fixtures," writes Houzz.

In short, contemporary style is very much what you make it but you want to keep structure in mind and keep accents at a minimum. Sometimes the easiest way to define a style is to think if what it isn’t. Contemporary style is not cluttered, heavily-adorned or strict about style rules. Lots of open space and sleek, modern finishes will help you go a long way when it comes to this in-the-moment style.

In Other News