Style & Design

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Minimal. Sleek. Neutral. These are a few of the words that come to mind when you think of contemporary style. It is all of these things—and much more! Contemporary design and style are sometimes confused with modern style, but the two are actually quite different. Modern style refers to design from a specific time period from the early to mid-twentieth century. On the contrary, contemporary does not refer to any specific era or time period. Rather, it is the changing styles that define design that is popular now. This can make it a little more difficult to pin down the specifics of contemporary style. However, there are some hallmarks that help distinguish it.


A few of the clues that you might be looking at contemporary design are:

Accessories can go a long way towards establishing a contemporary theme in your space. The furniture, decor and accessories above are composed of contemporary finishes, materials and lines. We especially love how the funky chandelier sets the scene and distinguishes this dining space. Check out some more of our favorite contemporary lighting below. You’ll see that most of these fixtures display multiple qualities from the list above.

Tile Style

This design style is somewhat unique in that not only can tiles be worked into your contemporary design, but tiles can display contemporary style in and of themselves.

Some characteristics of contemporary tiles are:

Myriad different tiles can facilitate contemporary style, and this is just a short list. Scroll to the bottom of this blog post to view some of our favorite contemporary tiles.

Along with a sleek, contemporary chandelier and tub, these wall tiles are perfect examples of this style. They are sculptural, artistic and bold.

There are a few contemporary elements to note in this space: the artwork, sleek furniture, an unadorned fireplace and a geometric patterned rug.

Contemporary living room with grey fireplace
Featured: Neo Grey. Design by Maple.

Just like tile and lighting, furniture can display contemporary characteristics all on its own. If you are thinking of decorating in this style, consider items like the below.

The shower above is an embellished and glamorous take on contemporary. The large-format tiles, squared-off trim pieces and sleek hardware are all indicators that it is contemporary. In the close-up below, the square and straight edges of the trim pieces are more visible. As opposed to an ornate or rounded piece of trim, these finish the installation without adding any extra adornment, keeping the look minimal and sleek.

Close-up of shower niche

Here are a few more contemporary trim pieces with squared-off edges and clean lines that work well in this design style. Read more about layering and trims on our blog post.

Below, neutrals and unadorned cabinetry make this space contemporary. A honed finish on the marble-look tiles and bright wood vanity warm the room up.

Grey marble-look bathroom tiles
Featured: Eternal Convex Antiqued and Black Hex. Design by Sima Spaces.

From the minimal, artistic decor to the sculptural, monochromatic wall tiles, this fireplace is thoroughly contemporary from top to bottom.

White sculptural fireplace tile
Featured: Arpege Blanc

Sculptural tiles are not only perfect for contemporary design, but they’re also a big trend right now. Explore some of our favorites below.

Below, tones of tan and beige running through the veins of the floor tile add warmth to an all-white bathroom.

Spacious white tiled bathroom
Featured: White Hex and Eternal. Design by Boulevard Homes.

The painterly effect created by gold brush strokes turns your walls into a work of art.

Over the all-white kitchen trend? This one features crisp white tile but is also injected with lots of warm tones, balancing the best of both worlds and making this space cozy and welcoming. The flat-front cabinets, minimal (almost hidden!) hardware and sleek, clean lines are all very contemporary.

Warm wood and white tile backsplash kitchen
Featured: Glass Snow Napier Mosaic. Design by Morrissey Home Solutions. Photography by Jen Morley Burner.

While contemporary style can be warm and inviting like in the kitchen above, it can also be dramatic and moody, as seen with the 3-D geometric tile below. That’s one thing we love about this style—it’s so versatile!

Black geometric bar wall tile
Featured: Diamante Negro

Contemporary style lends itself to self-expression. The amazing installation below is a custom mosaic created from tile and metal trim. We have a feeling the homeowners love this as much as we do.

Coziness and warmth are the words that come to mind when we see the bathroom below. While maintaining contemporary style, the designers have seamlessly combined multiple different shades of warm tans and browns.

Ready to give contemporary a try? Browse the style on our website and start dreaming.

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