Design Style Series: Contemporary With Indian Tadka

Design Style Series: Contemporary With Indian Tadka

Clean lines, simple elements, and uncluttered spaces are the three most defining contemporary interior design characteristics.

While designing any space we need to keep an overarching theme (style) in mind and pepper it with our personality. Contemporary interior design as a style is often confused with modern, or industrial, and with good reason.

Unlike all its other counterparts, contemporary is not a style fixed in time or a location. It is dynamic and evolving, and takes influence from various styles. You will be able to see hints of art deco, industrial, modern, and minimal.

Over time, contemporary design has evolved from being cold and limiting to being peaceful and tranquil as we see it today. There are a few pointers to help us create that tranquil environment.

Colours, furniture, lights and textures; these are the four aces in your design deck of cards. Playing these correctly can help you bring the contemporary interior design characteristics into your home.


Neutral colours or muted pastels dominate the contemporary colour palette with a bold accent colour bringing in a power-packed punch into the room. While in this tone-on-tone colour palette, we primarily see white, black, tan, brown, beige, cream, taupe and their likes; accent colours in bold hues add life to the room. In this style, less is more. We can add accent colours by bringing in one single colour on a large surface area or introducing multiple small elements throughout the room.


Using lots of textures make up for the missing ‘colour’ in the room. The furniture and accessories used are simple with clean form. Take advantages of the structural and architectural elements. Use natural fibers and textures. Light wood, glass, metal, stone, textured fabrics, and plants add diversity in the room. Usually you see more straight than curved lines on the objects in the room and soft edges.


Plenty of natural light is the way to go for contemporary interior design although that is not all. There is a lot of layered lighting between ambient, accent and task. Ambient lighting means the recessed downlighters we have in our ceiling that illuminate the whole room. Accent lighting adds dimension and task lighting like table lamps aid workstations. Layering these three types of lights with natural lighting help in creating the ambience.


Every single element has a texture. Metals are smooth and shiny while heavy fabrics are soft and deep. In the absence of colour, it is the textures that steal the show such as draperies, pillows, rugs, and throws. Juxtaposed with the smooth and cool glass, tiles, and metal; it adds character. After all that is what it is all about.

Us Indians, we are a little hatke, we need our storages and built-ins; in dark wood and a display of all that we have a sentimental attachment to (which is EVERYTHING).

Indian taste in decor is known to be colourful, loud (in a good way), and pattered aplenty. And the middle ground can be found with traditional patterns, fabrics, showpieces, and artwork without overly changing the contemporary aesthetic.

Here are a few pointers to help you find that middle ground.

  1. Use lighter laminates on the built-in units.
  2. Add mirrors
  3. Let the couch fabrics be solid and neutral; the lighter the better
  4. Large windows with sheer curtains for plenty of natural light
  5. Pattered and colourful cushions and rugs
  6. Traditional artefacts in brass, copper, silver, ceramic, terracotta, and/or glass.

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