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Less is more when going contemporary

"Less is more." Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (born Maria Ludwig Michael Mies), 1886 – 1969 — German- American architect widely regarded as one of the pioneering masters of modern architecture.

Q: My wife and I are re-modeling our master bedroom for the first time since we’ve been married. We have the opportunity to create our dream bedroom. We have become quite modern, or contemporary, in our tastes and would like to incorporate some of those elements in the room but do not want the room to be cold and stark. Do you have any ideas for furnishings or fittings we could use that would read contemporary or modern without being unwelcoming?

A: Good for you. I’m so happy you’re going with a contemporary or mid-century modern for your bedroom suite. This look is enjoying an increased popularity in all age groups because of its versatility.

Contemporary furnishings and architecture blend well with other styles. So, if you’re not totally sold on the look for your entire house, you can easily flow from contemporary into other styles.

Contemporary or mid-century looks in bedrooms are so appealing because the design is clean and uncluttered. It presents a truly restful, serene and calming space, and it doesn’t have to look like it came out of the Jetson’s house.

Without knowing exactly what your space looks like, I can offer some suggestions for furnishings and a new product for your closet that just came to my attention.

The product that intrigues me is provided by Ridgefield Glass (www.ridgefieldglass.com). The company produces an opalescent glass walk-in closet. It looks amazing, and if you are truly into contemporary design you will love it. It allows you to see into your closet but not the details of your closet. Ridgefield calls it "an artistic home for the wardrobes of some of the most discerning fashionistas." This look would definitely give something as mundane as a bedroom closet a new appeal.

Relative to furnishings, stick with cleaner lines and less stuff. You can have the rest of your home to display collections. Keep art and decorative elements to a minimum.

If you have hardwood or stone flooring, you may wish to warm up the space with a cozy shag rug. Yes, they’re back, and they work beautifully with the sleek lines of contemporary furniture.

An animal-print rug would also look smashing with sleek furnishings. (But no other animal-print accessories.)

As for lighting, add clear glass lamps with black shades (no seashells in them).

Solid-colored satin or silk bedding (no frilly pillows) fit into the contemporary scheme beautifully.

Even the most traditional furniture companies are adding more contemporary lines to the mix.

Stanley Furniture (www.stanley furniture.com) says of its new Hudson Street line "(It) captures classic American culture. Grounded in mid-20th century design, the collection features simple silhouettes designed for urban lifestyles."

Stanley continues, "mid-century styles are flourishing because it is a clean, cosmopolitan design with an historical reference."

So, you see, everybody’s on board. You have a wonderful opportunity to create your dream room. Shop around in your local stores and prowl the Web for more ideas. Keep in mind that the key to this design style is simplicity. Less is definitely more.


Carolyn Muse Grant is the editor of Southern Nevada Home & Garden magazine. Her Inside Spaces column appears weekly in the Home & Garden section of the Review-Journal. Check out other decorating tips in Southern Nevada Home & Garden magazine, which is published the first Saturday of each month. Send questions to cgrant@reviewjournal.com.

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