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The draw of modern contemporary interior design

What sets modern contemporary interior design apart from other styles?

The draw of modern contemporary interior design

What is modern contemporary interior design?

‘Modern contemporary’ is a phrase which refers to cutting edge designs that are up-to-date with the world’s current design trends. Modern contemporary style is a distinct interior design concept which privileges simplicity, texture, clean lines and sophistication. It is not to be confused with modernism or modern interior design.

Contemporary vs modern interior design

Modernism is something of a misnomer. It is often confused with contemporary interior design as the two names are synonyms. However, the actual design styles are quite distinct. Contemporary design focuses on sleekness, technological innovation, and dark colours with bright accents. Modernism sticks to a much more neutral colour palette and often favours industrial materials such as reinforced concrete, brick, steel and glass.

The modern contemporary style is something of a hybrid between the two. Modern contemporary house interior design is characterized by a preference for dark neutral colour palettes, splashy yet sparse colour accents, clean lines and the use of negative space.

Modern contemporary interior design Singapore often also means the seamless inclusion of new age technology such as smart lighting, intelligent appliances, and false ceilings with design elements. Another popular trend in modern contemporary design is taking light inspiration from foreign design styles such as Balinese, Scandinavian, English or Japanese. For a list of the top four design styles seeing a contemporary resurgence, see here.

Interior design modern contemporary: Features

There are a few common features that characterise modern contemporary interior design.

Neutral with colour

Modern contemporary interior design is well known for contrasting neutral interiors with colourful accents. Most modern contemporary interior design Singapore will have a base colour of neutral, black or white. Black is the most iconic base colour for a modern contemporary interior as it is bold, sleek and stylish. This is then accentuated with bright colours such as blue, gold or red that drive home the drama of the interior.

Structure and space

Modern contemporary interiors emphasise the negative space to make a room seem larger. They do this through the use of vector lines which draw the eye along a visual path. The most common way to create this path is through informed furniture layout, using things like the edges of a bookcase, a desk or window to guide watching eyes around the room.


Another characteristic of modern contemporary design is the integration with technology into daily life. Unique lighting such as cove, recessed or track lighting is very common in contemporary homes. Lighting is also used for more than just a general wash, with many modern contemporary interior designs using spotlights or specific lights to draw attention to particular décor pieces.


Modern contemporary furniture can take a lot of forms. Custom made furniture which takes whimsical shapes or fits perfectly into an unusual space is often a feature of modern contemporary design. Browse Singapore’s best custom furniture designers here. Additionally, there are a few common features shared by modern contemporary carpets, cabinets and modern contemporary wardrobes which help to blend into the design style.

HDB and BTO interior design firms: Singapore’s best firms for contemporary home design

5. Home Guide

modern interior design hdb renovation

Home Guide is an accomplished interior design company based in Singapore with over 25 years of experience renovating HDB, resale and BTO flats. They specialize in designing contemporary décor with a Mediterranean twist, offering BTO packages that take inspiration from Greek, Italian and colonial Spanish design. Browse their extensive and flexible package options here.

4. Starry Homestead

Starry homestead hdb renovation interior design

Starry homestead are pioneers in contemporary condo design. They are a trusted brand with award winning designs and exquisite craftsmanship. All designs by Starry Homestead are uniquely tailored to the space and individual. Browse their portfolio or read more about the Starry Homestead journey.

3. Zenith Arc

zenith arc HDB renovations

Zenith Arc are forging the path for minimalist contemporary interior design. Showrooms by Zenith arc are immediately recognisable for their simple elegance. They are also known for their impressive ability to work within budget limitations. The renovation of a HDB property on Northshore drive, pictured above, was completed for a total of $62,000 which included updates and renovations to carpentry, plumbing, flooring, electrical wiring, painting and hacking.

2. Eliot James

modern contemporary design eliot james

Eliot James is a critically acclaimed interior design firm with a dual base in Singapore and London. They have paved the way for luxury interior designers for years, providing unique and cutting-edge designs for commercial offices, luxury residences and hospitality venues across the globe.

With notable projects such as the Sentosa Cove Penthouse, Singapore and the Ardmore Park, Singapore , Eliot James shows devotion to the individuality of every client. Specializing in art curation and sophistication, an Eliot James renovation is sure to be the height of luxury.

1. Karpentree Studio

karpentree studios bedroom with lightshow LED

Karpentree Studio is a boutique interior design consultancy firm known for their innovative and individualist ideas. Every piece is crafted with functionality at the forefront. Karpentree Studio is forging the way forward with a unique focus on integrating technology with design.

Their design philosophy is centered on pillars of honesty, beauty, integrity, positivity, unity and excitement. Karpentree Studio’s desire across the board for every project undertaken is to redefine expectations and reshape industry standards. Their projects include the Caribbean Condominium pictured above, a paragon of modern luxury design. Other notable projects which demonstrate Karpentree Studio’s prowess for contemporary interior design include Sommerville Park Condominium and Tampines GreenVerge.

For more on Singapore’s best interior designers, see here.

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