What is the Modern Interior Style

“Modern” is often misunderstood as the same thing as “Contemporary”. Lexically speaking, these two are synonymous with each other and generally do share the same meaning. But in interior designing and architecture, there is a weight to the difference that these two terms hold.

The Modern Style dates back to a period in time during the 20th Century when this design movement began. Interior Modernism promoted the use of neutral colors along with earthy tones, and cut down on unnecessary details. While this style can still often be seen using splashes of colors as accent points, neutral palettes are still the prevailing factors when it comes to Modern designs.

Signature Elements of the Modern Style

  • Exposed Structural Elements such as pipes and beams
  • Clean lines
  • Bare windows, or paired with white, clear curtains
  • Neutral color schemes
  • Low, flat, horizontal furniture
  • Earthy tones

Contemporary Interior Style

If modern designs began in the earlier half of the 20th Century, Contemporary begins its reign in interior popularity during the latter half of that century. Contemporary style features rounded edges as compared to clean, straight lines of the Modern style. This alternative also showcases a mix of splashes of colors and neutrals, and the creative freedom in elemental touches that differentiates it from Modernism. This is to say that compared to the earthier look of Modern interiors, Contemporary style widely uses industrial materials, and the metals and glass give it a sleeker and a slightly more advanced design.

Signature Elements of the Contemporary Style

  • Geometrical accessories
  • Metals, stones, opaques, or glass
  • Exposed brick walls
  • Neutral color palettes, with touches of browns, and vibrant colors

The two styles share commonalities as well; both emphasize the concept of minimalism in its designs, prioritizing form over function. Their purpose is to transcend architectural lines and make the whole place seem more spacious than it actually is. Both in itself are the current trends that have not died down over the years and are still what a lot of people use as interior design pegs when renovating their homes.

History’s Cultural Impact on Singapore’s Modern Day Interior Designs

Just like how a lot of aspects in the present day are heavily influenced by history, Singapore’s most popular interior designs have also been impacted by the past. At a certain period in time, Singapore was colonised by the British colony. Their preferences in interior design aren’t restricted to one particular style, and the fusion of both Eastern and Western cultures are evident seen in the widely used themes all over the country.

7 Most Popular Modern Interior Designs in Singapore

1) Mid-Century Modern

Mid-Century Modern interiors are one of the designs that are unfazed by time and remains popularly used in so many households. It lightly takes after Scandinavian-inspired themes, while Nordic interior designs are inspired by this look which was made popular during its period of design from the 30s up until the 60s. Mid-Century Modern interiors assume a color palette consisting of neutral shades which often feature vibrant colors in saturated hues as a point of accentuation. Walls are usually kept white, but darker colour schemes, more typical of the late mid-century modern period, are also used.

What makes this style a classic is its use of clean lines and organic curves, ornamentals, the mix of traditional and non-traditional materials, as well as the fusion of uniquely contrasting materials that are organized in a studied manner.

2) Modern French

If you’re into designs that exude sophistication and elegance, with the appeal the carries the essence of European culture, then the Modern French might just be the theme for you.

This style is a glamorous combination of sleekness with a touch of modern, ornate along with the traditional. The thing about this theme is that it isn’t totally formal; it still gives you the freedom to stray from its classic European look with modern or contemporary touches that can give the overall interior a homey vibe. The French look can usually be observed from the form of the walls, doors, windows, and floors which is usually where the European theme is injected, which is why you don’t have to strictly adhere to opulent decors.

Colors can range from neutrals to vibrant shades like reds or golds as accenting shades that you can feature in a couple of vintage furniture for that Parisian flair.

3) Japanese Style

The Japanese are loyal when it comes to traditional styles and oriental touches that are minimal by nature, something that modern-day Singapore has adapted into their culture as well.

The concept of “Ma” which is used in the Japanese style is all about the maximization of living space through a specific division that differentiates living space from the “meditation” space, which is the uncluttered and free area of the house. This design also thrives on the importance of zen in interiors characterized by simplicity and serenity reflected in numerous elements. They are seen in wood surfaces, earthy tones, and low, humble furniture. Shoji screens and tatami mats are also popular in this design to finish it with the authenticity of Japanese culture.

4) Old-School Singapore

Old-School Singapore stays true to its Chinese ancestry and integrates within its designs the distinct intricacy of Chinese tapestries and pottery patterns. This type of design usually mixes well with Western designs as well, telling the vivid tale of history, the beautiful blend of Western and Eastern cultures. It channels about a nostalgic facade, painting the picture of a modern home with a retro-fied twist.

The key here is to mix modern and classic Singapore look with refined touches. The tip to achieve this is to incorporate with a studied notion the common elements of modern (such as metals and wood), and to source for antique accessories to adorn your space with. Go around vintage stores or second-hand shops for high chances of finding quality decor that are sure to be kept in pristine condition. You can make use of floral prints on your sofas, kopitiam-style chairs, a mid-century color palette, square ceramic tiles for your walls, and terrazzo floorings.

5) Modern Farmhouse

Yishun Ring Road

A modern take on the rustic interior of the farmhouse look, this design brings the comfort and outdoor feel of countryside living to your urban home. Generally, its composition would consist of barn doors, weathered wood surfaces either painted on floors, walls, or other surfaces, and yellow lights. It has a somewhat rustic feel to it, but to vamp it up with a touch of modern, you can use a neutral color scheme that you can match with wood accents. You can also litter your place with a few industrial elements like metals to further accentuate its rustic vibe.

6) Chinoiserie Chic

The Sterling

This is another design that, just like Old-School Singapore, is a timeless look that dates back to ancient China. With opulent themes, decor, and furniture, this style is reminiscent of the majestic time during the 18th Century when China was flourishing in trade. It’s all about intermingling traditional Eastern Asian themes in a modern day setup. You can throw in distinguishable Chinoiserie elements and retain the modernity in the luxe furniture. Chinoiserie elements could be dragons, pagodas, foo dogs, bamboos, Asian floral themes, Ming-style furniture, peacocks, ceramic chandeliers and hanging charms for your walls or doors.

7) Urban Loft

A little different than the fore-mentioned styles above, the rawness of the Urban Loft is a Western-inspired look that mirrors New York in the 60s, a period in time when abandoned factories were transformed into art studios by artists on tight budgets. This design thrives on its grungy vibe, and roughly assimilates an industrial design marked by brick walls, metal beams, pipings, and seemingly unfinished cement floors. The Urban Loft currently still utilizes open floor plans, but homeowners are taking the liberty to instill their personal touches in their homes.