40 Tips for Decorating a Modern Primary Bedroom

Cathie Hong

Cathie Hong

While the term “modern décor” might bring to mind the Jetsons' flying cars and automated homes, this now-classic decorating and architectural style has been around for quite some time. It arose out of the German Bauhaus art school in the early decades of the 1900s and reflected the mindset of the modernism movement. Simple, clean, and functional, modern style was a sharp contrast to ​the Art Deco look so popular at the time.

If you're looking for inspiration on how to bring the modern style to your bedroom, take a look at these 40 ideas we've compiled.

  • 01 of 40

    Contemporary vs. Modern

    brophy interiors bedroom

    Brophy Interiors

    Many people use the words “contemporary” and “modern” interchangeably, but they are not the same. Modern refers to a particular style. On the other hand, contemporary refers to the styles in vogue at that time, and so “contemporary” is a fluid, ever-changing concept. Because modern décor is currently extremely popular, it falls under the contemporary umbrella, adding to the confusion. The bedroom shown here is a prime example of midcentury modern design—an example of a popular decor style that embraces decidedly modern attributes.

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  • 02 of 40

    Form Follows Function

    Kendall wilkinson bedroom

    Kendall Wilkinson Design

    The modernism movement embraced the concept, “Form follows function,” meaning that the most important aspect of a piece of furniture (or space) is its intended use rather than its appearance. In other words, appearance is secondary to function. This doesn’t mean modern style is ugly; it means that it is typically without unnecessary adornment. Clean lines on furnishings and plenty of open space are essential components of this look.

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  • 03 of 40

    Mid-century Modern

    tyler karu design

    Tyler Karu Design

    By far the most popular variation of modern style is what’s commonly referred to as mid-century modern, or MCM. Created in the United States during the 1920s and 1930s, MCM reached the pinnacle of popularity during the 1950s and 1960s, practically defining the decorating style of those decades. Midcentury modern is once again red-hot on the decorating scene, with no signs of fading away anytime soon.

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  • 04 of 40

    Modern Color Schemes

    mindy gayer bedroom

    Mindy Gayer / Photo by Lane Dittoe

    Traditionally, the modern color scheme is neutral: Various shades of brown, cream, tan, black, gray, and white predominate. Early Bauhaus designers used small touches of red, yellow, or blue as accents. As the style matured, neutrals remained the primary palette, but the use of bright, cheery accent colors became more common.

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  • 05 of 40

    Natural Materials

    Cathie Hong

    Cathie Hong

    Modern and midcentury modern decor embrace natural materials, particularly wood, as seen in the primary bedroom shown here. However, the use of plastics and chrome is an integral part of the MCM look, adding the color, shine, and celebration of mass-produced things that are typical of this style.

    About This Term: Primary Bedroom

    Many real estate associations, including the National Association of Home Builders, have classified the term "Master Bedroom" as discriminatory. "Primary Bedroom" is the name now widely used among the real estate community and better reflects the purpose of the room.


    Read more about our Diversity and Inclusion Pledge to make The Spruce a site where all feel welcome.

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  • 06 of 40

    Geometric Patterns

    mary patton design

    Mary Patton Design

    Clean-lined geometric patterns are prized in the modern style. “Atomic” designs are an especially fun touch in a midcentury modern bedroom. The combination of color and shape is artistic yet functional.

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  • 07 of 40

    Spotlight on Art

    Ashley Montgomery Designs

    Ashley Montgomery Designs

    Fussy knickknacks, unnecessary collectibles, and general clutter are nowhere to be seen in the modern bedroom. Instead, this style spotlights artwork, especially large paintings, posters, or prints on the walls. If you can overlay a gorgeous painting over a patterned wall like the room shown here, even better.

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  • 08 of 40

    Scandinavian Modern

    home and spirit

    Home and Spirit / Instagram

    An offshoot of midcentury modern, Scandinavian modern embraces a similar clean, streamlined, and functional look but tends to use white far more than the other neutrals, particularly on the floors and walls. Classic IKEA furniture is an example of a Scandinavian modern design.

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  • 09 of 40

    Raised Furniture

    bespoke only

    Bespoke Only

    One thing you’ll see a lot of on midcentury modern furniture are legs, particularly metal hairpin or simple wooden dowel legs. The raised profile of MCM furniture is characteristic of the airy openness of the style and makes these pieces especially well-suited to small rooms.

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  • 10 of 40

    Bright Accents

    rush me home bedroom

    Rush Me Home

    While a subdued color scheme is a hallmark of modern décor, pops of bright accent color keep it from being lifeless. Red and orange are especially popular as accents, although any favorite color can play the part. The jewel toned green drapes look bright in this neutral color scheme room.

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  • 11 of 40

    Versatility and Flexibility

    brophy interiors

    Brophy Interiors

    Modern style is versatile enough to work with just about anyone's needs. Create a bedroom that works for you; after all, functionality is a basic theme of modernism. This designer incorporated a small work area in this modern bedroom.

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  • 12 of 40

    Added Interest

    kate marker interiors bedroom

    Kate Marker Interiors

    Despite the simple lines, neutral colors, and lack of accessories in the typical modern bedroom, the look isn't at all boring or sterile. Just one special touch, such as the dandelion light fixture in this room, is all it takes to add interest.

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  • 13 of 40

    Light and Airy

    jenn pablo studio

    Jenn Pablo Studio

    The modern style is not one for clutter or lots of furniture. Instead, a light, airy vibe adds to the overall clean and simple appearance. Including only specific items that play a distinct role highlight what is truly important, and will be essential in helping you keep your things spacious and minimal.

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  • 14 of 40

    Polished Surfaces

    cathie hong

    Cathie Hong

    For the most part, surfaces in a modern room are smooth and often shiny. Polished floors, lacquered or highly polished furniture, accents of metal—especially chrome—and glass all add to the clean, modern vibe.

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  • 15 of 40

    A Show of Personality

    home and spirit

    Home and Spirit

    Whatever your decorating style, feel free to have some fun adding your own touches to the mix. An array of prints, a folded favorite quilt, a souvenir basket holding a potted plant—little changes can make the biggest difference in a modern space.

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  • 16 of 40

    Multi-Purpose Furniture

    brophy interiors

    Brophy Interiors

    Furniture that serves more than one purpose screams modern design. Pieces like a bench with storage space at the foot of the bed or a bed frame with built-in floating shelves to serve as side tables fit the modern look perfectly. Selecting sleek, multi-functioning pieces is a fantastic way to add the design to your room–after all, form does follow function.

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  • 17 of 40

    Serene Modern Style

    Charlie Interior Design

    Charlie Interior Design

    The soft colors, simple lines, and lack of clutter give the modern style a calming, relaxed vibe, making it an excellent choice for the primary bedroom.

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  • 18 of 40

    Angular Light Fixtures

    Angular light fixture in bedroom.
    Amy Lau Design

    Although midcentury modern design is mostly clean and without excessive ornamentation, one exception to that rule is the use of angular or unusual light fixtures, particularly “atomic” styled fixtures, as seen in the beachy modern bedroom from Amy Lau Design shown here.

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  • 19 of 40

    Minimalist Primary Bedroom

    tyler karu design

    Tyler Karu Design

    Minimalism is similar to modern design in that it emphasizes a spotless, simple look without a lot of adornment. Often, midcentury modern furniture fits well into this “less is more” decorating philosophy.

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  • 20 of 40

    Platform Beds

    cathie hong

    Cathie Hong

    Simple platform beds are a common sight in the modern bedroom, particularly Scandinavian modern style. Keeping space available under the bed or other furniture contributes to the open space that's so important to this style.

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  • 21 of 40

    Modern Mix and Match

    buchard design co bedroom

    Buchard Design Co / Instagram

    The 1970s-inspired macrame pillows, along with the soft brown bed linens, add a bit of funky retro style to any modern bedroom. This design style is open to mixing and matching with other elements, so feel free to play around with patterns, textures, and other decor, like the contemporary painted circle on the wall.

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  • 22 of 40

    Vertical Touches

    buchard design co

    Buchard Design Co.

    Hanging light fixtures break up the mostly horizontal planes of a modern bedroom. This peaceful, beautiful primary bedroom uses copper pendants to great effect. So serene and lovely.

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  • 23 of 40

    Natural Materials as Decor

    arbor and co

    Arbor & Co

    Modern style celebrates natural materials, such as wood and stone, as artwork in their own right. Midcentury modern architecture often used wood not just as flooring but also to panel the walls and even the ceiling.

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  • 24 of 40

    Area Rugs

    Sire Design

    Sire Design

    Although midcentury modern typically is fairly subdued in color, exceptions are the rule when it comes to interior design. An area rug with fun colors or patterns can change the whole atmosphere of a room, so keep that in mind when selecting one for your floor.

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  • 25 of 40

    Playful With Patterns

    modern bedroom with wicker headboard, black and white polka dot comforter, red pattern rug, large plant in corner

    Alvin Wayne

    Modern styles don't have to be plain or without a pattern–quite the contrary. This stunning modern bedroom proves our point by using smaller designs that are contrasting yet not overbearing. The neutral polka dot comforter, the different textures of accent pillows, and the decorative pattern on the area rug all bring interest yet keep the room decidedly modern in theme.

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  • 26 of 40

    Black and White for Bold Contrasts

    black and white modern bedroom with black geometric textured accent wall

    Kurated by Kris

    Modern styles can be subtle, but can also take a bold approach–and what better way to go about it than creating a classic contrast with black and white? The striking appearance of the black geometric accent wall with the pure white comforter is stunning, and the blanket with the accent pillows helps tie both hues together.

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  • 27 of 40

    Marvelously Monochromatic

    monochromatic gray bedroom with metallic accents

    Amy Leferink at Interior Impressions

    Monochromatic color schemes help unify your entire room with ease and give an air of sophistication. The room shown here leans into a neutral monochrome concept–various shades of gray with additional touches of white. The gorgeous black and gold global light fixture and golden light sconces on the wall are a flawless addition that adds a dose of industrial to the rest of the room.

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  • 28 of 40

    Cool and Comfortable

    modern bedroom with soft textures: furry pillow, gray blanket with pom pons on the end. Cool tones

    Arbor & Co.

    Cool tones are always a safe bet when decorating a modern bedroom, and the black wire lamp creates some contrast against the softer textures on the bed. Comfort doesn't take priority over function in this style, but the minimalist decor keeps the space from feeling too crowded.

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  • 29 of 40

    Modern Farmhouse

    white modern bedroom with rustic farmhouse accent tables, metal wall sconces

    Ashley Webb Interiors

    The farmhouse style is a favorite for many with its rustic and charming appearance. If you feel torn between a contemporary to farmhouse vibe, the good news is you can easily blend them together. Choose antique-style furniture, like the matching accent tables shown in this bedroom. Go with braided textures and fabrics, white walls, and incorporate a neutral color palette of beiges, charcoal gray, and light gray to add a modern feel.

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  • 30 of 40

    Focus on One Key Piece

    bedroom with wooden headboard, blue and white and brown color scheme, modern light fixture on ceiling

    Ashley Montgomery Design

    Even one simple swap can create the modern atmosphere you're hoping for. An example is to switch out your current light fixture for a modern one–something metallic and geometric that is almost as much an art piece as it is a functional necessity. The rest of this room includes touches of other characteristics, with the brown, blue, and white color scheme and framed artwork on a white wall, but the overhead light is truly the most obvious modern aspect.

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  • 31 of 40

    Accent Wall

    modern neutral bedroom with geometric pattern accent wall

    Ashley Montgomery Design

    While the style usually leans towards white or solid color concepts, you can still add some flair by incorporating an accent wall into your bedroom. Selecting a consistent pattern in a darker hue creates a dramatic yet still sophisticated vibe.

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  • 32 of 40

    Canopy Bed Frame

    neutral gray color scheme bedroom with four post bed frame

    Brophy Interiors

    Canopy bed frames are a perfect modern staple, considering they contribute to the strong and sleek lines popular within the style. This four-poster bedframe, created with strong wooden beams, draws your eye upwards and helps tie together other decor items, like the bedside tables and wooden photo frames.

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  • 33 of 40

    California Cool

    California cool bedroom with tree, neutral vibes

    Chelius House of Design

    The sophistication of the modern style and the relaxation of a California coastal theme? Count us in. To get the look for yourself, gravitate towards ocean and sandy colored tones that create a "go with the flow" atmosphere, perfect for a bedroom. However, adding some simple decor options, like the midcentury modern bench at the end of the bed, the patterned accent pillows, and a simple piece of artwork, will elevate the space from becoming a typical coastal theme.

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  • 34 of 40

    Modern and Glamorous

    modern bedroom with leopard print fur blanket, golden headboard, tan and beige accents, glam

    Erin Williamson Design

    Creating a modern glam bedroom is absolutely possible, yet there are a few things to keep in mind. Keep your decor items simple and necessary, if possible. Yet when adding in the other pieces, feel free to experiment with different patterns and concepts to create a unique and elegant space. The golden bedframe, metallic gold lamps, and leopard print blanket already make the room feel glamorous without seeming overwhelming or too busy.

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  • 35 of 40

    Comforting and Colorful

    modern bedroom with plants on bedside table, yellow and pink comforter

    Home By Polly

    Pops of color and a dose of plant life allow this room to feel optimistic and current. The light color choices for the bedspread are a vibrant statement in the otherwise white-focused bedroom.

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  • 36 of 40

    Open Layout

    modern bedroom with wooden light accent wall and bed frame, wooden floor, open floorplan

    Latham Interior Design

    A simple way to ensure your bedroom has a modern feel is by changing the layout to create plenty of open space. Keeping your furniture to a minimum and any other items out of the way will give the impression of a vast, open space with plenty of possibilities. We're also a fan of the illuminated ceiling and under the bed giving a subtle futuristic touch.

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  • 37 of 40

    Sleek, Straight Lines

    modern bedroom with light gray and brown accents. white area rug. Black leather bench at end of the bed

    LeClair Decor

    Regardless of your color scheme or specific types of decor you choose, sleek and straight lines are ideal within this particular style. The room shown here highlights this with its diptych over the bed, the square wood accent tables, the horizontal lines found in the fabric headboard, and the diagonal ones found in the area rug. Almost every aspect of the room points to strong, bold lines that all work well together.

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  • 38 of 40

    Natural Light is a Must

    modern bedroom with black metal four poster bed frame, bonsai tree, plenty of natural lighting

    LeClair Decor

    Rather than relying solely on indoor light fixtures, bringing in as much natural light as possible is ideal. If you have access to large windows, keep them open to allow the sunlight to pour in and give the feeling of a wide-open space. If you need some privacy, curtains can still be used–just keep them light and easy to move to not inhibit light from coming through.

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  • 39 of 40

    Modern and Earthy

    modern bedroom with green walls and brown accents, natural light

    CreativaStudio via Getty Images

    This stunning green bedroom combines earthy vibes with modern aesthetics. The sage green walls paired with the brown headboard and neutral sheets and combined with plenty of natural light create a blissful state that will strike the perfect balance between nature-loving and modern concepts.

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  • 40 of 40

    Industrial Qualities

    Bedroom in a loft interior with a brick wall, parquet floor and a concrete ceiling

    michal-rojek via Getty Images

    Allowing natural elements and frameworks of a space is a strong indicator of a modern room. Whether it's natural brick, exposed wood beams, steel pipes, or a combination, it's best to embrace the industrial parts rather than remove or cover them up. Adding decor like the metal overhanging lamps and holding onto the gray, white, and black color scheme only enhances the elements, and the small pop of yellow helps keep the place from feeling cold and uninviting.