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.
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Contemporary vs. Modern
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.Continue to 2 of 40 below.
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Form Follows Function
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.Continue to 3 of 40 below.
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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.Continue to 4 of 40 below.
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Modern Color Schemes
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.Continue to 5 of 40 below.
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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.Continue to 6 of 40 below.
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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.Continue to 7 of 40 below.
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Spotlight on Art
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.Continue to 8 of 40 below.
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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.Continue to 9 of 40 below.
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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.Continue to 10 of 40 below.
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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.Continue to 11 of 40 below.
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Versatility and Flexibility
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.Continue to 12 of 40 below.
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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.Continue to 13 of 40 below.
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Light and Airy
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.Continue to 14 of 40 below.
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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.Continue to 15 of 40 below.
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A Show of Personality
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.Continue to 16 of 40 below.
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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.Continue to 17 of 40 below.
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Serene Modern Style
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.Continue to 18 of 40 below.
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Angular Light Fixtures
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.Continue to 19 of 40 below.
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Minimalist Primary Bedroom
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.Continue to 20 of 40 below.
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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.Continue to 21 of 40 below.
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Modern Mix and Match
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.Continue to 22 of 40 below.
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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.Continue to 23 of 40 below.
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Natural Materials as Decor
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.Continue to 24 of 40 below.
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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.Continue to 25 of 40 below.
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Playful With Patterns
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.Continue to 26 of 40 below.
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Black and White for Bold Contrasts
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.Continue to 27 of 40 below.
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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.Continue to 28 of 40 below.
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Cool and Comfortable
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.Continue to 29 of 40 below.
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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.Continue to 30 of 40 below.
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Focus on One Key Piece
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.Continue to 31 of 40 below.
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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.Continue to 32 of 40 below.
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Canopy Bed Frame
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.Continue to 33 of 40 below.
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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.Continue to 34 of 40 below.
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Modern and Glamorous
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.Continue to 35 of 40 below.
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Comforting and Colorful
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.Continue to 36 of 40 below.
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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.Continue to 37 of 40 below.
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Sleek, Straight Lines
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.Continue to 38 of 40 below.
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Natural Light is a Must
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.Continue to 39 of 40 below.
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Modern and Earthy
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.Continue to 40 of 40 below.
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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.
What is modern style in decorating?
Modern style is clean, crisp lines, the use of neutral colors, natural materials, and an open, airy feel.
What is the difference between modern and contemporary style?
Modern style has been around for a while and is based on simplicity and functionality, while contemporary style is whatever happens to be "in style" at that particular time.
What are the typical colors in modern style?
Neutral colors depict modern style. Think white, tans, beiges, greys, creams, and browns. There can be hints of blues, reds, and greens used as accents.