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September 13, 2023

8 Essential Components for Success

Create a timeless space by implementing these eight modern design elements.

When you describe design styles, you may use the words "modern" and "contemporary" interchangeably. Believe us, you're not alone–many people routinely conflate the two. Though it might be one of the most commonly used design words, modern design is probably one of the most mis defined design styles, so we're setting the record straight.

What Is Modern Design

Modern design seamlessly blends form and function, while embracing clean lines, geometric shapes, and natural materials to craft functional spaces that exude a simple yet elegant lifestyle.

Whether you're building a new home and looking for ideas or simply re-decorating a space, understanding the key elements that define modern design can help you create visually appealing, timeless, and functional spaces. So without further ado, let’s dive in and explore the fundamental elements that characterize modern home design.

1. Minimalism

One of the most prominent features of modern design is minimalism. Minimalism seeks to simplify and declutter, focusing on the essentials. This means reducing unnecessary ornamentation, and keeping spaces open and uncluttered. The mantra "less is more" is a guiding principle in modern design, promoting a sense of tranquility and order.

Linden Row
is a clear example of an entryway free of unnecessary clutter, while letting the design speak for itself.

2. Clean Lines

Clean lines are lines that are unbroken and uninterrupted. We typically associate clean lines with modern architectural and design periods. What typically comes to mind for most people are rectilinear lines. Curvilinear lines, however, can also be “clean” when they are pared down, unadorned, and unbroken.

Whether it's in furniture, architecture, or art within the home, you'll often find sleek, straight lines, and well-defined shapes. This creates a sense of precision and orderliness that defines modern aesthetics as seen in the Bald Eagle Lake Residence.

3. Functionality

Modern design is not just about aesthetics; it's about practicality and functionality. Furniture, products, and spaces are designed with the client’s needs in mind. Every element should serve a purpose and contribute to the overall functionality of the space. This emphasis on usability ensures that modern designs are both beautiful and practical.

The Theodore Wirth Residence showcases this perfectly. Instead of leaving a bare space underneath the floating staircase, it’s been transformed into a play space instead.

4. Open Spaces

An open floor plan doesn't mean all rooms are connected, nor does it mean there are no barriers at all between the rooms. It encourages the removal of unnecessary barriers and partitions, creating an open and airy feel. Open floor plans, spacious offices, and minimalist spaces all exemplify this aspect of modern design. Exempt spaces include bathrooms, powder rooms, bedrooms, and home offices.

The Mississippi River Valley Residence was designed with an open floor plan–giving plenty of space to move about without congestion from space-to-space.

5. Use of Natural Materials

While modern design often emphasizes man-made materials like glass, steel, and concrete, it also incorporates natural materials such as wood, stone, and leather. The interplays of these materials adds warmth and texture to the home, creating a harmonious balance between the artificial and the organic.

For example, the millwork at the Mystic Lake Residence was crafted from repurposed wooden beams–giving this custom built home the ultimate modern rustic look.

6. Neutral Color Palettes

Modern home design style steers clear of bright colors in favor of a monochromatic, neutral color palette. Think white, beige, gray, and black. These colors contribute to the overall minimalist aesthetic, creating a sense of tranquility and sophistication. Occasionally, bold accent colors may be introduced to add contrast and interest to the design.

At the Deer Hill Residence, the kitchen color palette consists of black, white, and a subtle gray.

7. Innovative Technology

Incorporating cutting-edge technology is another hallmark of modern design. Smart home systems, energy-efficient appliances, and innovative materials are integrated seamlessly into each space. Technology not only enhances functionality but also showcases a forward-thinking approach to design.

The Modern Lakeshore Lodge shown above, features a kitchen with top-of-the-line energy-efficiency appliances from Miele.

8. Sustainability

In the realm of modern design, there's a growing emphasis on sustainability. Architects, designers, and builders are choosing environmentally responsible materials and adopting energy-efficient solutions for insulation, windows, flooring, countertops, and more. This eco-conscious approach aligns with our heightened awareness of environmental issues and commitment to a sustainable future.

When building the net zero Blackfoot Pass Residence in Edina, the client prioritized sustainability. The home features energy-efficient appliances, triple pane windows, Tesla powerwalls, solar panels, a green roof, and much more.

Embracing Modern Design

Modern home design is a reflection of our evolving world, emphasizing simplicity, functionality, and innovation. At Sustainable 9, our team's passion for modern design fuels us forward. We combine simplicity with complexity, form with function, and carefully craft the perfect home for our clients. Looking to build your dream home? Reach out to our team today.

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