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So far in this series we’ve looked forward to the ever-evolving and chic freedom of transitional design, and backward to the historic and charming comfort of rustic décor –this week, however, I’ll be exploring peace in the present. Having turned to Charles Darwin for thoughts on the transitional, and Karl Marx for ponderings of the pre-industrial, this week I’ll turn to Friedrich Nietzsche for his cognition on the contemporary.

A 3-step guide to a Nietzsche niche

Step 1: Install a single chain pendant light and dangle it from the very center of the room with zero lamp shading – this allows the light’s truest state to remain unblemished from every perspective, and forces occupants of the room to revel in its unabated in-the-moment realness. Encourage guests to stare directly at it, if possible –to suffer is to live, remember.

Step 2: Once your eyes burn with the fiery sting of unencumbered personal truth, stumble blindly (as we do in life during gaps between self-actualizations) to a single pain of mirrored glass*
*Ensure the mirror has no frame (who are we to compartmentalize one’s perception?), and don’t bother mounting it – self-reflection is not contained to one finite space

Step 3: Stick your mind and body out the window and hold that mirror up to society, man.

…JK, guys.

Contemporary kitchen with view

Rather than being bogged down by the mind-bending moralistic multiverse of Nietzsche’s knowledge, I suggest framing your design thinking with his empowered silver lining of Life Affirmation: with no assurance of how the future will unfold, one should embrace the realities of the world we live in now.

This is exactly what contemporary design achieves – a personal path that deviates from the traditional, and an uninhibited expression of your trendy tastes at present.

Neo-neutral color schemes

Your best bet for contemporary wall color is to explore the realm of neutrals. Using cream, white, tan, beige, and even muted or matte blacks is a sure fire way to keep your décor from looking dated. Plus, the monochromatic application of color can both instill a sense of the roaming ethereality common to contemporary spaces, in addition to drawing focus to brightly colored accent pieces of furniture, art, or accessories, allowing them to take center stage.

That being said if your “true you” is better expressed with a more colorful pallet, allow yourself to experiment with contemporary rules–as Nietzsche said, “there are no facts, only interpretations.”

contemporary design living room wood floors white walls

Add vial of vividness to your color compound: a ration of red to your creams and whites for a pale rose, or a gram of gray to your greens and blues for a stony cyan are great ways to add a pinprick of personality to any room.

Friedrich-ian furnishings

The expansive element of a contemporary design space leaves ample room for bold statements by choice pieces. Back dropped by those aforementioned neutral tones, statement accessories displayed in this type of décor become fast focal points.

Whether you’re mounting a large scale vivid painting or placing a fashionably fluorescent cubic end table, there should be at least a few flamboyant furnishings peppered throughout your palace. Be wary of over-accessorizing though: adding too many poignant pieces can end up splitting the focus of a room, and diluting the visual impact of each individual item.

Contemporary living room orange chair focal point

Similarly, the furniture you choose should nurture the expansive and focused nature of your contemporary space. Unusual and striking profiles of a chair can offset bulkier items like sofas, without drawing attention away from your feature pieces.

Let your floors keep your design grounded

The flooring in your contemporary home should also lend itself to the clean lines, vast space, and piece-driven vivacity that are synonymous with this type of design. Lighter hues and subdued shades are found most commonly underfoot in these new-age spaces, and are typically showcased on harder surface flooring.

The low sheen and elongated graining pattern of BuildDirect’s Jasper Wire Brushed Engineered Flooring (depicted below) are a great way to draw the eye through the entire length of a contemporary space without taking focus away from your accent pieces.

engineered flooring red chair painting

Finally, try and refrain from adorning your planks with bright, sprawling area rugs and the like. Again, you don’t want to shine a spotlight away from pieces you’ve put at center stage.

Veni, Vidi, Nietzsche

Like Nietzsche’s musings on existentialism that dictate each individual is responsible for giving meaning to their own life – every home owner is responsible for adding personality and depth to their own décor. Designing a contemporary space is not merely a way to keep your home up-to-date with current trends; it’s also an ideal platform for self-expression. The design scheme of such a space should resonate the personality of the designer and declare, “they came, they saw, they decorated.”

How do you plan on conquering your contemporary space?

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Jill Canty

hiker; runner; breakfast food, mcdonalds, and beer lover; HBO and AMC marathoner; insatiable modern fiction devourer; hopeful globe-trotter; concert-goer; proportionate Beyoncé obsession-haver; and - of course - content writer.