Independent Design Magazine

Modern Interior Design: Form follows Function

Modern Interior Design: Form follows Function

Professional space modern interior design Linesmag

The modern movement started in the early-mid-20th century after the industrial revolution. As a result of that and the rapid expansion of cities, architects started implementing new ideas and materials to provide affordable housing for users. With the main aim to rebel against all the previous features including heavy detailing and ornamentation, they developed Modern interior design. Therefore, abstracting spaces from any extra details or unnecessary objects.

After this extreme movement came two architectural styles mistaken for modernism; Minimalism and Contemporary architecture. To understand the similarities between Modern and Contemporary, check out our article, Contemporary Interior Design Ultimate Guide.

Difference between Modernism and Minimalism interior

Minimalist interiors tend to take a step further than Modern interiors when designing. Therefore, zones usually prioritize efficiency and remove any extras even if that means the space could be empty! Designers tend to focus on objects that would provide a specific function. Most of the time, the color scheme is neutral, consisting of three colors, a few shades apart with no sudden or contrasting colors. Furthermore, furniture pieces limited to the objects needed for each space, extremely simple with no details, and in light hues. Finally, sometimes they use simple accessories such as vases or abstracted sculptures.

[vc_carousel_father dotclr=”#000000″][vc_carousel_son image_id=”40512″ alt=”Minimal white interior design Linesmag”][/vc_carousel_son][vc_carousel_son image_id=”40489″ alt=”Color blocked interior design Linesmag”][/vc_carousel_son][/vc_carousel_father]

Features of Modern Interiors 

Neutral walls

The main features that modernism rebelled against were the previous eras use of exaggerated ornamentation and excessive details on walls and cornices. Accordingly, walls and ceilings in modern interior design are the opposite neutral and with no additional moldings or cornices. However, sometimes an accent wall with a different texture or color gives some energy to the space, but usually, it is small or the only detailed element in the whole space.

[vc_carousel_father dotclr=”#000000″][vc_carousel_son image_id=”40513″ alt=”Color blocked interior design Linesmag”][/vc_carousel_son][vc_carousel_son align=”left” image_id=”40514″ alt=”Minimal white interior design Linesmag”]

Photo Courtesy: Robert Wright


Simple, straight lines

Modernism adopts the use of simple, straight lines. This applies to furniture pieces, hanging lights, and accessories such as mirrors, frames, or vases.

Simple, straight lines Linesmag


Due to the existence of new materials modernism appeared, it inspired designers to think out of the box. As a result, industrial materials such as concrete, steel, and glass are always a main feature in a modern interior. Also, wood incorporated in the design gives a more natural effect, which breaks the harshness of industrial materials.

Materials in modern interior design Linesmag
Photo Courtesy: Tria Arquitetura

Open plan and no clutter

Open plans came with the modern movement to create a sense of openness and freedom, strengthened by the use of large windows that allowed the maximum entrance of light and a connection to the outside. Rooms have very few walls, furniture helps separate and define each space. Moreover, the main concept of modernism is ‘less is more’ thus, designers don’t use unnecessary accessories or nonfunctional pieces of furniture.

Open plan in modern interior design Linesmag
Photo Courtesy: Tria Arquitetura


Color schemes are often earthly colors derived from nature along with white, beige, and black. However, bold or bright colored objects create a focal point or give a lively effect to the room. For instance, colored framed arts on the wall, a single piece of furniture, throw pillows, or a throw rug.

Earth colors and hues of white Linesmag
Photo Courtesy: Nicole Franzen


Modern furniture is very creative and implements both functionality and aesthetics. Usually, pieces constructed of steel, plastic, and molded plywood. For more details, you can read our article on 6 features of modern furniture design.

[vc_carousel_father dotclr=”#000000″][vc_carousel_son image_id=”40521″ alt=”Minimal white interior design Linesmag”][/vc_carousel_son][vc_carousel_son image_id=”40522″ alt=”Color blocked interior design Linesmag”][/vc_carousel_son][/vc_carousel_father]

Modern spaces


Modern kitchens have straight-line cabinets and counters with no details or decorative edges. Usually, they are monochromatic in color or combine two shades or two materials. Most of the time, in a large kitchen they add an island or a small dining table. Moreover, to provide extra storage space, use visible shelves that create a void between the solid cabinets giving a sense of openness. The use of open kitchens is popular in modern design, with hanging lamps above the counter separating the kitchen and the living room.

[vc_carousel_father dotclr=”#000000″][vc_carousel_son image_id=”40523″ alt=”Minimal white interior design Linesmag”][/vc_carousel_son][vc_carousel_son image_id=”40541″ alt=”Color blocked interior design Linesmag”]

Summitridge – Photo Courtesy: Marmol Radziner firm


Living room 

Straight-line sofas and small seating with light hues often define the living rooms space from the rest of the apartment. Designers tend to use monochromatic colored furniture and walls in living rooms. However, breaking the monochromatic color scheme is contrasting accent furniture, with pop up colors. Also, minimal use of decorations, few throw pillows, a modern art frame, or a mirror are key characteristics of a modern living room. Furthermore, commonly used on walls, floors, or furniture is natural materials like wood or bamboo. Moreover, designers frequently use metallic finishing on mirrors, knobs, and frames.

Vibrant modern living room design Linesmag


Likewise, bedrooms implement characteristics of modern living rooms. They use simple straight-line furniture pieces with neutral  color schemes and accent furniture or walls. However, designers sometimes use darker or warmer color hues, for example, shades of browns. Moreover, wooden furniture pieces or a touch of greenery give liveliness to the room. Finally, the rooms feature no decorations, but most of the time, added to a monochromatic room to give it some vitality is a modern art piece.

[vc_carousel_father dotclr=”#000000″][vc_carousel_son image_id=”40527″ alt=”Minimal white interior design Linesmag”][/vc_carousel_son][vc_carousel_son image_id=”40528″ alt=”Color blocked interior design Linesmag”]

Photo Courtesy: Karel Balas



Frequently, designers use a neutral, earthy color scheme, but in this case, an accent wall with wallpaper or a pop-up colored ceramic is necessary. Moreover, materials include; wood, stone, glass, and ceramic. Also, a signature free-standing, ovular, or rectangular bathtub is essential in a modern bathroom. Finally, sometimes they use a touch of greenery as an accessory.

Modern bathroom design Linesmag

Lastly, modern interiors are extremely flexible and could easily achieve any mood you intend, whether it’s a comfortable, friendly one or a formal, strict one. It is all about how you use the variety of tools previously mentioned. For further details about designing spaces, you could refer to Bedroom Design Tips and Tricks, Kitchen Design Tips to create an Awesome Kitchen, & Design tips for styling your Dining room.

Follow Linesmag on FacebookInstagram, and LinkedIn to catch up on our recent posts or sign up for our Newsletter for free.

Omnia Gawish architect, writer, and reader. Love delivering stories about architecture and history. Also, enjoy presenting different aspects of design and architecture to eager readers.