If you love elements of industrial, contemporary and minimalist styles, then the urban modern look may be right for you. An urban modern style stems from cosmopolitan influence—think designer loft in a major city—that fuses together opposing, yet complementary, design elements. It’s not uncommon to see traits of minimalist style, with edgy designs, and a bit of glamor in an urban modern room. However, urban modern design has a softer side than purely industrial or contemporary styles, giving the home a hip yet comfortable and welcoming feel.
So how to get this look in your own home? We asked top Bethesda interior designer Erica Burns for tips to bring some urban modern into your own home.
When a room has minimalist furnishings, have fun with "scale" to make pieces pop. For example, this kitchen features simple shaped pendants over the island, but the large size creates a dramatic look. For art and mirrors, you can use a mix of oversized pieces and groupings of smaller items for varying impacts.
Small details go a long way when you have minimalist furnishings. In this room, drapery with a loud pattern would have been too much of a statement. Instead, simple gray drapes were used along with a graphic applique trim in blue to add a tailored finishing touch. This provides the perfect frame for the oversized windows, a common element in urban modern design.
In urban modern spaces, you want to avoid too much of a "matchy" decorated look. Have a common color subtly play throughout (in this case, blue and gray) but also incorporate different colors to keep it interesting—such as splashes of chartruese and lavender, and the pop of green in the lamp on the bar. Also, notice the steel stair rails, another frequently used element in urban modern design.
Each room should have some sort of statement piece, whether it is art, a patterned rug or fun dining room chandelier (as shown in this photo). However, make sure not to have too many statement pieces so that they do not compete with each other and your favorite can be the star of the show.
If you want a space to be more casual, like this family room, tone down the glam and choose more relaxed fabrics and patterns. And when it's more of an entertaining space, such as a formal living room, ramp up the more luxe fabrics like a velvet sofa and add some metal finishes. The great thing about the urban modern look is you can fuse varying design elements to get a trendy, yet comfortable feel.