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Modern design is a broad design concept. While most equate it with the futuristic look, there are also others who think of it as an update of something, which is traditional and classic.


Modern design can trace its original concept from the Latin word ‘modo’ which means ‘just now’. This term slowly evolved into the concept of modernism and modern design. Modernism traces its roots to progressive Nordic and European countries. It was geared towards utility rather than aesthetics, with buildings and interiors being more utopian in spirit and frugal in execution.


Modern interior design is explained in famed designer, Mies van der Rohe’s famous saying in which “Less is more”. This means that the design is broken down to its simplest forms, but still produces a great impact to the overall design that is both appealing and timeless. Another principle modern interior design follows is the famed architect, Louis Sullivan’s saying which is “Function before form”. In layman’s terms, this means that the design must serve its primary function before achieving its aesthetic goal.


With the basic history and concept covered, modern interior design can be distinguished by its use of clean, sleek, uncluttered lines, innovative and adaptable materials and complimenting colors and textures. What makes it modern, aside from the aforementioned traits, is the relative inception of time and its ability to survive its original era and become what designers call as “a universal modern idea”.


Modern interior design has become a staple theme in many interiors due to the rise of modern buildings and the popularity of minimalist living. It gave rise to popular designers such as Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, Eero Saarinen and the most famous of all, Frank Lloyd Wright. Each designer contributes varying principle to an already established design theme. Principles like frugality and simplicity are the core of modern design.


Modern design thrives on the principle that everything is in motion. Whether it be a living room or a simple chair, the concept is geared towards people who have fast paced jobs who wish to live in a home, which guarantees utmost comfort and convenience. This is especially true for Singaporeans living in the metropolitan areas where high rise apartment interiors require little maintenance and still possess the aesthetics and comfort of everyday living.


Modern interior design makes use of innovative materials such as solid plywood and high pressure wood laminates or HPL, one of the most widely used wood products. To keep up with the principle of frugality in executing designs, most modern interiors tend to keep a more streamlined look. This means that most of the lines are quite straight, so they are free of complex designs and costs. It is then enhanced with simple complimenting textures, colors and accessories.


For example, a simple all-white living room may have a potted plant to promote fresh air and give off a more natural look. A neutral dining room, on the other hand, may opt to have their chairs upholstered in a contrasting color, such as blues and yellows.


Note, as well, that you can’t define it as modern design without the interiors having one of a kind mechanisms. These mechanisms are designed to enhance the interiors’ almost ordinary closures and doors. This is exemplified in integrated cabinets, modern kitchens and built-in furniture. A good example will be Häfele, a German company, which specializes in innovative hardware fittings for modern interiors. Another example is Blum, which specializes in electronic hinges and openings for the modern interior, but of course, the modern interior design’s overall look credits it to the creativity of the designer and client.


Another principle to consider is practicality because modern interior design basically involves incorporating innovative ideas to solve existing problems – problems such as space allocation, storage requirements and client budget. Oftentimes, clients tend to incorporate as much design as possible, thereby resulting to a more complicated project.


In this case, it is advisable to contact professionals, such as interior designers and carpenters. Interior designers have worked with many clients and have developed innovative ideas that help solve the many problems listed above. They then turn to carpenters who calculate the overall cost of execution and present, if possible, alternative options.


Then there is also the principle of versatility. People are more open to change. In most cases, they have a strong desire to change their environments, starting from where they live. Modern design, as stated earlier, is the most adaptable of all design concepts. By mixing something contrasting like an L-shaped sofa with ruched fabric throw pillows, the result gives the streamlined living room a more feminine touch. The basis of modern design revolves around the use of simple pieces, then you can easily redesign it with the help of a few accessories and accent pieces.

In today’s modern Singaporean, the modern interior plays to the needs of practicality, simplicity and low maintenance, especially since most constructed apartments come with small spaces as a means of accommodating simple necessities, such as living, dining, kitchen and the like. The spaces are reduced to just accommodate the dining, kitchen and bedroom, leaving little room for other areas of interest.


This is where you need the help of an expert. As stated earlier, interior designers and carpenters have extensive experience when it comes to dealing with the most common interior design problems. Designers can come up with solutions that utilize the client’s ergonomics or efficiency in the working environment, comfort and above all practicality. Many clients will bring the designers photos from various sources such as Houzz and Qanvast, leading providers of interior design ideas. Most of the time, designers execute it perfectly with surprising results.


Modern interiors are also favorable not only because of the principles, but also to the tastes of the clients. After all, it is a universal theme, which has been incorporated in many other themes and concepts that it is almost second nature for some to consider using modern interior designs to suit their preferred lifestyle and environment