Clean Modern Style Room Decorations


A Clean Modern style is a departure from traditional styles in a sense of more sleek, compact, furniture with abstract lines and compositions. Most recently the look has been referred to as contemporary, which for some people evokes a memory of 1980s geometric patterns and lines. The updated version uses the same concepts, but steers away from the dated style.

The key with modern style is focusing on the use of space, lighting, and color in a similar manner as Minimalist Japanese. Similarly to the Eastern Asian inspired style, Modern spaces tend to have less objects, focusing attention on the space itself. Unlike Minimalist Japanese, Clean Modern doesn't necessarily include natural elements, making synthetic materials far more likely and acceptable. The overall design achieves a sleek, clean, and simplistic look which conveys a bright airiness. It's an ideal style for any room, particularly bedrooms, dinning rooms, and living rooms.

In this article you'll learn:

  • Top color choices for achieving a Clean Modern style
  • Textures and fabrics most aligned with the decorating theme
  • Finishing touches to consider utilizing
  • Style lesson in decorating with artwork and framed photos
  • Developing a Clean Modern Beachside style


The full spectrum of colors should work well in a Clean Modern style, provided they work with one another in the color palette. There are various routes one can go in terms of underlying color palettes:

- A bright minimalist route using brighter toned colors. Keep in mind these will likely energize a room so avoid using this palette in relaxing centric rooms like bedrooms. A spin off of this idea is using primarily bright white with one or two other colors in subordinate and accent roles. This combination is often easier to work with rather than multiple colors.

- Airy and clean should aim for lighter tones, not necessarily pastel, but not electric, simply medium range tones. Combine these colors as subordinates or accents to neutrals like ivory or oatmeal.

- Urban modern works well with a grey scale, punctuated with a red or blue accent color. To avoid this look becoming too cold, incorporate warmer wood elements, as discussed in the furniture section of this article.

Regardless of the chosen color palette, aim for blocks of color as in accent walls, a sitting area with rich brown furniture against a cream wall backdrop, or red lamp shades contrasting against a blue wall.

Play with contrasting and complementary colors. As mentioned previously, Clean Modern focuses on the space created by the walls and minimal furniture. Color plays a pivotal role in developing that space, as there's less "stuff" to hide behind. If you're fearful the chosen color palette isn't interesting enough, paint an accent wall in one color or a modern painting technique such as ombre where the colors blend gently from lighter to darker. This works especially well to lighten a potentially dark and drab grey color palette. Another technique is painting dots on the wall, either sporadically in an accent color or continuously and close for an all over pattern in the dominant or subordinate colors.


Fabric patterns within a Clean Modern room depend upon the direction the room will take. A cleaner inclination will warrant solid colored fabrics, while a colorful Clean Modern look benefits from stripes and even a carefully chosen floral print. However the prints should work as accents, since multiple patterns could distract from the Clean Modern aesthetics.

In terms of fabric material, look for lighter, sheer material such as gauzy open weave muslin as curtains. They will dress up windows and offer privacy without taking too much focus from the room. If more privacy or less natural light is desired, install clean shades such as roller style, or even a flat Roman. In most cases, mounting the shades inside the window creates a cleaner look, a desired element for this decor scheme.

For upholstered seating look for clean cotton and linen fabrics. They are not only durable, but simple, as to not distract from the overall room. Feel free to add an unexpected material such as a leather chair for masculine contrast. One or two areas of unexpected fabrics are welcome, but, just like colors, need to work well as a whole.

A great trait of Clean Modern design is its appreciation for the actual components of a room opens itself up for numerous flooring materials. The scarcity of the Clean Modern room requires the flooring to stand on its own in regards of beauty and style. Underfoot, a variety of floor coverings can work well from standard solid carpeting to fun shagged area rugs to sleek hardwood floors. It all depends upon the desired underlying themes and overall color scheme. Take into consideration that hardwoods will warm up the space, and stone tiles will cool down a space, so couple those materials with cooler or warmer color palettes, respectively. Avoid too many patterns on the carpeting, other than minimal geometric designs, and, again, fitting the style with the color scheme.

For finishing touches and furniture look for smooth, reflective objects such as glass and metallic materials to contrast with the soft fabrics. Stick to steel or aluminum, either shiny or brushed, depending on the underlying theme. These brighter, more silver metals appear lighter and cleaner than iron, thus promoting the clean aspect of Clean Modern style. Smooth, lacquered tables and chairs also fit nicely.


Keep Clean Modern furniture sleek and light weight. Consider the aforementioned glass and metallic materials for chairs and shelving. For added interest balance synthetic materials with natural ones, such as a sleek wooden table surrounded by clear plastic chairs. An added bonus with this idea is the clear chairs appear to take up less space, making it an ideal arrangement in a smaller dining room.

Choose low-lying couches and tables coupled with interestingly designed chairs. Try to keep furniture compact and sleek, such as a mid-century sofa designed in the likeness of Vladimir Kagan's furniture. Depending on the personality and underlying theme, incorporating a surprising piece like a Victorian style chest amid the otherwise sleek, modern furniture adds interest. Be sure to keep the surprising pieces limited to one or two as to not deter from the Clean Modern style.

Review the decluttering tips if necessary. Helping to further keep items out of view are smart storage cabinets and shelving. There are numerous built-in options on the market as well as clean yet decorative containers to place on shelves. The goal with storage in Clean Modern is keeping everything well blended with the decor, as stated numerous times, nothing should interfere with the space components with the room.

Interested in learning more? Why not take an online How to Decorate a Room course?


Clean Modern rooms should be sparse and tidy. The few objects should easily represent underlying themes: whimsy, masculine, feminine, and glamour to name a few. Be sure they also reflect the personalities of those inhabiting the space, it'll boost the welcoming aspect of an often easily unfriendly style.

Pay careful consideration to lighting, particularly what kind of lamps to use for the best light. Clean Modern relies on light for its main decor, so the ability to manipulate light will work to your advantage. Consider dimmers and switching out the bulbs. Trade out generic overhead lights for an unexpected modern style chandelier or giant fish bowl style bulbs. Play with ideas and consult a lighting expert at a local home improvement store for advice.

Another light option for rooms with large windows is using the abundant natural light as decor. Throughout the day as the sun moves across the sky, the light creates various patterns on the floor and walls. Showcase this free decor element with minimal window coverage and strategically placed colored rugs, mirrors, and glass. This concept truly embodies the Clean Modern attitude of space, light, and color appreciation.


A great way to infuse color, interest, personality, and underlying themes is well chosen artwork and framed photos. These wall masterpieces contribute to the decor scheme without taking up physical space, making them ideal in Clean Modern rooms. Here are some tips for decorating with artwork and framed photos:

- Frame a picture in the same color frame and matting as the wall, such as white on white. This focuses attention to the artwork and gives the illusion of floating art.

- Find a dramatic picture, then decorate the room around the image by pulling colors out and strategically placing the coloring. For example a close up photograph of a bright red flower is intensified on a white matted frame, then dramatized when hung on a red wall over a white couch. The play of red and white draws the eye and commands attention.

- When hanging art, aim for an anchor such as a couch or side table underneath it, particularly when arranging a grouping. The anchor helps create lines for centering and bordering the grouping.

- For a grouping of photos, keep the frames identical and spaced no more than three inches for an impressive, intentional arrangement. Feel free to use rectangular and square frames, but aim for one to be slightly larger to ground the entire group.

- Mix the mediums of artwork (watercolor, oil, sketch) for extra dimension.

Decorating with artwork is ideal for Clean Modern and especially in tight spaces. A single painting can make a dramatic impact, even more so than some pieces of furniture. It's also a great venue to showcase interests and personal photos, ideal for minimalist styles of decorating that shun numerous trinkets.


A beachside look is casual, cool, and relaxing. This opposes the sleeker, cleaner modern style, but when combined together, Clean Modern Beachside results in a comfortably clean style that is equally relaxing and minimalist.

An easy way to evolve a style is to take a primary style, then manipulate some components towards another style. For Clean Modern, most color palettes work, a scarcity of fabrics and extra touches is key, and sleek furniture is best. To combine the two styles, lets make Beachside the primary and manipulate elements towards Clean Modern.

The color palette easily takes on a cooler toned scheme filled with blues and grey. Bright white can take the role of accent, easily pulling the styles together. Avoid patterns as to decrease too much detraction from the Modern style.

Linen and cotton still work for upholstery, and sheer curtains allow plenty of warm natural light, beneficial for balancing the color palette and boosting the Modern style. For furniture lines a cross between the modern sleek style and comfortable beach style should be attained. Find seating at the mid-point that is neither too plush nor too sleek.

For complementary textures and materials, look for light, sub-bleached woods and brushed silver or painted white metals. These materials will satisfy both styles the best due to the light, non-reflective coloring. They also work to blend into the background which avoids dramatic statements, thus boosting the a familiar, comfortable moods associated with Beachside style.

Finishing touches should be minimal, but beach inspired. Stick to a few starfish arranged in a deep bowl, beach photography on the walls, and stacks of neatly folded or rolled towels and blankets. Try modern style lighting fixtures to balance the styles and increase light. The overall look should be clean, airy, sleek, but welcoming and reminiscent of a beachside home.


Clean Modern is an updated, very versatile look that focuses on a room's space, lighting, and color. For this reason, keep the decor elements sleek and to a minimum. Fabric curtains should be sheer or easily tucked away and furniture should be tight and compact to include storage solutions which easily blend into the background.

Mix synthetic with natural materials such as a glass topped sleek wood table to add interest and balance. Aim for aluminum and steel over iron as they are cleaner metals, while lacquered sleek wood wins over rustic, heavy styles. Don't be afraid to brighten the room's potential heavy spots with extra natural or artificial light.

A great way to add color, interest, and personality into a room is through hung artwork and framed photos. Choose artwork for a specific decor based on color, subject, and size, then hang with regards to the other design factors. The flat pieces add plenty of character without much physical space, perfect for minimalist decorating styles.

Clean Modern works well in adopting underlying themes and being combined with other styles, such as Clean Modern Beachside. A cool color palette relaxes the mood while a mixture of lightweight, sun-bleached wood mixed with sleek white or brushed steel steers the overall design towards a Modern note. Keeping finishing touches sparse and beach related completes the decor scheme, resulting in a sleek yet welcoming Clean Modern Beachside escape.

Overall, a Clean Modern space retains a good flow and balanced look, all created by the space itself, colors, and light. Its versatility in regards to color and flooring materials makes it ideal for many rooms, and its minimalistic character helps inspire tidiness and organization.

Key elements for achieving a Clean Modern style:

- Theme: The overall design achieves a sleek, clean, and simplistic look which conveys a bright airiness.

- Color: The full spectrum of colors should work well in a Clean Modern style, provided they work with one another in the color palette. Choose a palette of well-liked colors that attain a desired mood for the room and fulfill any underlying themes. Regardless of the chosen color palette, aim for blocks of color. The effects can range from stark contrast, to subtle blending, and complementary.

- Textures and fabrics: Fabrics hold be light and airy. Sheer drapes coupled with structured and tucked away shades provide style and functionality. Contrasting textures range from synthetic such as metals and glass to natural woods. Unexpected elements, like leather, are welcome, but should be kept minimal.

- Furniture style: Keep furniture lines sleek and clean. Couple synthetic and natural materials for interest. Including a surprising piece from a different style is welcome, but shouldn't be overdone. Storage should be well designed to blend into the background in the form of either built in shelves or decorative bins housed on stand alone shelving.

- Objects to pull it together: Clean Modern should be tidy and spare, therefore limit additional elements to those exhibiting the underlying themes or representative of the inhabitant's personality.

Words of caution:

- Color plays a major role in Clean Modern, therefore give the color scheme good consideration in regards to the desired mood and underlying themes.

- Patterns, if used at all, should be sporadic.

- Just because Clean Modern works with most floor coverings, doesn't allow for less than pristine flooring. Be sure whatever flooring is used can stand on its own in terms of appreciation and contributing to the overall decor scheme.