Design Diaries: Classic vs. Contemporary

Tabu Muneera, Designer at Elara Interiors and World of Style by Porter Davis Homes – Melbourne, begins her series of columns on Interior design for LifeSpice with a discussion on the two major styles: Classic and Contemporary.

Classic Paris; image courtesy World of Style, Porter Davis

Classic Paris; Image courtesy World of Style, Porter Davis.

Interior Design is all about creating the space which best suits your lifestyle and functionality. It is a depiction of your personality and tells who you really are. The best way to represent your style in interiors is to first classify it. The two most common design style themes are Classic and Contemporary.

Let’s break up these themes to understand them better.

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This is a style designed for those you appreciate classically designed looks. It has a strong balance of texture, colour and pattern, mixed with ageless furniture and antiques.

Create this look:

  • Barcelona – Warm base palette, wax inspired walls, feature stonework, rustic tiles or aged timber floor, outdoor wrought iron and wicker
  • Bordeaux France – Farm house feel, French provincial, rustic oak cabinets
  • Champagne France – Refined feel, neutral base palette, feature colours of warm blues, lavender and forest greens, buttoning detail on chairs, bedhead, sofas, linen sofas with skirting
  • Chicago – Rich timber tones, feature wall lights throughout, Art Deco furniture feel
  • Classic Hamptons – Light oak timbers, white wicker furniture, large table lamps, coastal décor and artwork
  • Classic Paris – Classical ornate furniture, soft pastel colours of duck egg blue, classic frame artwork, layered bed linen, ornate skirting and cornices
San Francisco; Image courtesy Elara Interiors

San Francisco; Image courtesy Elara Interiors


Clean lines and simple colour palettes let the structural design become the prime feature of your house. Chrome details which are perfectly mixed with dark timbers and fabrics create a cool sensory experience. Funky artwork and feature lighting complete the look.

Create this look:

  • Amsterdam – Architectural white walls, concrete style floors, exposed brick, earthy palette, large abstract pieces of art
  • Aspen Colorado – Grey palette, Large stone style tiles to bathrooms, freestanding bath, exposed timber beams and trusses, charcoal and navy touches, aged leather
  • Hollywood Hills – Clean streamlined façade, large polished tiles or concrete, large expanses of glass
  • Ibiza – Clean lines, minimal furniture, large open spaces
  • Scandinavia – Neutral textures, light timber with white framing in furniture, tapered leg furniture, splashes of green in art and cushions
  • San Francisco – Industrial undertone, industrial lighting, leather and fabrics feature, art gallery inspired artwork

It’s easy to now classify the look and the feel you are trying to achieve in your space. Be bold to try out with colours in the form of accents. Remember the key to a good interior design is to provide functionality and that LESS IS MORE.

To connect with Tabu drop a comment below. You can also visit her page on Facebook.

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