The earliest influences of contemporary design stem from the art deco and post-war modernism ages – artists were trying to break away from the conventional and find new ways to push boundaries. This cross-over between creating works of art and designing functional pieces of modern furniture really grew in momentum during the Bauhaus movement of the 1920s and the design of modern furniture shifted to real self-expression and individuality, as well as being serviceable and comfortable to use.
Italian design was also another strong indicator in contemporary furniture design, but this style of furniture design also took much from French, America and Swedish influences. Many of the original contributors to the contemporary furniture movement, such as Charles and Ray Eames are still highly respected and continue to influence furniture designers to this day.
A couple of items to think about before making your decision. Does the piece you want to recover need a new look? Is the frame of the piece still in good shape? Is the item you would like to recover a favorite piece of furniture? Or – is the item a perfect size and shape for a particular spot in your home? If you answered yes to these questions, a slipcover might just be your answer. And don’t limit yourself to just upholstered pieces; slipcovers are a great idea for hardwood and metal chairs as well as an easy way to get a whole new look and feel for a room.
If your family room already has a monochromatic color scheme, use other colors. Move away from standard accessories for color and add a chair, a bean bag or a rug that is full of color which brings a new energy to the room. You can add a study table with book shelves or a TV theatre system, whatever the add-in it should be vibrant and should appeal to the whole family complementing the color scheme at the same time.
Contemporary furniture design also saw architecture as an inspiration and many of the most influential modern furniture designers were originally better known as architects. The construction of more structural and stylised pieces of modern furniture resonated with these designers and they looked to turn their hand to more immediate ways of expressing their own styles. Some of the most famous architects who became involved in the contemporary furniture movement were Gio Ponti, Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Frank Lloyd Wright.