Old-style homes aren't for everyone (and there aren't enough to go around, anyway), and the modern contemporary home packs a lot of splendor into a sometimes unassuming and sometimes otherworldly package.
Contemporary architecture is a blanket term that covers everything from the late 20th-century to the present. It isn't a style, per se, as it is an adoption of modern practices and theories. Zaha Hadid and I.M. Pei are both contemporary architects whose work you've seen spotlighted or echoed in museums and galleries, but there's a high chance the new build down the street in your quiet suburb is an example of contemporary architecture, too.
A contemporary home is about encapsulating the now and often works with modern materials and methods to be as green as possible. While it picks up some motifs and elements from more decorative styles, it prioritizes function over form for form's sake.
Browse 25 contemporary houses to inspire your future dream home.
Keep It Monochromatic
Minimalism is a mainstay of contemporary design. Monochromatic white and gray and neutral wood help keep this large home from looking noisy.
Stand Up Tall
A great way to let in more light and keep your front door from looking orphaned, a door-length window cut is made possible and easy from modern installation and insulation feats.
Just don't do this if you're trying to hide from your neighbors.
Pick the Right Gray
Once thought of as depressing, gray is getting its time in the sun with contemporary architecture. Just make sure to pick a good one. The blue undertones in this shade lend coolness to the simple home.
Take It to New Levels
Flat roofs are common in contemporary architecture, and if you're building against an incline, use the landscape to your advantage. This tiered walkway adds drama and greenery to this simple home.
Focus on the Floor
Contemporary doesn't mean boring. As evidence, look at how clean lines and geometric patterns and shapes create a stylish outdoor living room that's not lacking a thing (except maybe a place to put your cocktail).
Double It Up
Small outside lights have a big impact here and help the eyes travel down from the peak of the roof to the matching chairs below. The tiered, minimalist deck keeps the backyard open and maintains the flow from inside to out.
Don't Forget to Add Contrast
An attention to detail and monochromatic color schemes define contemporary style. This home adds interest with small statements, like the porthole window by the front door and the light wood.
If you've ever watched HGTV for even five minutes, you'll know that contemporary homes feature a lot of open floor plans. This home extends out into a spacious patio through a wall of simple paned windows and glass doors.
Another benefit—you'll have no problem moving in that wide piano.
Let Art Take the Focus
If any part of the home resembles a museum or exhibit of modern art, it's probably contemporary. Barely-there sheets of glass and sculptural art makes a dramatic first impression on guests coming up the walkway at night, and discreet outdoor lighting lets you take it all in without ruining any bit of the exterior's 'wow' factor.
Open and Close as You Like
Walls are already scarce in these open-concept homes, but where you must have a wall, you can make (stunning) compromises. Let the party flow in and out with the breeze with a living room wall of retractable windows.
Walk the Fine Lines
Contemporary homes throw out the building blocks in pursuit of something better. From the walkway to the curve of the garage to the levels of decks, no straight or sloped line feels out of place here.
Forget Rectangles, Romans, or Kidneys
Yards are nice, but infinity pools are better. Compared to the pool at this Bel Air dream house, an Olympic-sized pool would look practically cramped.
Don't Disrupt the View
If you have a home with a view, use the scenery as a jumping off point for your architecture. Glass walls at the front and the back of the living room make the most out of the sights and the sun.
You can recreate this trick on a smaller scale in a hallway or by installing a cutout in a non-bearing wall.
Keep a Level Head
Designing a remarkable home was once about going as big and ornate as possible, but contemporary homes often stick to flat tiers of smart design to do more with less.
You can get a better view and a bigger outdoor area by raising the interior portion of your home. The design might be minimal, but the architecture heightens the drama of every edge.
Open Up a Window or Two
You could never feel caged in while living in this contemporary masterpiece by Paul McClean. High ceilings and walls with a pivoting hinge mechanism are a match made in contemporary design heaven.
Always Make an Entrance
Does a pool need a grand staircase? This contemporary mansion makes a compelling argument for 'yes.'
Stay Simple But Charming
This townhouse in Belgium, designed by Christine Conix, is contemporary but charming and whimsical enough to compete with a grand Victorian. Asymmetrical windows in uncommon sizes and shapes make this simple design stand out.
Spend Time on Lighting
In this Modernist new build by Matteo Thun in the south of Spain, the house appears to glow from within, as warm lighting pours out from lamps, pendant lights, and more. Going for a warmer bulb in every room unites the home while keeping all of that glass from reading too stark.
Mix Old and New
If you love a traditional country home but want the modern benefits of contemporary design, bookmark this one.
Use Traditional Materials
Stucco and wood get a modern update here, and the blue tint of the windows reflects the blue skies and compliments the natural elements of the home's exteriors.
Concrete walls and gray exterior paint get warmed with wood panels in an earthy, reddish stain. The garage wood doors and gate unite the garage and the home, and the minimalist design lacks nothing. Just invest in a good power washer.
Floating glass rooms add a hefty amount of visual interest on their own, but you get bonus points for decorating the room with colorful, large-format art that you'll be able to enjoy from the driveway.
Keep It Eco-Friendly
The solar panels on this contemporary home in Germany look almost like shingles and even add contrast to the lighter wood and stone features.
Don't Forget the Plants
Contemporary and modern homes can be minimal to the point of starkness, but this two-story house in Portland, Oregon shows that greenery has its place in the design theme.