How to Decorate Classic Contemporary Style Interiors

How to Decorate Classic Contemporary Style Interiors

Suzanne Anderson
7 minute read

Classic contemporary style interiors are curated, minimal, and uncluttered.

This style focuses on refined elegance, where handcrafted, quality-made pieces, deliberate use of colour and texture, and attention to detail combine to achieve sophistication and timeless beauty. 

You can Shop the Classic Contemporary collection here.


Classic Contemporary Colour Palette

The classic contemporary colour palette features soft and tonal neutrals of calming whites, ivory, oyster, tan, taupe, and soft greys.

These quiet neutrals are carried throughout the home, allowing each room to flow seamlessly. 

Complementary colours include olive, celadon, or emerald greens, pastel sky and navy blues, soft pinks, mauve, and gleaming metallic accents. 

Rich browns, natural woods, and black are used for grounding and adding definition to an otherwise neutral backdrop. 

Classic Contemporary style colour palette

Photo Source: Louise Bradley

Transform your Existing Look

There are so many ways to re-purpose your furniture and decor & update your existing look with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint®. 

Shop Classic Contemporary style Chalk Paint here.

Photo Source: Louise Bradley

Classic Contemporary Style Architecture

Balance, symmetry, and proportion are the most distinctive elements of contemporary style architecture. 

While classic contemporary interiors are not limited to a particular architectural style, this style would be fitting within Georgian, Federal, and English Neo-Classical Styles.

An appreciation of classical architecture is reflected in the inclusion of panelled ceilings, pilasters, skirtings, cornices, and classic wall mouldings. 

Heritage homes may feature bead-and-reel cove cornices and circular coved roundels on the ceilings. 

Original builds pay homage to the heritage of the building, the history of the area, and the architectural period.

Architectural digest classic contemporary style

Photo Source: Architectural Digest

Classic Contemporary Style Flooring

Flooring choices focus on warmth, luxury, and comfort with wall-to-wall wool-blend carpets seen in living spaces and bedrooms.

Bare timber floorboards, wide-plank oak flooring, and durable blond floor planks offer a classic look and are seen throughout the home. 

Classic contemporary flooring

Photo Source: Suzie Anderson Home and Waida Associates

Bathrooms feature glossy ceramic, marble, or porcelain tiles, as their lustrous finish integrates beautifully in both contemporary and classic homes. 

Persian and abstract bespoke two-tone wool rugs can be layered for colour, texture, and warmth underfoot.

Classic Contemporary style flooring

Photo Source: Thomas Pheasant

Classic Contemporary Style Lighting

For ambient lighting, opt for track and recessed lighting on a dimmer. 

Pendant lighting crafted from bronze, brass, and nickel with glass, metal, or parchment shades features in entryways, kitchen islands, and formal dining spaces. 

You will also find hand-blown crystal glass drop pendants and ornate decorative chandeliers for elegance and glamour. 

Suzie Anderson Home Classic Contemporary Lighting

Photo Source: Suzie Anderson Home

A gentle ambience is created through the inclusion of wall sconces with parchment, linen, or velvet shades. 

Contemporary accent lighting includes picture lights, under-cabinet lighting, and brass, beveled glass, or antique silver wall sconces. 

Gallery Art Light Wall Sconce | Antique Silver | W 33cm, Depth 19cm

Gallery Art Light Wall Sconce | Antique Silver | W 33cm, Depth 19cm


STORE PICK UP/LOCAL DELIVERY ONLY/FREIGHT QUOTE ON APPLICATION  Due to the size and weight of this piece we are unable to offer our regular Australia wide delivery.  For Australia-wide deliveries, a freight quote does apply for this piece.This is not calculated online… read more

Task lighting is provided through textural or glossy ceramic table lamps, as well as sculptural crystal glass, antique silver, gold, and brass table and floor lamps. 

Lamp shades feature drum, tapered, or oval shape designs. 

Classic Contemporary Style Window Treatments

Throughout the home, you will find quality-lined neutral silk or linen curtains. 

Sheer white pleated curtains will offer diffuse lighting in bathrooms, whilst heavy black-out drapes or blinds can be installed in bedrooms for a luxurious and sumptuous feel. 

These are mounted at ceiling height to draw the eye up and give the illusion of higher ceilings. 

Classic contemporary window treatments

Photo Source: Architectural Digest

Classic Contemporary Style Furniture

Furniture choices are elegant and bespoke and showcase a “new-old approach.”

Each room showcases a few unique pieces that are quality made, hand-crafted, and feature an array of finishes, textures, and clean lines. 

For example, classic-shaped occasional furniture can take on a contemporary look with a matt black or lacquered finish, while traditional brown furniture can be paired alongside a gilt glass or marble top coffee table.

Armchairs, sofas, chaise lounges, studded ottomans, and foot-stools with exposed legs are upholstered in linens, muted hand block prints, bouclé or soft velvets to create a calming and soothing environment. 

Victorian Hagan Classic Contemporary style

Photo Source: Victoria Hagan

Antique Regency furniture can be paired alongside contemporary designs and may include a Regency style executive desk chair, Trafalgar, bergere or wingback armchairs, mahogany drum tables & nightstands with vintage brass hardware, and slender secretary desks. 

Elevate these classic pieces with a marble or glass top gilt console, a partially mirrored vanity or nightstand, a black lacquered hall table, or a richly grained oak top coffee table with iron legs. 

Traditional brown woods are selected for their unique grains, while marble, metals, and glass are incorporated for softness and elegance.

In the dining room, you will find a substantial mahogany table, upholstered chairs with exposed legs, and a generous sideboard buffet.

Custom bedheads are upholstered with piping or stud detailing for a luxury hotel feel. Pair with a quilted, painted, semi-gloss, or traditional brown nightstand with oak veneers. 

Classic contemporary style furniture

Photo Source: Albion Nord

Classic Contemporary Style Texture and Materials

Tailored soft furnishings of natural linen blends, cotton, wool, cashmere, sumptuous silks, and velvets add a textural warmth and offer an inviting feel. 

Visual interest is achieved by adding muted pops of colour with decorative cushions, throws, bedding, and table linen. 

While patterns are used on a smaller scale, designs include stripes, geometric prints, jewel-like motifs, and graceful nature-inspired prints. For intrigue, look for decorative pillows that feature fringed details and contrasting trims and fabrics. 

Natural, soft materials are used throughout the home, including rich mahogany, light-washed oak, stone, marble, opaque or clear glass, and mixed metals.

Classic contemporary bed

Photo source: Louise Bradley

Classic Contemporary Style Artwork & Mirrors

Artwork choices include contemporary, framed abstract, and monochromatic works, as well as black and white photography, detailed architectural sketches, and botanical drawings. 

These add dimension and personality to hallways, fireplace mantels, and living and dining spaces.

Formation Framed Landscape

Formation Framed Landscape


STORE PICK UP/LOCAL DELIVERY ONLY/FREIGHT QUOTE ON APPLICATION  Due to the size and weight of this piece we are unable to offer our regular Australia wide delivery.  For Australia-wide deliveries, a freight quote does apply for this piece.This is not calculated online… read more

Contemporary mirrors are oversize and are typically round, arched, or rectangular in shape. Frame choices range from delicate lime wash beading to gilt-painted iron or black lacquered mahogany. 

Alternatively, contrast contemporary abstract artwork and sculptures with ornate gilt and Louis XV-style patinated antique brass mirrors. 

Classic Contemporary Style Home Decor

Classic contemporary interiors tend to showcase 'space' and architectural details rather than excessive collections. 

As such, classic contemporary homes reflect a harmonious and balanced approach to decor.

To achieve a curated feel, select just a few decorative accessories to display on bookshelves, sideboards, or on coffee tables. 

Items include:

  • For lustre, options include a glass dome, magnifying glass, metallic trays or charger plates, pretty picture frames, pewter barware, hammered brass candlesticks, glossy hand-crafted ceramics, and glass vases. 
  • For something loved, include eye-catching decorative figurines made from resin or iron, small busts, leather trays or boxes with metallic accents, rattan decor, coffee table books, or your favourite candle or fragrance.

Shop the full collection here.

Classic contemporary home decor

Photo Source: Suzie Anderson Home

Classic Contemporary Style Living Energy

Indoor greenery is large and dramatic, with interesting leaves and branches contained in simple vessels. 

Fill empty corners with tall reaching plants of fiddle leaf figs or ficus Audrey and natal mahogany.

For softness and glamour, slender orchids, hydrangeas, tulips, calla lilies, carnations, and roses are positioned on coffee tables, hall tables, bedsides, and bathrooms.

Classic contemporary flowers and plants

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