Mark Roemer Image of a modern house

What Makes A House “Modern”?

I, Mark Roemer Oakland, believe that it is not difficult to confuse the different house styles and their characteristics if you don’t have the proper knowledge. The term ‘modern’ simply refers to what is popular in the current period. So, if you want to create a house with a modern design, it is important to understand what sets a modern house style apart from all the other forms of house styles and decor.

The Details

Now, let us look at the characteristics and features of a modern house:

1. The preference for natural light – Large glass windows of various shapes and sizes are one of the most iconic characteristics of modern homes. These let in plenty of natural light inside your house and shift the focus from busy artwork and wallpapers inside your house to the natural, scenic beauty outside your home.

The abundance of natural sunlight helps to create a happy mood for the family and guests in a modern home too as long as they are not covered by curtains or blinds. Sometimes, the large windows may be wrapped in an accent flashing or trim to create a dramatic effect and highlight the open home design.

2. Clean and geometric shapes – Modern homes feature a minimalistic and simplistic design that highlights clean lines and geometric shapes. It is a stark contrast compared to the busy mid-century home designs that featured too many elements such as ornate columns, arches, window stutters, or excessive ornamentation.

Instead of opulence, modern home designs focus on asymmetrical and simple shapes that include both vertical and horizontal elements. The simple geometric shapes and clean lines offer a balance to constant distraction and bombardment in the modern world as a result of technology.

3. Natural materials – One of the key aesthetic appeals of modern home design arises from the incorporation of natural materials in both the interior and exterior features. The blending of natural materials such as stone, wood, and exposed concrete with modern shapes and lines offers an exciting mix of design elements that delicately balance the past and future.

Incorporating wooden elements such as wall wooden beams, wood flooring, fireplace mantels, and wall panels also serve to add depth, texture, and character.

4. Open floor plan – An open floor design is one of the most recognizable characteristics of a modern home interior design. The simplicity of an open floor design helps to eliminate personal boundaries since there are no walls between the common rooms and helps to foster a mood of openness.

It also lets in more natural light which helps to make modern homes feel larger and brighter, during both day and night (with artificial lighting). It is an ideal design for families since it allows every household member to stay immersed in their own work while not feeling isolated.

5. Neutral color palette – Keeping with the theme of natural materials and simple textures, modern homes feature a neutral color palette which helps to match the natural architectural elements of the modern design without overwhelming or overcrowding them.

The untreated colors of stone or concrete along with earthy natural tones such as a mixture of beiges, whites, grays, and tans are a part of a monochrome color palette and help to create a serene and calming vibe. The idea is not to use loud colors to make the house more attractive but instead to use simple and neutral color tones to create a harmonious and visually appealing look.

6. Smart home technology and eco-friendly features – The inclusion of smart home technology and eco-friendly features is not limited to modern home designs but is definitely the most common since the concept of green living and energy efficiency has emerged in recent years.

Thus, it is common to notice smart, eco-friendly, and energy-efficient home improvements, appliances, and upgrades in modern homes that offer convenience, security, and comfort. These include smart thermostats, LED light bulbs, sensor light switches, and eco-friendly bathroom upgrades such as low-flow shower heads, toilets, faucets, and more. In the kitchen, modern homes can feature energy-efficient refrigerators and dishwashers.

7. Aesthetic staircase design – Modern home style features staircase designs that offer a valuable mix of functionality with streamlined aesthetics. For instance, modern homes often feature glass or wooden staircases with floating treads attached to the wall with a stainless-steel railing. The staircases are generally in a U-shape or spiral shape to save space.

8. Layered lighting options – The lighting technology has improved a lot over the years, and it is fully utilized in modern home designs in the form of layered lighting solutions. For instance, recessed or built-in lights are a common element in the entryway, living room, kitchen, or bedroom of a modern home.

Sleek and functional task lighting is present in workspaces such as the kitchen, home office, or even the grooming or make-up areas in the bathroom. The ambiance lighting helps to set the mood of the room while the accent light helps to focus on specific areas such as contemporary artworks or gallery walls.

9. Inset fireplaces – Inset fireplaces are a popular and practical option for modern homes since they seamlessly integrate into the living room walls to offer a sleek look. Yet, they also provide much-needed heat during the colder months of the year and help to create the perfect ambiance when you want to relax and feel cozy on your own or with your friends and family members.

The unique trends include ribbon fireplaces, double-glass fireplaces, or wood fireplaces which can help you customize the decor of the living room.


I, Mark Roemer Oakland, suggest you share your design ideas and doubts with the design team and ask for their advice. They are professionals who can fulfill your vision while staying authentic to the type of home design you want. However, you should not be afraid of trying new suggestions that can prove to be groundbreaking in a few years or shy away from trying different options to create a unique style for your home.