Contemporary Wall Art Decor Ideas

Wall art is a powerful storyteller in interior design. It introduces themes, shapes, colours, and textures that contribute to the overall mood of a space. Depending upon which piece you choose, you can create a more calming or lively atmosphere and alter how your room is experienced.

If you'd like to create a fresh, contemporary feel in your home, it's best to select pieces that reflect this style. In this post, we'll look at some contemporary wall art décor ideas to help you get inspired for your interior design project.

contemporary abstract wall art decor gold

What makes art "contemporary"?

Contemporary art refers to artwork created in the present day. It is not limited to a particular style or medium, and can vary significantly in terms of subject matter, aesthetics, and materials used. Think of contemporary art as a dynamic and constantly evolving form of art that reflects the current world. It may be purely aesthetic or explore cultural or political concepts.

Contemporary art intended for the home often mirrors design elements seen in contemporary decor, with minimal details and simple silhouettes. Although contemporary art varies widely from artist to artist, there are a few trends that underpin this style:

  • Simplistic shapes and forms: Contemporary artwork commonly showcases uncomplicated, sleek forms and geometric shapes such as squares and circles or organic shapes that take inspiration from natural materials like marble.
  • Rhythm and balance: Movement plays a significant role in this art style, often featuring rhythmic patterns with layering or repetition that guide the viewer's eye across the piece.
  • Contemporary colour palettes: Colours in present-day art often reflect décor trends, with popular choices being natural, earthy tones like sandstone, smoke grey, and charcoal, as well as metallics. Palettes in this style are minimal, typically featuring 2-3 mixed distinct colours.
  • Culturally-relevant ideas: Art often mirrors the prevalent issues and ideas of the period in which it was produced, and contemporary art is no exception. For example, contemporary artwork may reflect environmental and technological concerns driven by climate change, pollution, or the use of AI. 

  • Mixed materials:  Contemporary artwork tends to use a blend of materials. For example, an artist might create textured paint using sand for a canvas piece or add gold leaf to create metallic details.
contemporary abstract artwork in blue and grey

Abstract Artwork

While traditional landscape and figurative paintings resemble real-world visuals, abstract artwork is more interpretive. Rather than explicitly demonstrating the narrative or meaning, the artist uses shapes, colours, patterns, lines, materials, and textures to create an overall atmosphere for the viewer to take their own meaning from. 

Abstract art is typically deliberate and minimal. A piece in this style might use bold, geometric shapes and patterns to create a sleek and simple design. Alternatively, it could highlight motion; the canvas below, for example, showcases an abstract swirling pattern with textured and blended edges for a fluid, spiralling effect.

One of the reasons why abstract art tends to be favoured in contemporary décor is due to its simplicity. It complements the sleek, minimal shapes found in today's décor styles. Furniture pieces like sofas, chairs, tables, and cabinets usually have little ornamentation and details and are instead comprised of smooth, simplistic lines.

abstract artwork contemporary


Depending on the piece you choose, abstract artwork can make a dramatic statement or subtly harmonise with the rest of your décor. You can coordinate or contrast the piece with your current colour scheme, furniture shapes, and materials to achieve the effect you'd like to create. 

Contemporary Nature Art

Contemporary nature artwork aims to depict landscape images or natural elements such as flowers and feathers in an expressive, loose way. With uncomplicated shapes and lines, simplified silhouettes, striking colours, and unusual textures, these pieces create simple yet impactful scenes. This art style can easily add visual interest to a space without overwhelming the other decor pieces in your room. 

contemporary wall art decor inspired by nature - abstract mountain scene split into three canvases

Mirrors as Art

If you would like an art piece that also has a functional use, consider looking for an art mirror. Mirrors that have been shaped in interesting and unique ways can be just as beautiful as art pieces, while bringing in more light and a sense of space into your room. You could opt for a square, geometric design to pair with sleek, angular furniture pieces. For rooms furnished with more curved shapes, a set of circular mirrors would work best to compliment those soft sloping silhouettes. 

contemporary wall art long mirror
Contemporary wall art mirror

    Where to hang contemporary artwork in a room

    Generally, your art should hang with the centre of the piece at eye level so the eye naturally falls on it. You can raise this position slightly if your furniture already occupies this space. Aim to leave breathing room between the top of your furniture and the bottom of your artwork to avoid it feeling cramped.

    Like using a rug to make a separate "zone" within a room, a carefully placed piece of artwork can help a space feel more cosy and segmented from the rest of the room. 

    Creating mood with artwork

    If you have a space where you'd like to encourage relaxation, the artwork you choose to display should reflect this. To help create a calming space, choose pieces with soothing colours like blue, green, lilac, pink, grey, white, and silver. Similarly, the theme of your artwork can also contribute to mood; choose pieces inspired by nature or featuring soft, curved abstract shapes that are open to interpretation.

    For busy areas with lots of footfall, such as a hallway or porch, or areas you'd like to liven up for hosting, like dining rooms, you'll need to look for more vibrant and lively pieces. Dynamic artworks with lots of movement, such as geometric shapes in a repeated pattern or pieces that "pop" out from a centre point, such as the mirror below, would be suited to this purpose. 

    Contemporary mirror adds liveliness to a seating area

    How to choose the right size artwork

     A piece that is too small for a wall can look lost against the wall, while one that is too big can overwhelm a room and demand your full attention. Your wall art should take up around 60% of the wall space in the area you'd like to decorate.  Your wall art should be a proportionate size relative to the decor around it. Use your furniture, ceilings, and other decor items as a benchmark for the size of your artwork.