6 Reasons You Need a Touch of Modern in Your Home

Why you need a touch of modern in your home

Why you need a touch of modern in your home

If you’ve flipped through our last few catalogs, you’ve probably noticed that we’ve been quietly slipping more and more modern furniture pieces into our collections. The Ballard Designs aesthetic has always been about ‘the mix.’ We’re empowered (and we hope we’re empowering you too) to blend all styles of furniture, art, and accessories together. It’s that beautifully unique combination of things that helps you express your unique personality in your home, which is the goal. For this reason, we’ve been wanting to bring more contemporary accents into our rooms, like our Felicity Acrylic tables and more clean lined furniture, like our Dakota Sofa.

Today, we’re making a case for why you should have a few modern accents in your home!

Chevelle pendants in gray bedroom from Ballard Designs

1. That Unexpected Element

There are only a few decorating rules that we live by (after all, we love breaking most of those same old decorating ‘rules’) and that one of those is to incorporate something a little unexpected. Usually it’s that fun, funky piece that ties everything together and makes your house feel like your home. Our Chevelle Pendants are that unexpected thing in this bedroom. Their geometric shapes are modern and fun, and their mercury glass finish is girly and romantic. Without these two modern light fixtures, this room wouldn’t feel quite so special, and that’s why they’re so important!

Modern art in a room

2. Bring Your Home into the Future

While we love ourselves some vintage-inspired pieces, like this bamboo bar cart which has that fabulous 60s feel, if everything in your home is from the past, your home starts to feel a bit stale. Mix in something more recent, like a piece of bold art, to remind yourself that indeed you are in the 21st century!

Living room with Ballard Designs furniture

3. It Keeps Things Quiet

Modern furniture tends to be much more streamlined and sleek, which is why we love using it in rooms we want to create a more peaceful, serene feel. This living room is decidedly uncluttered, so a clear, acrylic side table keeps that clean feel going.

Dark brown living room from Ballard Designs

4. It Balances the Bold

On the opposite end of the spectrum, that quiet and clean look modern pieces often have make them great accents in rooms where you already have a lot going on. In this living room, there’s a lot to look at with two different leopard prints (didn’t we say we like to break rules?), so two acrylic tables offer the function you need in a living room without making the room busier.

Suzanne Kasler's master bedroom from the 2014 Southern Living Idea House

5. Unique Shapes

Suzanne Kasler is the master of blending traditional, antique pieces with more modern, sculptural ones, so we looked back at her 2014 Southern Living Idea House to pick up a few of her tips.

Rooms tend to be a lot of rectangles (bookshelves, framed art, rugs, coffee tables), but for a well-balanced room, you need to balance those angles with a few unexpected shapes. Pieces like barcelona chairs or gravity-defying lamps help to bring in new shapes.

Create a focal point in your room

6. Create a Focal Point

When we’re decorating a space, we often think in terms of focal points. Every space needs at least one, and modern furniture and accessories make great focal points. Take this upstairs landing where you can see a wall in the hallway. Suzanne turned it into a beautiful focal point that leads you through the home. A black iron console table, clean-lined mirror, and round lamp are that dramatic vignette that gives your room impact.

Living room from 2014 Southern Living Idea House

What do you think? Can you swing a few modern pieces in your home?

For more design inspiration, visit our Pinterest Boards, or find more gorgeous rooms in our Photo Gallery

Did you like this post and find it helpful? Rate it below and share your thoughts in the comments.

Caroline McDonald

Caroline lives for pairing together patterns, mixing furniture styles, and oogling over our newest furniture pieces. As you can imagine, her little 1920's craftsman is in a constant state of flux. Here on How to Decorate, it's her goal to help you turn your home into your own little slice of paradise.


  1. Reply

    Chandni Gusain

    September 25, 2018

    Great Blog with usefull furniture Design. Thanks for this Lovely blog..

  2. Reply

    Joy Butler

    August 8, 2018

    Hi Caroline, it’s great that you elaborated on creating a focal point. I had no idea that the combination of enough space, modern furniture, and accessories will give a beautiful home. I will certainly be doing this awesome tip in our house. Thanks a lot!

  3. Reply


    April 16, 2016

    Where can I find that beautiful throw with the shell?

    • Reply

      Caroline @ How to Decorate

      April 18, 2016

      Gere Rivera,
      I’m sorry, I’m not sure which throw you’re speaking of. The one in the first picture is a Moroccan Wedding blanket, but we do not have any information on where you can find one. Best of luck!

  4. Reply


    February 24, 2016

    Where can I found the round woven coffee table shown in section 5. It would be a perfect solution to my long search for a coffee table.

    • Reply

      Caroline @ How to Decorate

      March 1, 2016

      Unfortunately, we do not sell that table, although we do have a similar table, our Bornova Coffee Table.

  5. Reply


    February 15, 2016

    Hello! Where can I find the chartreuse lumbar pillow shown in the photo with acrylic table? I looked online and in the catalog and couldn’t find it. Would like to purchase a few. Same question for the chairs in the last photo.

    Thank you!

    • Reply

      Caroline @ How to Decorate

      February 16, 2016

      Any of our fabrics can be ordered in a pillow. Those are size 12×20 in Queens Velvet Chartreuse. Find the pillow here, then select the Queens Velvet Chartreuse fabric from the fabric swatches on the right hand side.

    • Reply

      Caroline @ How to Decorate

      February 16, 2016

      As for the chairs, those exact chairs are not from Ballard no. These were featured in the Southern Living Idea House. However, our Marion Chair and Cortina Chairs both have a similar profile and look!

  6. Reply


    February 13, 2016

    Are the two chairs in the bottom from Ballard? If so, what is the name of chair. I can’t seem to find it on the website. Thank you. Tonya

    • Reply

      Caroline @ How to Decorate

      February 16, 2016

      Those exact chairs are not from Ballard no. These were featured in the Southern Living Idea House. However, our Marion Chair and Cortina Chairs both have a similar profile and look!

  7. Reply


    February 6, 2016

    I just purchased the set of 3 entomology plaques in bronze and they are way so much better than I anticipated, they are just lovely. Perfect in every way… May even consider ordering another pair for a gift in another color. They can be used indoor/outdoor.

    • Reply

      Caroline @ How to Decorate

      February 8, 2016

      So happy to hear it, Mary! Thanks for your comment!

  8. Reply


    February 5, 2016

    Where is that gorgeous blue base lamp in #6 from? I don’t say it on the Ballard website.

  9. Reply


    February 4, 2016

    I am thinking of buying the Slim Chadwick Armoire to house my TV in my LR. My dilemma is whether to get the Rubbed Black or the Tuscany Brown. The floors are a medium brown hardwood with a slight orange tone. I have an end table that’s a reclaimed solid wood top on a cast iron base and am probably going to buy a coffee table also with a solid wood top and iron base, although they are not ‘matching’. I also have a floor lamp which has touches of black iron also but is mostly clear ‘crystal’. The walls are pale yellow, trim and moldings are white, sofa is white slipcover, bow window will have white plantation shutters. The room has lots of natural light and so far has the clean, airy look I’m hoping to continue. Colors in the room besides the medium brown wood and black iron are grey/blue/navy, and pale yellow. I’ll be adding a third color in accents but haven’t decided yet. I’d say my style is Romantic mixed with Rustic, a mix of feminine and masculine.
    My question is which color armoire should I go with? I like the look of the rubbed black best, but will it be too much black in the room?

    • Reply

      Caroline @ How to Decorate

      February 9, 2016

      Sorry for the delayed response. We get a lot of comments, and we try to respond to all of them, but sometimes it takes time! It sounds like the rubbed black Slim Chadwick would be the best bet. We think it’ll work with the iron bases you mentioned, and since you said the room gets lots of natural light, it won’t feel too heavy. Especially since you prefer the black anyway. Always trust your instinct.
      Best of luck and happy decorating!
      The How to Decorate Team

      • Kim

        February 9, 2016

        Thank you so much Caroline! I love Ballard’s and the blogs!

  10. Reply

    Joyce DeLutis

    January 27, 2016

    Your ‘how to decorate’ guide showcases pretty or handsome, rooms but how many people can actually USE a room with white furniture. ( in every example and in every magazine)…..most of us, unless one changes furniture on a very regular basis, cannot (or will not)…….love the look….but impractical and frustrating to attain “the look” .

    • Reply

      Caroline @ How to Decorate

      February 1, 2016


      We totally understand where you’re coming from. White furniture can be scary! We typically suggest one of two options. First, a slipcovered piece where you are able to launder the slipcover to keep it white. Many of our slipcovers and chairs are slipcovered and allow this option!

      The second idea is to use a Sunbrella Indoor/Outdoor fabric that holds up to stains remarkably well. This fabric is surprisingly soft and also easy to clean with soap and water!

      We hope these ideas help. Of course we understand if this just isn’t the look you want for home!

      Thanks for your comment,
      The How to Decorate Team

    • Reply


      February 26, 2016

      Just use slipcovers. They can be washed! I’ve done it for years.