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Contemporary Barcelona Chic: Warm, Sleek, and Modern

After living through the past few weeks of blizzards and cold fronts, it may be hard to believe in spring, but it’s real, it’s coming, and in only another month or so it will be here. Along with the warm weather comes a fresh perspective and and fresh energy, and if you’re looking to put that energy into updating the look of your home or apartment, search no further than the contemporary flair of modern Barcelona, a city known for its history and vibrancy, and a decor known for its use of light, natural materials, and flow of space.

Show Off Your Stone 

Exposed brick and light wood combine for a clean and distinct vibe. (By Gaila González, photo by Vicugo Foto)
Exposed brick and light wood combine for a clean and distinct vibe. (By Egue y Seta, photo by Vicugo Foto)

Barcelona decor is flavored by a number of different cultures and art styles–art deco, cubism, and Bauhaus modernism to name a few. All of these styles are based around structure and shapes, and how those shapes fit together to command the flow of space. Barcelona style is an urban style, and therefore doesn’t require a lot of square footage to be implemented–a small house or studio apartment would certainly do. Natural aspects of a space are important to Barcelona style, such as bare beams or exposed brickwork. But if your space isn’t industrial enough for that, no worries. The effect can easily be mimicked–try shelves (like in the photograph below) or a solid wooden table.

A Chair of a Different Color 

The Iconic Barcelona Chair. (By Fougeron Architecture FAIFA)
The Iconic Barcelona Chair. (By Fougeron Architecture FAIFA)

One of the most iconic pieces of decor from this style is certainly the Barcelona chair, which was designed by a Bauhaus architect and first put on display at the International Exposition of Barcelona in 1929. Distinctive and sleekly modern, it is available in just about every color you could imagine. Although it may not be the sort of chair or couch you’d want to lounge around on, a Barcelona chair definitely would add interest to any bland room. It almost looks like a piece of modern art in its own right.

Think Cool and Bright 

Complement a bright, ultra-modern bathroom with little pops of color. (By Egue y Seta)
Complement a bright, ultra-modern bathroom with little pops of color. (By Egue y Seta)

Another key element to Barcelona style is color, and how color plays with light. Even a small, relatively gloomy space can be woken up with the right combination of tones. This bathroom has been turned into a bright, ultra-modern space with white tile and utilitarian furnishings. The key to modernism is sleek, uninterrupted lines and blocks of color, which this decor style does beautifully. To keep the white from getting too intense, add in little pops of color, like houseplants or hand towels, or really any kind of knick-knack you can think of.

Comfort is Key

A combination of different textures and woods can have a cozy effect. (By Vuong Interior Designs)
A combination of different textures and woods can have a cozy effect. (By Vuong Interior Designs)

It’s important to keep in mind that although you want your decor to look good, your house isn’t a museum. You want it to be comfortable too. All those hard lines and sleek angles, bright colors and bare wood may be hard to imagine actually living in. But Barcelona decor can mix it up–you can add in a combination of different materials, furniture, and little found objects to soften up the space. This room here has an inviting, comfortable-looking couch, along with some naturally-styled wood tables to combat the hard modern edges the style usually evokes.

Inside and Outside

Houseplants add a lush, organic feel to any room. (By Melissa Miranda Interior Design)
Houseplants add a lush, organic feel to any room. (By Melissa Miranda Interior Design)

Don’t forget the greenery! Your home’s connection to the outside world is indispensable for Barcelona style. At first houseplants might seem at odds with modern decor, but adding in a little nature actually helps soften the edges of the room, make it seem more warm and inviting instead of starkly clinical. Plants add decoration without tipping a style toward noisy or gaudy, and they are also typically inexpensive.

The Barcelona style is not one built on a time or place, so much as a feeling. It is warm nights and salty air, breezy streets and colorful drinks. It is urban life distilled into color and motion. With the right decor and command of your space, it can feel like summer all year round.