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Designing a contemporary living space has its challenges; striking the balance between cool modernity and traditional warmth often rests upon certain standout characteristics. This could be a piece of modern art above a heritage mantel or stove, for example — a design contrast that works. 

At Chesneys, our range of stoves is designed to suit any living space; living room or kitchen. As such, we wanted to outline an interior design approach that will help you achieve a contemporary aesthetic, and why a multi-fuel stove might be worth your attention.

What does a contemporary interior look like?

Designing a contemporary living space is all about taking designs and features from past and present which resonate with you, then bringing them together in a way that fits the zeitgeist. 

We can see this at play in the Danish lifestyle concept of hygge, for instance. In a hyggelist home, you’ll tend to find features evoking disparate points in time — from patterned blankets and wood-burning stoves to vinyl record collections and calming contemporary artworks. Yet, each can work together to create a sense of comfort and cosiness. 

Hygge is a wonderful concept that many people are adopting, as well as its Swedish counterpart lagom, but there’s no need for your living space to stick to a single design philosophy. An equally valid approach is pick up on a variety of trends that catch your eye. We’re loving terrazzo tiling, statement ceilings and industrial materials, for example. Mixing trends together to suit your style and interests is what contemporary design is all about. 

Whichever approach you take, we’d recommend setting up a Pinterest board to collect inspiring images. Alternatively, you can find more information on our take on hygge and lagom right here — they both suit wood burning stoves fantastically well. 

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Classic vs. contemporary

It’s tempting to think of classic and contemporary as opposites, but as the emergence of hygge and lagom shows, fresh design trends can celebrate rustic styles every bit as much as they embrace the new. 

In our view, interweaving the past with the present is vital to a mature, liveable, contemporary interior design. We’ve placed this idea at the heart of our work as stove manufacturers, combining design features that have graced stoves for decades with the clean, restrained interior design principles that have emerged in the last century. 

Some interiors demand a greater emphasis on contemporary or classic design than others, and we strive to reflect this in the diverse array of styles that make up our range of multi-fuel stoves, from the strikingly contemporary Shoreditch series and Milan series, to the mid-century modern infused Alpine 6 series and the more traditional designs of the Shipton and Belgravia series. 

You may be thinking, why multi-fuel? Why not pair contemporary design with gas stoves? Or wood burning? Well, they represent a combination of functions: you can burn other approved materials other than just dry, seasoned wood. This diverse usage plays into our interpretation of contemporary design — the mixing of trends, the old and the new, the whatever-it-is-you-want-it-to-be. 

A stove, of course, is just one feature if your living space — but as a focal point with a potentially multi-generational lifespan, it’s an especially important one to get right. 

Great stoves radiate character as well as heat, and you should think carefully about what you’d like yours to communicate before adding it to your interior. One stove may evoke the industrial; another the rustic. Some will complement modern fittings better than others, especially those with clean lines and neutral colors. The right stove will tie together and elevate the furnishings and fixtures around it; the wrong one could stick out like a sore thumb.

How stoves can play into a contemporary setting

The addition of a stove will make ripples throughout your home, both within the hearth and beyond it. Most obviously, the brushes, pans and pokers used in the stoves operation should echo its design characteristics — from the ornate to the innately practical. 

If you’ve got a stove, you’ll also need a fuel store, which represents a great opportunity to enrich the space with the earthy textures and rustic charm of your chosen fuel. If you’re using logs, we’d advise storing yours in a dry, well-ventilated and prominent place, such as an open front porch. 

A rarely remarked-upon effect of stoves is their potential to help declutter a living space. For fire safety reasons, a certain distance must be maintained between the stove and any soft furnishings. This creates a stronger impulse to avoid over-decorating than good taste alone.

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Stoves affect their setting in lots of practical ways, but we believe their greater importance is in setting the tone for the rest of your design choices to follow. You can’t just swap a stove as you might change the curtains or wallpaper, which means your choice in this matter will affect your living space in profound and lasting ways. With this in mind, here’s our recommended approach to designing your contemporary space: 

  • Define your design philosophy. Where does your taste lie on the spectrum between ornate traditionalism and modern minimalism? Are you thinking of mixing the two together?
  • Find the stove to match. This is where we come in, just give us a call.
  • Build a fire-safe space and fuel storage into your interior design. These may be practicalities, but they also happen to be interior-enhancing.
  • Choose your soft furnishing and décor. Use your stove’s simple expression of your design philosophy as your guide. Try to work in contemporary design trends that resonate with yourself and the space.

This is by no means a start-to-finish guide in designing your living space, but in our experience, it’s a strategy that works. Follow this approach, and you’ll find the blanks are easily filled with your personal taste. To find out how we can help give your home the perfect mix of warmth and contemporary edge, check out our range of multi-fuel stoves here. Alternatively, you can visit your nearest stockist.  

For more design inspiration like this and stove selection tips, just head to our dedicated blog.