15 Contemporary House Designs with Before & Afters

Contemporary design is commonly confused with modern, and although the waters between these styles are often muddied, the two aren’t one and the same. Contemporary exterior designs refer to styles that are “of the moment,” emphasizing current trends. These homes typically have an asymmetrical or otherwise irregular geometrical layout and use mixed materials on the exterior. Most often, on a contemporary house, you will see natural materials like wood, concrete, and metal used with a sleek approach. 

Interestingly enough, contemporary houses are actually one of the most and one of the least popular architectural styles in the United States. You can check out this study about house styles to learn more!

If you’re looking to transform your home with a contemporary style, brick&batten is here to help you visualize its potential. Our designers will create a digital rendering of your home that includes everything from exterior light fixture recommendations to a beautiful front door option. Learn more about our virtual design services.

before and after of a light colored contemporary home with dark accents

#1 // Combine light and dark elements

This contemporary house celebrates contrast in subtle yet intentional ways. While the majority of the exterior is light, our designers added in pops of charcoal to the upper level, creating depth. There is also plenty of contrast with the accents: a black front door and black exterior light fixtures sit alongside white planters and white seat cushions. The garage doors highlight this dark-and-light contrast.

before and after of a contemporary home with concrete hung panels and wood accents

#2 // A sleek aesthetic

The architecture of this home already had striking lines, which made for an easy transition to a more contemporary house design. The concrete walkway steps and concrete hung panels used at the center of the home are an excellent way to draw the eye. Mimicking the concrete and wood accents across the face of the home makes for a fluid, sleek design.

before and after of a contemporary home with grayish blue siding

#3 // Play around with multiple design elements

While modern design often uses a minimalistic approach, contemporary homes can offer a little more room to have fun with the design. This home’s exterior was pretty one-note; however, our designers were able to accentuate its unique structure. Incorporating both vertical and horizontal siding, stone, and wood to the exterior gives the curb appeal some dynamism. The home’s entrance was also transformed thanks to an added walkway and a portico above the front door. But our designers didn’t stop there. From the landscaping and planters to the lighting, it’s the attention to detail that makes this design so compelling.

rendering of a contemporary home with black siding, wood panels, and stone

#4 // Starting from scratch

If you want a contemporary house for your new build, our designers can work from the ground up to help you land on the exterior design you’re after. The elevation for this home had all of the unique geometry, and our designers filled in the blanks to create a bold, eye-catching photorealistic rendering.

before and after of a contemporary home with a dark exterior and tan roof

#5 // It’s all in the accents

This home has such beautiful lines that it was practically begging to receive a contemporary overhaul. Transitioning to a dark exterior against the tan roof brought some much needed contrast. But where this design really exudes strength is in the smaller details. Our designers opted for glass-paneled garage doors with can lights above, mounted exterior lights, and both black and white planters. Plus, we suggested pavers in place of the traditional concrete walkway and driveway. 

before and after of a contemporary home with a black and white exterior with wood accents

#6 // Mix and match textures

When it comes to contemporary designs, there’s pretty much no exterior texture that’s off limits. Our designers wanted to highlight how geometrically unique this home’s architecture is, so they used different colors and materials to create distinct visual sections. 

#7 // Lighten things up

You don’t have to go with a stark paint color to have a bold contemporary house. Our designers lightened this home up with light gray stone, wood panels, and some white paint on a contemporary cladding option. The different materials make for a more dynamic layout, and the lighter palette makes every detail stand out.

before and after of a contemporary home with a deep blueish charcoal exterior and natural elements for accents

#8 // Contemporary with a rustic flare

Rustic doesn’t have to be exclusive to any particular design style. Our designers were able to harness a trendy, rustic vibe for this contemporary house with wood accents, a Corten steel planter, and blueish, almost-black charcoal siding — Benjamin Moore’s Soot

before and after of a contemporary home with a hardscape

#9 // Emphasize the hardscape

For this contemporary house, our designers revamped the exterior with a gray and black palette and wood accents. But the real star of the show is the hardscape. Our designers amplified the staggered layout, bringing in seating and accents to keep each section functional and visually appealing.

before and after of a contemporary home with a neutral palette

#10 // Embrace natural materials

Contemporary design highlights neutral colors and natural elements. In this design, the neutral shade of the siding stands out against the wood paneling, black trim, and black roof. Our designers created another appealing layer to the façade with the limewash on the stone.

before and after of a contemporary home with neutral paint and wood accents

#11 // Contemporary split-level

The split-level structure is perfect if you want a contemporary house. This home’s layout was already multi-dimensional; our designers took it to the next level with updated materials. Sherwin Williams’ Repose Gray on the stucco combined with the wood and metal accents brings in contrast, elevating this home’s curb appeal.

before and after of a contemporary home with an industrial vibe

#12 // Go industrial 

This home had a minimalistic, modern design with a monochromatic palette. Our designers transformed it to a contemporary house with a wow factor by embracing natural materials and augmenting the outdoor space using a creative awning structure. The concrete hung panels, glass, metal, and wood cultivate an industrial aesthetic that makes for a truly unique design.

before and after of a contemporary home with large windows and a hardscape

#13 // Freshen things up

This home was already architecturally interesting, with its distinctive roofline and multi-story windows. Overhauling the exterior with gray stone, wood and dark accents, and large vertical white panels creates a more crisp and sleek look. Plus, our designers maximized the outdoor space, creating functional seating areas for relaxing and entertaining guests.

before and after of a black and white contemporary home

#14 // Colorblocking 

The great thing about having a contemporary house is that it doesn’t have to be strictly confined. While some designs focus on neutral shades, others, like this one, lean into the sharp contrast between black and white — here, using a colorblocking effect. It’s a drastic change from the previously monochromatic palette and makes for bold curb appeal.

before and after of a small, black and neutral contemporary home with wood accents

# 15 // Emphasize irregular shapes

Our designers created striking geometry for this otherwise horizontal home. Because this house had only one level, with a straight-across layout, our designers chose to use a sharp, triangular peak at the midpoint, drawing the eye to the entry. Plus, this peak has a functional benefit as part of a newly expanded and raised covered porch.  

rustic contemporary home

Thinking about a contemporary style for your exterior?

If you’re still figuring out what design style best fits you, don’t worry. We’re here to help you find your perfect match. And if you’re leaning toward something more contemporary, we can explore ideas with you until you’ve landed on a design you love.

Whether you’re working on a new build or you want to transform your current home, we’re here to help. Our expert team of designers can help you visualize your dream home’s exterior before you settle on any costly changes. Get started today.