21 Modern Apartment Design Ideas

by | Last updated Jan 16, 2021 | Apartment Renovations, Interior Design

Modern Apartment Design requires thoughtful planning, for a cohesive and unique design. There are many individual options to consider but they should all be considered together. The most important thing about designing your apartment is to remember it’s your apartment you can do whatever you want.


White Interiors

An all white apartment has a real minimalist modern feel. White is clean and simple. You do not have to only restrict yourself to white, for an apartment that feels white, you can use off white or light greys. All white is not for everyone as with all the points in this post it comes down to personal taste.

If you are interested I have another post on White Apartment Design Ideas.

White Modern Apartment Design

Modern White Apartment Design in a All White Modern Tribeca Loft that we renovated with our client Bahar Kural Development.



Texture and even industrial materials are quite modern. I have always been a big fan of concrete and other industrial elements in architecture. You can use all sorts of unique finishes and materials to bring a unique and modern look to your home.

The picture below is of a concrete finish wall in an apartment we renovated. there are orange stained doors, a wall mounted wood cabinet, and a black tube steel table. The apartment is filled with texture and industrial materials, giving it an incredibly modern feel.

We have another post just discussing this apartment if you want to read more about this Manhattan Concrete Apartment Design.

Modern Apartment Design

Modern Apartment Design


Open Plan

Open plan means having open spaces with the fewest amount of walls possible. You want to open up your living space and configure the walls and rooms in your apartment to allow for large open spaces if you can.

Modern Open Plan Loft in Tribeca

Open Plan Loft in Tribeca


Modern Open Kitchen

At this point open kitchens are pretty much standard for a modern apartment design. The kitchen is the single most expensive room in an apartment and people are often happy to spend the money on high end appliances, cabinets, and countertops to make a good looking kitchen that will be part of the overall apartment design.

Modern Open Kitchen Design

Modern Open Kitchen Design in a Tribeca Loft


Kitchen Island Seating

If you have an open kitchen then you will probably want to have a kitchen island. If you have a kitchen island you will probably want to have stools at the island for seating.

We have another post if you are interested in reading 21 Modern Kitchen Design Ideas.

Kitchen Island Seating for Modern Apartment Design

Kitchen Island Seating in a dark open kitchen. This is in an apartment we gut renovated and combined two apartments in Brooklyn Heights.


Accent Wall

Adding an accent wall can be a fun option for a modern apartment, but this is not for everyone.

The picture below is of a home office in a Chelsea Loft we renovated. The loft has all white walls except for the red accent wall in the home office. The red pops out through the black metal and glass doors.

You can see another post we wrote on Adding a Home Office.

Red Accent Wall

Red Accent Wall in a Chelsea Loft Home Office


Wall Niches

In the hallway below there are a series of recessed wall niches that the client uses to put plants and even a recessed bench. These niches create a relief from this all white hallway and provide a space to put more lively elements.

Modern Wall Niche Ideas

Modern Wall Niche Ideas


White On White Kitchen

A very simple clean idea for a modern apartment design is a white on white kitchen. All white kitchens are not for everyone. Some people love an all white kitchen with white cabinets, white countertop, and white backsplash. Just do not put white appliances unless it is with matching panel ready doors or high end brands. In my opinion white appliances tend to look cheap and tacky unless they are some of the more luxurious appliance brands that have a better design.

White on White Kitchen

White on White Kitchen Design in an Upper Manhattan apartment we renovated.


Dark or Black Materials

Dark finishes and black materials can be quite modern. Not everyone like bright and white.

This picture shows a shiny black subway tile backsplash in a dark wood kitchen.

Black Subway Tile Backsplash

Black Subway Tile Backsplash


Stone Slabs 

Using stone slabs is a more modern and sleek look than using tiles. Slabs means large pieces from a slab yard as opposed to small tiles. slabs have to be a thicker material than a typical tile. Of course purchasing and installing slabs is more expensive than tile.

The fireplace below has a white marble slab that is one piece. This clearly looks more modern that if it were several square tiles.

Marble Slab Fireplace

Marble Slab Fireplace


Porcelain Tiles

Porcelain tiles come in may colors and textures. they are made to replicate natural materials and come in solid colors.

This picture is of a weathered look grey porcelain bathroom. We have another post on Grey Bathroom Designs if you are interested.

Porcelain Tile Bathroom

Porcelain Tile Bathroom


Translucent Sliding Doors

Light is a critical element to architecture. In a modern apartment you want to think about the lighting design and the natural light. In this loft apartment below we used sliding translucent doors at the mezzanine level of the loft. The translucent doors allow light to pass through and provide privacy when closed but can be open as needed for more light, air, or just openness.




Modern Cabinets

This kitchen has simple modern cabinets and panel ready appliances. The walls around the kitchen are painted to match so that it all blends in as one cohesive wall.

NYC Modern Kitchen

NYC Modern Kitchen Lower Manhattan / Financial District


Put It On Display

If you have nice items and you keep you things neat and organized then put them on display.

In the picture below you can see a modern closet with an open shoe cubby. the owner keeps her shoes and handbags very neat, therefor why have doors to cover them up. Leave them open and on display in fact this closet doesn’t even have a door.

Modern Closet Design

Modern Closet Design in a West Village apartment.


Modern Fixtures

This is a Kohler Karbon wall mounted faucet. Fun fact this is the most expensive kitchen faucet Kohler makes. It is an articulating faucet which means it has hinges and you can adjust it and move it around. I think it is one of the coolest looking faucets but it is a bit too industrial for some people. This all comes down to personal taste. Always design your home to make you happy, its your home.

Modern Kitchen Faucet Design

Modern Kitchen Faucet Design


Coordinate Your Fixtures 

This may seam obvious but you need to think about the design as one cohesive design. You need to coordinate all your fixtures and accessories so that they go together and match. The entire apartment needs to work together. As my professor and architect Fabian Llonch said “I like fish, I like soup, so I make a fish soup. But I also like bananas. You can’t put bananas in a fish soup”.

Matching Plumbing fixtures

Matching Plumbing fixtures


Modern Freestanding Tub

If you have the space for a freestanding tub in your bathroom then this could be a great addition to a bathroom in a modern apartment. Freestanding tubs have a luxurious feel and should be a good option for any high end apartment.

Sculptural Freestanding Bathtub

Sculptural Freestanding Bathtub in a Modern Tribeca Loft


Tall Modern Interior Doors 

Tall doors of 8′-0″ or more in height provide a modern feel and are generally more impressive than a typical 6′-8″ or 7′-0″ door. If you have the ceiling height make the doors tall. 8′-0″ or 9′-0″ doors look great. You can even go taller than that if you want.

Tall Modern Interior Doors

Tall Modern Interior Doors in a concrete hallway in an apartment we renovated (Financial District NYC) – See More on this Unique and Modern Apartment Design.


Modern Hardware 

Hardware is an important part of design. The hardware really affect the look, feel, and function of the space.

Industrial door hardware

Industrial door hardware


Smart Home Devices

Smart Thermostats

There are lots of smart home products you can look into and I will not go over all of them. But the most popular smart home product that my clients want is the nest learning thermostat.

I have another post discussing potential energy savings with a learning thermostat.

Nest Learning Thermostat

Nest Learning Thermostat


Wall Mounted Smart Toilet

Wall mounted toilets are a modern idea to consider for your bathroom. There are also smart toilets with remote controls and multiple features. The toilets can have built in bidets and all sorts of options.

the picture below is of a wall mounted smart toilet in a concrete bathroom. The controls for the toilet are sitting on the window sill.

Smart wall mounted toilet

Smart wall mounted toilet in a concrete bathroom (Lower Manhattan Apartment we renovated)


Make It You Own, Make It Your Home 

You need to make your apartment your own and make it your home. Even if it means putting a four foot plastic chipmunk in the living room. That’s me in the photo below this is in an apartment we renovated in Chelsea.

Quirky Home Decor

Quirky Home Decor in a Chelsea Apartment NYC.


Modern Apartment Designs

As an architect, I study design and construction, but these are complicated and quite involved issues. Every project is different and must be assessed on its own unique characteristics. This post does not assume to cover every possible issue or condition, but provide a general overview of the topic.


Thank you for reading our blog post on our Modern Apartment Designs in NYC

I hope this was helpful. Please leave questions and comments below. If you would like to speak with an architect, you can contact us directly.


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Jorge Fontan
Jorge Fontan

This post was written by Jorge Fontan AIA a Registered Architect and owner of New York City architecture firm Fontan Architecture. Jorge Fontan has earned 3 degrees in the study of architecture including two degrees from the City University of New York and a Masters Degree in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University. Jorge has a background in construction and has been practicing architecture for 20 years where he has designed renovations and new developments of various building types.