RARY MOOD The essence of contemporary is strong design and clean linesa philosophy that naturally lends itself to a limited palette of white, black, and neutrals, sometimes with vivid accent colors. As every element of the room is integral to the design, choose shades and finishes for walls and floors that create a gallerylike background for furniture, art, and carefully-chosen accessories. Shades of white, the classic noncolors, often pair with natural wood and metal pieces as well. Consider art when choosing wall colors. White walls are often the choice for contemporary art and photography, but some designers like richly colored oil paintings against warmer sand shades. COLOROPTIONSU Enliven contemporary black and white with a jolt of bold colorbeyond clear red, consider the saturated shades of leaf green, warm gray, cranberry, or coppery brown. ABOVE: With a white beginning, introduce subtle color variations with Berber carpet. Note the mix of textures from the chrome-and-leather chair to the parchment lampshade.Touches of blackthe gallery-type frame and the chest hardwareadd weight to a pale setting. left: Contemporary soothes when the setting is as clean and pristine as this all-white living room, enlivened by the grid of black-framed engravings. The silk pillow fabric alludes to the finish of the metal tea cart used as a coffee table. opposite: No pattern is needed in a contemporary apartment where white and glass walls allow the ever-changing city scene to be the most arresting element.The brick-red-and-black chair and metal footed table, modern furniture classics, appear to be in a gallery setting. RIGHT: With a subtly painted screen as a backdrop, DINING TABLE DESIGN SIMPLE this reading nook looks and feels cozy, not spare.