Contemporary vs Modern Design in Homes: What’s the Difference?
Did you know that the average person spends just over $8,000 on furniture alone when it comes time to decorate their house?
When you are designing your home space, it’s a big investment. Not only can it cost a pretty penny, but it can be worth every cent if you end up successfully creating a space that you love and feel at home in.
Deciding how you want to decorate your house, though, can be an impossible question to answer. Flipping through Pinterest or Instagram, you might find yourself drawn to wildly different interior design styles.
Two very popular design styles are often misunderstood. For this reason, let’s dive into the similarities and differences of contemporary vs modern design so you can pick the perfect style for your home base.
What Is Modern Home Design?
While contemporary and modern are used as synonyms in everyday language, the two terms have completely different meanings in the world of design.
Modern interior design is a design style that refers to a specific time period of design between about 1900 and 1950. Informed by German Bauhaus design as well as Scandinavian design, modern design focuses on function rather than form. Simple and clean, this is a design style that uses natural materials, streamlined silhouettes, and earthy palettes.
Out of modern design emerged midcentury modern. This design style was popular during the 1950s in the 1960s. While it is similar to modern design, it uniquely reflects the style and construction of the postwar period until about 1969.
The style emerged when Bauhaus designers and architects migrated to the United States after the second world war. Still focusing on function over form, it also incorporates some dynamic decorative accents and bright, bold colors.
Mid-century modern is essentially a type of modern design. In modern design in general, you tend to find earthy elements and wooden features. By incorporating natural materials, this style of design manages to stay away from feeling clinical or stuffy.
In modern design, the decorative pieces tend to also be functional in one way or another.
In the 1970s and 1980s, postmodernism emerged in some ways in reaction to modernism. Prioritizing form over function, this style whimsically and a bit ironically broke all of the traditional rules of design. Laughing in the face of the practical, postmodernism incorporated ideas that were the exact opposite of what defined the modernism of the early and mid 20th century.
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What Is Contemporary Home Design?
The contemporary style, on the other hand, doesn’t refer to a specific time period. Instead, it is the term that is used to reflect what the interior design ideas and trends of the day are. For this reason, contemporary design is forever evolving, as what is popular changes over the years.
This term is used to refer to a range of styles that were developed in the second half of the 20th century. Rather than having stark lines that are commonly found in modernism, you are much more likely to find rounded and softened lines in the contemporary style.
As opposed to modern design’s strict belief in focusing on form, you will likely find more decorative pieces that are purely aesthetic in a contemporary home than a modern home. You’ll also find that contemporary designs tend to have curvier lines than modern designs.
The color scheme of contemporary design tends to be more neutral than modern design. It tends to stick with grey, white, and black as the base tones. In modern design, on the other hand, you’re more likely to find greens, browns, rust, and turquoise.
Contemporary home design actually ends up borrowing many elements from other styles of design. You might find hints of art-deco, futurism, modernism, or other design theories and philosophies in contemporary homes.
At the end of the day, this style is more fluid than modern design. Ever evolving, there is not such a strict formula for contemporary design as there is for modern design.
Contemporary Vs Modern Design: How Are They Similar?
There are a number of similarities that can be found between these two different styles of design. Not only are their names similar, but they have similar elements as well.
Both contemporary and modern design tend to prefer spaces that are uncluttered and simple. They also favor clean lines, smooth lines, and a bit of artistic freedom.
On top of that, they both tend to adopt an open floor plan concept. This helps to create a feeling of spaciousness. This creates a sense of comfort and airiness.
Additionally, both styles tend to stay away from heavy elements or particularly ornate designs. While modern design is rather fixed in this outlook, though, contemporary design has more freedom to bend the rules here as the trends and preferences of the times change.
The furniture in both of these styles tends to feature slim bases and bare, expose legs. They also both tend to utilize exposed wood and reflective surfaces.
Contemporary or Modern Interior Design: Which Is For You?
Now that you understand the difference between contemporary and modern design, you are well equipped to decide whether one of these design styles is right for your home. Remember, there’s no right or wrong answer here. It’s all about what you want, what brings you joy, and what makes a house a home for you and your family!
Did you find this article comparing contemporary vs modern design interesting? If so, be sure to check out the rest of our blog for everything you’ll ever need to know about interior design trends!