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Design Explained: Modern Vs Contemporary

Home All Design Explained: Modern Vs Contemporary

How would you describe this look?

Some of you may say modern, others will say contemporary, but which is technically correct? Like many of you, I find it difficult to distinguish between the two design terms, so we’ve put together a quick guide for getting your design lingo the right way round!

Common Features

One of the main reasons why it’s so hard to tell apart what’s ‘modern’ and what’s ‘contemporary’ is that they do share some common features. Clean, straight lines with industrial materials and a neutral palette can be found in both design movements.

Key Features of ‘Modern’ Home Design

‘Modern’ design originated in the 1920’s and sought to transform the more detailed shapes of earlier design periods into simpler, abstract pieces. A key aim of modern design is to highlight simple form and function, meaning streamlined, uncomplicated furniture.

In keeping with the simpler design idea, ‘Modern’ interiors often come with large bare walls, creating the ideal backdrop for showcasing vibrant artwork and accessories. Geometric patterns in textiles, and natural materials such as leather and teak woods, feature heavily in ‘Modern’ design.

Key Features of ‘Contemporary’ Design

Unlike ‘Modern’ design, ‘Contemporary’ design is an ever-changing movement, depending on what’s current. At the moment, ‘Contemporary’ design is interested in reinterpreting more conventional styles, again opting for more linear, cleaner designs.

It is in ‘Contemporary’ design where you are likely to find more minimalist interiors, concentrating on the bar essentials needed for that room. ‘Contemporary’ design often combines calm palettes and sleek finishes with edgier textures and pops of bright accents colours. Polished marble, chrome and gloss surfaces are present in current ‘Contemporary’ homes.

In summary, ‘Modern’ design emanates a retro feel, whereas ‘Contemporary’ design can seem more futuristic in its styling. So, looking again at our original image – is this modern or contemporary? We’ll let you decide.

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