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Contemporary vs. Modern Design In Redefining Fine Living

22 June, 22

Most people think that contemporary and modern designs are similar, but they have a world of difference. The terms contemporary and modern may be synonyms when discussing many other things, but they are completely different in design styles. However, both design styles play a pivotal role in redefining sustainable living spaces.

Choosing a new interior design style can be a little tasking, especially if you are new to interior designing. For that reason, we have compiled an informative guide about contemporary and modern designs. Specifically, we are going to cover their definition similarities and difference. Let's dive in!

What is Contemporary design?

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As we are looking at contemporary vs. modern design, let's find out what contemporary design is all about. Contemporary basically means occurring or living at present. So when it comes to interior design style, contemporary designs refer to current, modern, and trending things while still paying acclamation to the past. Predominantly, contemporary interior design styles favor simplicity and are defined by their deliberate texture and fine lines. This design style mostly showcases more of your space than other things.

The contemporary style concept is unique, and it borrows different characteristics from other design styles. It mostly borrows some concepts from futuristic design flourishes, and traditional Art-Deco inspired notes and even modern designs. The great bit about this contemporary design style is that it continuously evolves.

The contemporary interior design styles focus mainly on color, space and shape, making them fresh and sleek. To achieve contemporary spaces, here are some tips you could use.

  1. The contemporary design requires mainly black, white and neutral colors.
  2. Contemporary designs use lines, be it horizontal, straight vertical, or even strong visible lines.
  3. Space is another distinctive element the Contemporary design uses.
  4. The furniture you use for this design is usually bold yet very simple. Contemporary furniture does not have curves or any decorations.
  5. For this design, the flooring should be smooth and bare, and you could use vinyl, wood or tiles.
  6. Consider installing indirect or cove lighting with metallic elements on the light fixtures for lighting.
  7. The framed art or sculptures you use for the decoration should be placed at eye level. For example, you could use stone, metal and opaque glass for decoration.
  8. To warm up your room, you could use heavily textured fabrics in plain color for curtains, pillows and rugs.
  9. If you want to use plants and flowers in your contemporary rooms, you should go for large and simple containers.
  10. Remember to keep your dinnerware contemporary. Get those with bold colors, geometric shapes, and interesting styles.


What is Modern Design?

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Modern design refers to an elegant and uncluttered style that started in the late 19th century. This modern interior design style is fundamentally distinguished by clean lines, minimalism, natural light, natural materials, and a monochromatic color palette. With roots in Germany and Scandinavian design and architecture, this design is simple and fuss-free. It refers particularly to a historical aesthetic design movement that took place during the early to mid-twentieth century.

The modern interior design styles have decor and furnishing that focus on earth-friendly and more neutral materials while eradicating excessive detailing. In addition, the modern interior design styles use patternless fabrication set on monochromatic colored rooms. 

The modern style concepts enjoy earthly materials like wood and emphasis clean lines and functionality. If you want to integrate the modern design into your home, consider using the following tips.

  1. Use straight and clean lines in your space. Mostly focuses on using horizontal and vertical rather than curved lines.
  2. Use minimal ornamentation and minimal decor. Focus mainly on decor that prioritizes functionality over fashion.
  3. Leave structural elements as beams or concrete exposed
  4. The modern interior design styles steer clear of bright colors to specialize in monochromatic or neutral palettes. You could use gray, black, white, and pastel tones.
  5. Use reflective surfaces such as chrome, steel and glass natural woods. You could use unpainted wood, leather and natural fiber.
  6. Consider using open floor plans.
  7. Using low and long furniture made with natural materials like metal and unpainted wood or material like those used to make classically mid-century modern Eames chairs can give your space a modern look.


When to Choose Modern Over Contemporary Style concept

As we have mentioned earlier, the modern style focuses on the popular design aspect between the 1900s and 1950s. Therefore, it is ideal for people who love the authenticity of that era. In addition, the modern design will have more functional elements, and it uses warm neutral colors that will not overwhelm your senses. Basically, this design will work best for a person who likes a simple and elegant look.

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The contemporary design style is perfect for people who love to change their designs with current trends such as decor and other ornaments. The contemporary design will use decor and ornaments for fashion and aesthetic appeal. Also, if you enjoy curved lines and stark contrasts, this design will be ideal for you.

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The downside of the contemporary design is that you will need to have a budget set aside for each time you need to change your theme. This means it can be more expensive compared to the modern design style.

Let's break down contemporary vs. modern design interior design trends.

Modern vs. Contemporary Design Differences

Modern and contemporary designs share several similarities, but they are two different stylistic movements. The modern and contemporary design styles use only the most essential elements and are not made to overwhelm the senses. A space with a modern or contemporary style should be kept neat to bring elegance to a room.

One of the major differences between the modern and contemporary design styles is that the modern style primarily references one specific design movement. In contrast, the contemporary style is based more on what's trendy. While comparing side to side, the modern design is much warmer, with more natural elements, and gives a cozier vibe. On the other hand, the contemporary designs are sleeker, exceptionally minimalist, and streamlined.

Modern and contemporary spaces favor simplicity, neutral color and a sense of openness. Natural materials like wood, metal and glass are often used in modern and contemporary rooms. Mostly the modern style used earth-friendly stone, unpainted wood and leather. On the other hand, the contemporary style used natural materials like steel, concrete, and industrial-inspired elements. 

Here are some fundamental looks and components clarifying the contemporary vs. modern design differences.

  1. Contemporary design uses more natural materials like concrete, steel, and other industrial-inspired elements, while the modern design features wooden and more earth-friendly elements.
  2. Modern decor pieces are more functional and usually function, while contemporary decorative pieces focus more on fashion and aesthetic appeal.
  3. The modern design style is filled with natural and warm colors, while contemporary design styles have a bold starkness.
  4. Contemporary furniture is curvier and provides a combination of sophistication and comfort. The modern design styles furniture approval straight and strong lines.
  5. Contemporary designs evolve with time and pick up elements from other designs, which does not apply to modern design styles.


Similarities between Contemporary and Modern Design concepts

It is hard to state which contemporary and modern design concepts are more popular since contemporary interior design styles have borrowed elements from modern design. As a matter of fact, the modern and contemporary interior designs have a couple of similarities. Here are some of the similarities between contemporary vs. modern design.

  1. The booth provides an open space vibe or feel. Both designs will create a feeling of roominess or spaciousness since they adopt the concept of an open floor plan.
  2. They use clean architectural lines with no flash.
  3. Both showcase an elegant and sophisticated look.
  4. Neither of the designs prefers elaborated styles. Instead, they both prefer an uncluttered and simple look.
  5. Both modern and contemporary types of furniture feature exposed legs and slim bases.



Generally, modern and contemporary designs are simple, elegant, and super easy to work with. If you want to achieve a space that looks and feels elegant and will change with time, the condemnatory interior design is ideal for you. On the other hand, the modern design style is perfect if you want a design that refers to an era that has passed but in a classy and sophisticated way.


Frequently Asked Questions About Contemporary and Modern Design Styles

1. Which is more sustainable- modern or contemporary design style?

The more sustainable design style is that of the contemporary theme. Unlike the modern style, the contemporary living space style is more flexible to limited resources. For instance, it is easy for you to incorporate recycled materials into your home designs. Also, the contemporary design style emphasizes optimizing space and any other aspect of a dwelling. This is distinct from modern home design, which focuses on high-end quality instead of efficiency.

2. What is the future of Modern design style?

The modern sty design is still necessary for redefining today's living space. Progressively, it can be used in hybrid setups to introduce efficiency and sustainability.


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