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Lindsey Lanquist is a design expert for , covering the latest home trends and design tips. He has over 6 years of experience in digital media. In addition to serving as a former senior editor at StyleCaster and a staff writer at Self, her work has appeared in Cosmopolitan, Byrdie, Verywell, SheKnows, Nylon and more.
- 1 What Is The Difference Between Modern And Contemporary Art
- 2 Contemporary Interior Design: Everything You Need To Know
- 3 Modern Interior Design: 10 Best Tips For Creating Beautiful Interiors
- 4 Contemporary Design Style And The Essentials To Master It
- 5 The Best Classic Contemporary Furnishings
What Is The Difference Between Modern And Contemporary Art
Many of us use the phrases “modern design” and “contemporary design” interchangeably — but they don’t actually mean the same thing. Modern design refers to a specific design movement, the Modernism movement, which dates back to the late 1800s and early 1900s. Contemporary design is a more general term, referring to styles of the present and future.
Contemporary Interior Design: Everything You Need To Know
“Modern design refers to a movement that began in the early 20th century and lasted into the postwar era,” says Alessandra Wood, design historian and VP of Style at Modsy. “Contemporary design, on the other hand, is a term used to describe a new interpretation of the contemporary movement. This style first flourished in the 1980s and 1990s.”
Both styles tend to be fairly minimal, but where modern design is about function and accessibility, contemporary design is freer with its bold colors, chunky shapes and sleek materials. These are just a few of the ways you can tell design styles apart.
The biggest difference between modern and contemporary design? Modern design refers to a specific design movement, while contemporary design is a more general term that describes what’s trending now. But, the styles also look different. While both appreciate minimalism, clean lines and well-defined shapes, contemporary design is much colder and more striking than modern design.
“If you were to compare them side by side, the contemporary design is much sharper and sleeker, super minimalist and has a more streamlined, sterile vibe,” says Curtis. “A modern home will have a much warmer feel, with more layers, more organic elements and a slightly earthier, warmer vibe.”
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Modern design refers to the Modernism movement, which began in the late 1800s. The design movement was incredibly practical: it favored functional furniture, embraced clean lines, and kept unnecessary decoration to a minimum.
Modern design is primarily practical, so design with function in mind. Think about how you like to use your space and what furniture you need. Then stock up on stylish pieces that get the job done.
Modern design was made for the masses, so it favored materials that were budget-friendly and easy to build. “Modern design often uses materials that allowed industrial construction at the time—for example, tubular steel, fiberglass and plywood,” says Wood. Throw in a plywood table and some fiberglass chairs and you’re well on your way to a modern space.
There are some classic modern designs that you can still buy today. “I like to incorporate iconic pieces, like chairs or lamps, into a space to create a moment of drama,” says Wood.
Modern Vs. Contemporary: Can You Spot The Difference?
And Aaron Taber, principal designer at Retro Interiors, agrees. “I like to incorporate classic-style furniture from Knoll and Le Corbusier,” he says.
Taber says he also looks for classic modern pieces, such as credenzas with clean tiled doors, kidney-shaped coffee tables and square-lined sofas. Even if these pieces aren’t from an iconic brand, they’re still recognizably modern.
Known for its clean lines and elegant silhouettes, the modern design is quite minimal. So when in doubt, get rid of it.
“Look and edit pieces,” says Ginger Curtis, owner and principal designer at Urbanology Designs. “Modern style really requires the use of negative space.”
Modern Interior Design: 10 Best Tips For Creating Beautiful Interiors
Keep embellishments to a minimum, and Curtis recommends warming up your space with textured pieces and natural touches.
, its definition is always changing. But right now, we use the term to refer to an updated approach to modern design.
“While contemporary design is constantly changing, it is currently a style that incorporates many smooth, elegant finishes and materials,” says Curtis.
Low furniture – furniture that sits on the ground or hangs directly above – is a favorite among modern designers. So, an easy way to make your space feel modern? Close a sofa with a low slope.
A Guide To The Modern Interior Design Movement: History, Style, And Ch
“I like to incorporate a large, low, square sectional [to add] a living room feel to a space,” says Wood. Look for something that’s chunky and comfortable, but still boasts the clean lines and well-defined shapes you’d expect from modern design.
The modern design goes with all colors, so set the scene with a high-contrast color scheme. Pair a stark black with a pure white and add a pop of color with a bright red or vibrant yellow.
Contemporary design is known for its sleek, industrial materials, so stock up on furniture that looks sturdy yet smooth. Then, match your space with “metallic finishes—especially silver, nickel, and steel,” says Curtis.
Like modern design, modern design is minimal and pared down. So embrace negative space as you decorate. “Go to the bare minimum,” Curtis says. “Think: sleek, new and sparse.” You know your home looks modern and you’re doing your best to stay on trend. You can call your style modern — or call it contemporary. But did you know there is a difference between the two? Despite being synonymous in everyday use, the terms modern and contemporary have distinct meanings in home design. In this post, we break down the key differences between the two to take some of the confusion out of the planning process.
Contemporary Design Style And The Essentials To Master It
Whether your home is modern, contemporary or something else entirely, the design team at brick&batten can create a virtual exterior design that perfectly matches your style. Our team of virtual interior designers can combine your favorite elements and features into a cohesive design to make your home the envy of your home.
Modern design was born out of the modern art movement and spans the early to mid 20th century. The movement includes Art Deco designs of the 1920s and mid-century modern trends of the 1950s and 1960s. Bauhaus and Scandinavian design inspired this distinct style. Swiss architect Le Corbusier and designers Charles and Ray Eames (yes, just like the chairs!) popularized the look even more.
Contemporary design refers to designs ‘of the moment’. It is not tied to any specific time period and is therefore very fluid. Current values and trends—including concepts such as environmentalism, globalization, minimalism, and individualism—inform this ever-changing style.
Materials used in home construction and design touches mark one of the key differences between modern and contemporary homes.
The Differences Between Modern Vs Contemporary Interior Design
Modern styles exude a lively warmth, so modern homes use rich, natural materials like wood, leather and stone in functional, minimalist shapes. True to the era, the designers combined these elements with then innovative materials such as acrylic, molded plastic and chrome.
Contemporary design also celebrates natural materials, but in a more updated execution. Polished wood and elegant metals such as steel are combined with organic elements such as plaster, travertine and concrete. Reflecting a more forward-looking outlook, contemporary furniture and accessories typically incorporate striking and unusual forms in interesting finishes.
Both modern and contemporary styles are rooted in natural colors, but their distinct approach to color sets the two styles apart.
Reflecting the themes of modern art, modern design has very few patterns, instead favoring bold colors. Color palettes are often warm and neutral, incorporating earth tones such as brown, rust and olive. For the exterior of the home, natural colors work great with a bold primary color on the front door.
The Best Classic Contemporary Furnishings
If modern design uses warm, vibrant colors, think of the contemporary design color palette as a breath of fresh air. The style also uses neutral colors, but takes them in their natural form – a picture of faded sandstone or sun-bleached driftwood. Strong contrast, black and white pairings and pure whites define this style. Uses of brighter color take the form of rich jewel tones or highly saturated colors used to highlight architectural elements.
Both styles have many similarities, which can make it difficult to tell them apart. Modern and contemporary design and architecture prioritize clean, architectural lines. Homes in both styles often have open floor plans with large windows for natural light. However, there are some notable features that differentiate the two.
Modern design is much more structured and formal than contemporary design. Bold, clean lines define the style. As a reaction to the opulence and artificiality of earlier time periods, modern style prioritized function over form, so there is little clutter or decoration.
Likewise, minimalism and clean, simple lines are a hallmark of contemporary design. However, this design relaxes its form and embraces irregular shapes, asymmetrical facades and curves. You may find mixed materials such as stone and wood in the exteriors of modern homes. Indoors, structural elements or exposed materials such as brick and concrete often make an appearance.
Differences Between Contemporary And Modern Design
Whether your preferred design is informed by the past or looks to the future, the iconic design team at brick&batten can help you navigate the elements of modern and contemporary style to find the look that’s perfect for your home. Learn more about our virtual exterior design service and get started on your exterior makeover today! Your hope is personal, every item you place
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