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Difference Between Modern and Contemporary Design?

You could be forgiven for thinking contemporary and modern are synonyms. After all, in many contexts, there is no discernible difference between the two. But in the world of art and architecture, these terms are not one and the same; the difference is quite profound.

And if you’re considering fitting out your home with a fresh modern and contemporary furniture design, then it’s crucial to understand the difference between the two. Here’s how.

What Is Modern Interior Design?

In arts and design, the term modern comes from modernism, a wide-spread philosophical and artistic movement that had a profound and long-lasting effect on Western society. Although the movement spanned from the late 19th century into the mid-20th century, modern interior design mostly refers to elements that originated in the early to mid-1900s.

The German Bauhaus school of design and Scandinavian “function over form” principals are credited with the rise of modern interior design. Despite being over a hundred years old in some cases, modern interior design remains popular today. Design trends changed in the 60s and 70s with the onset of post-modernism. Interior décor became more bold and ornate, with the focus shifting back towards form rather than function.

What Is Contemporary Interior Design?

Contemporary design, as the name infers, is comprised of elements that are fashionable at this present moment in time. Therefore, contemporary design is continuously evolving and cannot be attributed to any single historical period.

Furthermore, contemporary design draws inspiration from numerous different styles throughout history. Modernism and Postmodernism have both left their mark, while elements from styles such as futurism, art deco, and deconstructivism play a part as well.

How Modern and Contemporary Interior Design Are Similar

The most apparent similarity between the two is their shared love of minimalism. Artistic expression is achieved through smooth surfaces and clean architectural lines, a style intended to leave the inhabitant with a sense of calm. A lack of clutter is another essential factor, as both contemporary and modern design do away with ornate elements in favour of uncomplicated aesthetics and a distinct open-space feel.

Expect to see exposed legs on contemporary furniture design and modern furniture design, such as leather sofas and lounge chairs. The same applies to exposed structural elements such as bare concrete walls and wooden support beams. Reflective pieces such as large mirrors or windows, are also common between the two.

How Modern and Contemporary Design Are Different

Despite their many similarities, the two styles have notable differences as well. In general, modern design follows strict guidelines, while contemporary has more freedom to experiment with new things. Modern design focuses almost entirely on function, ensuring every furnishing and fitting serves a purpose, such as a sleek tv entertainment unit, a much needed and easily accessed storage space. for Contemporary, on the other hand, celebrates its bold aesthetics and focuses on form.

Although both feature smooth architectural lines, modern design favours stronger lines while contemporary has a tendency towards curves. As for colours, modern is typically a balance of natural and neutral to create a warm and fuzzy effect. Favourites include turquoise, ochre, and olive green. Contemporary, on the other hand, prefers a strict palette of black white and grey to create contrast, switching between extremes on a whim.

Both incorporate geometric patterns to great effect, albeit in a different way. Contemporary generally uses geometry through sculpture and contrast while modern might include it in fixtures. Above all else, contemporary is continually adapting to new trends, which allows it to adopt elements like floor to ceiling windows, that blend the indoor and outdoor world.

Which Style Is Right For My Home?

Ultimately, the best style depends on your personal taste – and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t mix up the two. Of course, interior design is a complex art form that requires professional help to perfect. For the very best modern and contemporary furniture store in Melbourne, check out Berkowitz Furniture today. You can also visit one of our furniture store near you or browse our specially curated online store.



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