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Contemporary vs. Modern Style

As many people might think, Modern and Contemporary in interior design are not one in the same. Modern design refers to a period of time, it is a design style It doesn’t change, it is a defined style, and will remain such. Contemporary design is ever changing. It is of the moment.

The term “Modern” in interior design really refers to “Mid Century Modern”. It is described  by it’s clean, unadorned interiors.

Use of natural materials

Such as wood, leather, teak and linen are prominent.

Molded plywood and plastic

Is very popular in modern furniture, as well as polished metal.

Allow for an airy feeling

Furniture is very open and raised off the floor allowing for an airy feeling.

Expensive feel

  • Walls are often white adding to the expansive feeling.
  • Modern interiors generally have bare floors and if area rugs are used, they are typically wool, and neutral in color.
  • Hints of color were used in moderation. We generally refer to modern interiors as retro these days. Here are some examples of Modern Interior Design:


Ok, so what is “Contemporary Design” then? Well contemporary by definition means “existing, occurring, or living at the same time; belonging to the same time.” And that is exactly the same for the use of the term in interior design.

Contemporary design refers to what is;

 Popular or used right now.

Contemporary design can be very eclectic for that reason, because it is ever changing.

 Borrows pieces and styles

From all different eras. It doesn’t have to be something that is “designed” right now – for example; furniture and art from the modern era are often used in contemporary design, and tradition mouldings and millwork are incorporated in many cases.

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