If you are confused about what makes a modern home different from a contemporary home, you are not alone. With terms often used interchangeably, it may be difficult for an occasional observer to distinguish the difference between the two styles. However, knowing the difference can help you choose the style that's right for you.
Modern design has its roots in the early and mid-twentieth century. Unlike styles from before the Industrial Revolution, modern design emphasizes clean lines, parsimonious use of interior design and deliberate asymmetry in building design. A modern home is likely to have white walls and a neutral color palette, with just the occasional pop of bright color for contrast, with mostly bare floors. Open floor plans are a common feature of modern style homes. Expect to find large windows, especially corner windows or large curved window walls that invite the outside. In harmony with the elegant simplicity of this design spirit, modern furniture tends to be high (think of a sofa on the legs on the floor), to preserve the feeling of open interior spaces.
On the other hand, contemporary design can be a little harder to pin down. In fact, there is some disagreement about whether or not "contemporary" describes a particular type of design, rather than just what is currently in vogue at the time. Adding to the confusion is the fact that there are a number of overlaps between what is considered contemporary and modern these days.
Contemporary design is likely to present the same open floor plans, large windows, high ceilings and natural surfaces of modern design. However, contemporary design is likely to focus on natural materials, while modern design tends to include more industrial-grade materials such as steel or concrete. Modern designs are also quite linear, while contemporary designs may include curved features that give a softer look.
A contemporary home will generally look like a modern home in a clean, clutter-free aesthetic. However, the contemporary decor offers a wider range of possible uses of color, and can incorporate the playful addition of unique furniture or textiles for an eclectic style. Unlike the elegant minimalism of modern design, contemporary design can incorporate different elements specific to your particular sense of style.
Of course, the most important part of any design is not its label, but if it creates a space that you love. Our design experts can help you integrate the best elements of any type of design to transform your home into the house of your dreams.