dark mode light mode Search

Contemporary vs. Modern Interior Design

Contemporary vs. Modern Interior Design

Decorating or re-decorating your home can be a lot of fun, but there are so many different styles to choose from it can be a bit overwhelming too. When it comes to interior design, the words contemporary and modern are often used interchangeably, but the reality is they’re completely different styles. According to interior design site Freshhome.com, modern design refers to an era that has already passed while contemporary refers to the future and present. Below are some of the biggest differences between the two styles to help you differentiate their features and make decisions while decorating your own home.

Modern Interior Design

Simple and functional. The most important feature of modern interior design style is how simple and functional it is. It was influenced by German and Scandinavian cultures and follows the idea that form should follow the function, keeping things basic and practical.

Clean lines. Modern design involves a lot of clean lines, as vertical and horizontal frames are favored over curved ones when it comes to structuring. This style of design gives homes a feeling of organization and open spaces without much left to interpretation. (main image and image below © Liam Prior and Alan Williams – Merrett Humøller Architects)

 Contemporary vs. Modern Interior Design

Earthy tones. Much like contemporary designs, modern ones also follow suit of having earthy and neutral colors as the main feature. Some examples of this include unpainted metals, wood, leather, and simple color schemes that are present all throughout the house.

Natural light and simplistic windows. When it comes to modern design, having a lot of natural light is extremely important. This means that there are typically many windows in modern homes, but they usually have unadorned designs and are kept simplistic to match the feel of the rest of the house.

 Contemporary vs. Modern Interior Design

Contemporary Interior Design

Neutral colors. Most homes with contemporary interior designs are based around a very neutral color, something along the lines of tan, beige, brown, cream or even just plain white. These colors are typically offset with accents around the rooms or with a bright piece of furniture to liven things up.

Natural materials. The contemporary era of living made people realize and appreciate the tone that natural materials can give a home, which is why many opt to use stone, wood, and even leather both inside and outside their home for décor. Wool and slate are two other options for creating beautiful textiles all around the home in a contemporary fashion. (images above and below © Erik Lefvander – Andrea Martin-Löf Arkitekter)

 Contemporary vs. Modern Interior Design

Texture. Whether you’re decorating Atlanta townhouses, Chicago mansions, or Denver condos, a lot of the contemporary look has to do with natural looks and tones, which is why someone designing their house with this style might want to spice it up with some texture. Overstuffed pillows, area rugs, and fabric covered windows are great ways to add to contemporary interior design to your house.

Accenting with metal. Metal accents often give homes that nice, clean look, which is why they are quite popular with the contemporary design community. Metals such as nickel, stainless steel, and chrome are a few examples of materials that give a home a highlight in this style while keeping everything consistent from room to room.