Contemporary vs. Modern Design

When you have a passion for interior design like we do at CW Interiors, you know how important terminology is. A chair is never just a chair. Words that seem straightforward in their meaning, like “chair,” or interchangeable, like “modern” and “contemporary,” actually have much more complexity than you may have originally thought. Don’t worry though, that’s why we’re here! Today, we’re going to help you understand the difference between Modern and Contemporary design. These two trends appear synonymous at first glance, and most laypeople tend to interchange them when discussing the sleek design style of today, but they’re actually two distinctly unique styles. 

Let’s start with Modern design. This style draws inspiration from the time period between the early to mid-twentieth century. At that time, designers were creating distinct styles focusing on simple forms and functions. Modern design paved the way for Mid-Century Modern design, developed in the 50s and 60s. However, in the world of interior design, you will hear designers and artists refer to both Modern and Mid-Century Modern design as simply “Modern.” 

Unlike Modern design, Contemporary design doesn’t originate from or refer to any one specific time period. Rather, Contemporary is constantly changing its style to reflect the trends of present times. It’s inspired by modernism, minimalism, and various global styles but never focuses in on one specific trend. 

So, what’s the main difference between Modern and Contemporary design? Put simply, Contemporary design is fluid and difficult to define. It is, by its very definition, a representation of trends that are popular at the current moment in time. On the other hand, Modern design is very specific and set in its clean lines, warm neutral tones, and symmetry. 

Are you looking to revamp your home to reflect one of these two unique styles? Stop by the CW Interiors store in downtown Brighton! Our amazing staff will help you find the right furniture, artwork, and accessories to create your perfect Modern or Contemporary space.

Image Sources: 10 Stunning Homes, DRK Architects, Sisane

Derek Crandall