Modern v. Contemporary

When we think of design styles, many interchange modern and contemporary. They are almost the same in the English language, but not in design terminology.

The style of modern is very clean and minimalistic. Modern comes from a certain time frame, early 1900’s to the 1970’s, going into the 80’s. It uses a lot clean whites and neutrals for it’s palette. Mid-century modern is probably the most familiar of modern styles. It’s still very sought after and many retailers offer their own mid-century style furniture. Many still offer authentic mid-century pieces, and those may come in a high price. Bold color was thrown into the mix with mid-century modern, although whites and neutrals continued to be the anchor colors. After mid-century modern came post-modern. Post modern was the rebellious baby of the family. Bold colors, wild geometric shapes, contrasting colors were all part of the post modern style. Remember the red lip telephone, or the black and red artwork? All post modern designs. Still keeping lines clean, but not as minimalistic, and definitely more colorful.





Contemporary is a style that is composed from many other styles and evolved into it’s own category. So in a way, it’s an eclectic style. Contemporary follows modern in the way that it’s streamlined and leans toward minimalism. However, where as modern is from a certain time period, contemporary style is always evolving. The style of contemporary reflects what is happening today: trends, designs, colors. That being said, comparing a room that is in the style of contemporary from 2019 will not be the same as room that was in the style of contemporary from 1980. However, a room in the style of mid-century modern will look the same if not extremely similar whether it is from 2019 or 1980.

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