What is the Difference between Modern and Contemporary Design?

Strachan Contemporary Fitted Office

Different Time Periods

It can be very difficult to distinguish between modern and contemporary designs. This is because they are very similar to the untrained eye.

The main difference between the two is that modern design specifically refers to the architectural style that was popular between the early 1900s and 1950. Whereas contemporary design belongs to the current time period.

Another difference is the architectural lines. Modern homes have straight lines and contemporary homes have bold and sweeping curves. Also, modern homes are more likely, to use warmer materials and colours than contemporary homes.

Strachan contemporary lounge

The Birth of Modern Design

Modern home designs reflect the modernist movement of the 20th century. These modernists wanted to develop new cultural norms, in a world that had experienced great change since the industrial revolution.

Modernism brought the end to the over the top styles that came before. Heavy textures, carvings and wood tones were replaced with open space and minimalist features.

German Bauhaus School of Design

Modern design first came to popularity in the 1900s. Originating from the German Bauhaus Schools of design, the new design focuses on minimal features and maximum function. Late modernism and postmodernism followed, eventually evolving into the contemporary building style of the late 70s.

The very definition of contemporary is that it belongs to the present, reflecting the architectural trends that are popular right now. Meaning contemporary designs are always changing. Since its birth in the 70s, contemporary design has continuously evolved. Although to clarify, what was considered contemporary in the 70s is now considered vintage.

What is a Contemporary Home Style?

Strachan Lounge with Bookcases

Bare and Minimal Furnishings

The contemporary space is calm, collected and mature with neutral and masculine colours preferred. Curved lines in the design are important and the room should not be cluttered, with space itself used as a decoration. Minimal furnishing is essential, meaning all the features in the room are bold and noticeable.

Contemporary favours smooth surfaces and clean lines. Furniture should be simple and clean cut with inviting shapes in natural colour tones. Floors should be carpetless, using bare vinyl, wood or tile and new age materials are essential, so lots of glass and metals.

Modern dressing room

Contemporary Design makes use of Good Lighting

Correct lighting is crucial in contemporary homes to direct eyes towards important features, whilst setting positive tones. Lighting should be used to wash walls and bring attention to bold pieces. Natural light is also a must with plenty of large, frameless windows, helping to bring nature inside.

Strachan furniture

Contemporary is New and Different

Contemporary style isn’t uniform, it’s individual and the artwork is bear but elegant. Bold sculptures and large art pieces with saturated colours can add to the energy and liveliness of the atmosphere. Geometric shapes can also be used on rugs and in furniture designs, to help highlight both the curved and straight lines of the architectural design.

What is Soft Contemporary Style?

What is soft contemporary style

Soft Contemporary has Curves

Soft contemporary is inviting and mature. It moves away from the harsh lines of the modern design era, making way to soft curves, smooth features and ambient interiors. Soft contemporary aims to create inviting spaces, whilst protecting the design from trending influences that will become quickly outdated.

Soft contemporary with curves

Open Spaces and Warm Colours

Big open spaces and bold features are still a must, but they are offset by softer angles. Soft contemporary designs favour more traditional materials, that can help the house better resonate with its natural surroundings. Warm materials like hardwood, are chosen over cold materials like metal and marble, to create a more cosy environment.

Bold warm browns and creams are paired with wood, stone and tile designs to create an elegant and tempting warmth. As with all contemporary designs, items of furniture are clean cut and minimal, to reduce clutter and give an air of spaciousness.

What is Modern Style Interior?

What is modern style interior?

Modern Design is the opposite of the Grandoise Architecture Styles of the 1800s and early 1900s

Modern architecture is the opposite of the grand and over flourished building style that came before the modern movement. It focuses on minimal clutter, open spaces and maximum functionality, often making use of wood and earthy elements.

Modern design takes its notes from the international style of architecture which developed in the 1920s and continued to evolve until the 1970s. Even though the art deco period of the 1920s is considered modern, the mid-century modern designs of the 1950s and 1960s are the most popular styles.

Strachan modern interiors

Modern Design makes use of Straight Lines

A modern styled interior is comprised of clean, straight lines in comparison to a contemporary design which makes use of bold, sweeping and curved lines. Crisp, sharp and bare, modern homes utilise space just like contemporary designs, they have open layouts and natural light.

Strachan contemporary bedroom