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Modern vs. Contemporary Design

Jennifer E. H.

Posted on August 15 2019

Modern vs. Contemporary Design


In the world of interior design, there is a distinction between modern and contemporary styles. Modern actually refers to a more clearly defined era of the recent past while contemporary design is a more nebulous description of what is current.

Although the mid-century modern era of the 1950s and 1960s is an extremely popular style of decor, there are other modern styles. For example, the Art Deco and Bauhaus movements, as well as the 1970s look, which may also be considered modern.

Pictured above: modern Bauhaus inspired trivet and coasters, a look of the 1920s.

Pictured above: Deco Throw, inspired by the modern Art Deco movement of the 1930s and 1940s.



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Here are the key elements of modern vs. contemporary style:

  • Modern design often features wood and earthier-toned accent pieces while contemporary designs may feature materials such as glass and metal.
  • Contemporary designs may feature a palate of black, white and grey. If a pop of color is used, it is often more primary tones. Modern design colors feature shades like rust, turquoise, and olive greens.
  • Happy decorating!

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