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Design Styles: Contemporary vs. Modern

Characteristics of Contemporary Furniture

If you’re shopping for furniture, you may have heard some salespeople use the terms “contemporary” and “modern” interchangeably. However, others insist the two are different. So, which is it? We’re here to settle the argument once and for all.

Contemporary vs. Modern Design

Modern styling harkens to a particular design movement that began in the early 1900s. It is a static design style that favors simplicity and minimalism over the traditional, ornamental designs of the pre-Industrial Revolution.

Contemporary design, on the other hand, is more dynamic. It takes cues from whatever is popular at the time, meaning it changes with current trends. As a result, contemporary styling may look very different 50 years from now.

Today’s contemporary furniture incorporates many aspects of modern design, including clean, sleek lines and minimal adornments. However, it also includes art deco and post-modernism elements, lending an additional flair and boldness that modern design alone can’t match.

Characteristics of Contemporary Furniture

Here are some qualities to look for when buying contemporary furniture:

  • Hard edges intermixed with gentle curves for comfort without fussiness
  • Chairs, sofas, and tables lifted off the floor on lean legs for a light, airy feel
  • Lacquered, highly finished wood
  • Chrome, steel, and glass accents
  • Smooth, high-gloss surfaces
  • Solid fabrics or large-scale geometric patterns
  • Focus on functionality and being easy to clean

How to Decorate a Contemporary Home

Achieve the contemporary look you want with these tips:

  • Start with a neutral backdrop: The underlying color in a contemporary home is usually neutral. Gray and bronze are two trending neutrals for 2021. These and other mild colors—such as white, tan, and brown—should be on the walls, floors, ceilings, and some furniture items.
  • Then, add pops of color: While some contemporary homes are monochromatic, you can certainly add accent colors for more visual interest. Yellow, turquoise, and magenta are big in 2021. Incorporate these hues in brightly colored artwork, vases, rugs, throw pillows, and accent chairs.
  • Let the light shine in: Contemporary designs rely on natural light to make the high-gloss surfaces in the room shine. Large, unadorned windows allow the most sunlight to enter. For more privacy and light control, opt for narrow blinds or Roman shades.
  • Go easy on the accessories: Keeping the room uncluttered is an important aspect of contemporary design. Thin floor lamps, a few shapely vases, and floating shelves are all suitable options. Then, use one large-scale art piece as a focal point.

Ready to go furniture shopping? Home Consignment Center offers a selection of upscale products all under one roof. Choose from modern and contemporary, farmhouse and traditional, and any other styles you can think of. Shopping at Home Consignment Center is like going on a treasure hunt—you never know what you might find. Plus, we have new designer pieces coming in all the time, so one visit is never enough. Find an Home Consignment Center near you today to buy from us, consign with us, or both!