Interior Design Showdown: Modern Vs Contemporary – Who Wins?

Last updated on September 28th, 2023

Contemporary is just another word for modern design. Or is it? We often use these terms interchangeably, but in the world of interior design, they are two distinct looks. It may surprise you to know that modern decor has hints of past design styles in it.

It plays with mid-century design with a hint of Art Deco as well as post-modern styles. For an in-depth look at the two, it’s best to check out what the standout features of both these styles are. You will get a fair idea with these tips. So, let’s begin!

What is modern design?

Modern design is said to be the forerunner of the contemporary style. The key players of this style are names such as Charles and Ray Eames of the Eames Chair fame, and Le Corbusier. This style is distinct, plays with simple forms, and focuses mainly on functionality. So, what are the key features of the modern design? Natural materials such as stone, leather, and wood paired with streamlined shapes are the signature of this style.

How do you bring a modern look together?

Modern interior concepts have an affinity for natural materials. This means elements such as leather, linen, and wood. Here are some other points to consider for a cohesive look:

  • Natural materials mean the colors of the earth. This includes shades such as olive or moss green, brown, beige, and tones of blue to mimic the ocean.

  • White walls are preferred as they act as a blank canvas for your earth elements.

  • Keep the floors bare. However, this means state-of-art flooring, be it wood or stone.

  • If you don’t like a bare floor, throw in area rugs. Wool is the preferred material as it’s natural. However, cotton dhurries can fit into this look too.

  • Modern is about natural elements. So, air and space are a big part of this. For an airy vibe, make sure your furniture has legs or space underneath for a roomy feel.

  • Dip into nature. See the colors, the balance of the shades and the forms. Use these inspiring shades and shapes to bring your modern look together.

What is contemporary design?

There is no specific time frame when you talk of contemporary design. It is a reflection of present-day styles and is in a state of constant evolution. You may find hints of minimalism, Art Deco, or modernism in this style without emphasizing a particular design This style may seem like a hotch-potch of various styles, however, there are certain elements common to this style. Neutral shades, organic shapes, minimalism, and clean lines are some of the defining features of this style. So, what materials will you see in this look? Chrome, steel, nickel, and natural materials such as jute or hemp are commonly used in contemporary designs.

How do you bring a contemporary look together?

To achieve a contemporary look, use materials such as metal, plastic, glass, and MDF or plywood. Follow these tips for bringing these elements together:

  • Shades such as grey, white or black are preferred, but you can also use bold colors such as orange, red, or mustard.

  • Use a mixture of various interior design styles such as eclectic, rustic, country, or traditional in your contemporary look.

  • Don’t hesitate to add a few trending touches to your space.

  • Carving and intricate patterns or curves are best avoided. Instead, go for a streamlined look that has minimum fuss.

How to tell them apart

Simply put, contemporary design is about the here and now. It’s fluid and adapts to different styles of decor. Modern design, on the other hand, is about neutral shades, streamlined furniture, and balance. If you need expert guidance, seek experienced professional help on this link.

Summing up

At the end of the day, you can always make your own rules. However, if you are a stickler about trends and following them to a T, you can knock on our door to guide you through the journey. Log in today on and check out more about design trends and styles.