Understanding Modern & Contemporary Interior Design Styles
It takes experience and repetition to fully understand the beauty and differences of Modern and Contemporary interior design styles. It takes a skillful eye to determine which design elements fall under which category. It is not an easy task. It is challenging. But once a space takes on a style I’ve been dressing it up in, it makes my world just that much better.
Modern Interior Design
Modern Interior Design is the most misunderstood design style. Contemporary style is to blame for it. In reality, modern and contemporary designs are two very different styles. Modern style refers to a designated time period at the turn of the 20th century, with roots in German Bauhaus and Scandinavian Styles. Modern design features a simple and natural look, earthy tones, and “empty” nooks, and crannies. Frank Lloyd Wright once said: “Form Follows Function”. That pretty much sums it up when it comes to modern design. Every element of the space should have its purpose. Every piece of furnishing should serve a function. Every piece of decor should hold its place and purpose. If it doesn’t, it can be eliminated. That is the basics of modern design. Modern design is clean. It incorporates straight, clean, architectural lines. It does not tolerate fussiness. Open Space feel is a must. The main color palette is beiges, whites, and dramatic darks (even as bold as black). The main emphasis is on earthy, neutral tones and the darks come into play to create some “drama”, an accent, a focal point. It allows for some patterns but is minimal. Preferred finishes are natural, unpainted, unfinished woods, metals, natural fibers, leathers, and/or eco-friendly leathers. Modern design loves reflective surfaces: glass, chrome, steel. Straight, low lines are preferred over curves. If there is an opportunity for a structural element, such as beams or concrete, to be exposed, GRAB it! That will create a unique, natural, and most pleasing “eyesore” in the space.
There is one main similarity between Modern and Contemporary Styles and that is the love of minimalistic look and cleanliness of design.
Contemporary Interior Design
Contemporary Interior Design refers to current design trends. Word Contemporary means “belonging to or occurring in the present”. Having stated the origin of the name of this style, contemporary styles offer plenty of details from the past and offer design elements from several interior design styles. Art-Deco elements mixed with a futuristic vision of the space along with borrowing details from different eras is what sets it apart from Modern Style. Contemporary style is an ever-evolving style, as trends change, visions change and more daring approaches are readily accepted. You will see bold, bright colors in contemporary spaces mixed in with some earthy tones and elements. Curvier lines of furnishings are often seen with this style. Metals are a hit with this style. You will notice the presence of nickel, stainless steel, and chrome. You may find a contemporary designed space somewhat eclectic, and that would be completely justified, because of the presence of bold colors and the mix of several generations of styles. There is one main similarity between Modern and Contemporary Styles and that is the love of minimalistic look and cleanliness of design. No matter how eclectic and involved contemporary design becomes or how simple and earthy modern design looks, it is quite striking how much these styles stand out from the rest. Both of these styles affect my clients as they either love them or cannot live in them. There is not an in-between. The daring behavior of both of these design styles is what I absolutely love and admire!