No one wants their interiors to look out of date. You don’t have to blindly follow the latest trends, but you do want to make sure that your living space is in keeping with advances in thought and design.

Two words that often spring up in this context are “modern” and “contemporary”. When referring to interior design, we often use these words to mean the same thing. However, there are important differences between them. It’s helpful to understand the distinction so you can make informed choices.

To begin with, let’s look at dictionary definitions. Modern is defined as “relating to the present or recent times as opposed to the remote past”. And contemporary is “belonging to or occurring in the present”.

Does this mean that modern and contemporary are identical in meaning? Not quite. Let’s take a deeper dive to understand how to tell them apart.

What is Modern Interior Décor?

Modern interior design started as long ago as the 19th century. This was a movement that broke away from traditional heavy structures and materials in favour of clean lines and open spaces.

Thus, wood, stone and brick declined in use, and in their place came materials like glass, steel and concrete. Another important contribution came from the Bauhaus school of design, which emphasised form as much as function.

Modern Interior Decor

The overall outlook of modern design inspired many developments in décor. Let’s take two examples. There was minimalism, with simple and streamlined spaces. Industrial interior design also took a cue from modernism to bring in lofty ceilings, exposed brickwork and large open plans.

The style known as mid-century modernism is also extremely popular. As the name implies, this arose in the middle of the last century. It emphasised geometric shapes, contrasting textures and little or no ornamentation. An example of a classic mid-century modern piece that seems to never go out of style is the Eames chair.

Eames Chair

In a nutshell, then, what we call modern in this context is a design movement that originated in the last century. Its impact was hugely influential and can be seen everywhere to this day. It is practical and minimal, makes use of natural elements, and lays emphasis on function.

What is Contemporary Interior Décor?

Now that we’re clear about the modern style, let’s turn to what the contemporary style means in interior décor. Simply put, a contemporary style is whatever is in vogue right now.

This means that contemporary styles can change year after year. A certain shade of colour will fall out of fashion, a material or texture will stop being widely used, or types of accessories will be outdated.

In general, though, a contemporary style nowadays is sleek and refined, with straight lines and neutral colours. Of course, given our definition of contemporary, this could well transform in the years to come.

Contemporary styles are unfussy and practical. They place emphasis on simplicity without sacrificing comfort. Natural materials are preferred, with a play on textures and accents.

Many people add their own curated touches to contemporary styles. This is especially evident when it comes to accessories. Artefacts, statement pieces and decorative items make a contemporary home truly personal.

Curated Contemporary Styles

In this way, while a modern style has certain fixed characteristics, a contemporary style is fluid and prone to change. It can be more personal and can reflect the latest trends and technology.

How to Incorporate Modern and Contemporary Designs

You can use aspects of modern and contemporary styles to upgrade your home, whether your preferred style of interior décor is urban, rustic, traditional or anything else.

Take a cue from modernism, for example, and see how you can create more open spaces. Remove clutter and unnecessary furniture to see what a difference it makes. You can also try an internal reorganisation that takes natural light into account.

Natural Light

When choosing furniture, look for objects that blend both practicality and style. Avoid unnecessarily ornate touches. Incorporate a statement piece to make an interior distinctive.

You can use neutral colours for walls, complemented by similar shades for curtains and upholstery. This doesn’t have to be bland: you can accentuate selected colours and make them pop by using them on cushions, chairs, artwork, etc.

Neutral colour interiors

When it comes to contemporary style, keep in mind that trends come and go. It’s best to stick with timeless styles that are enlivened with contemporary touches, unless you like regular renovations.

Sustainable, nature-themed spaces are in demand right now. Other trends are high-tech interiors as well as multi-function spaces. This seems to be a result of the work-from-home policies that we have all had to follow.

Modern Interiors

Whether you’re looking for modern, contemporary or even traditional interiors, we suggest you start your journey by speaking to the design experts at HomeLane. We have tons of suggestions and styles and have delighted homeowners over the years. Get in touch today for a free design session.

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