Modern vs. Contemporary

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You may hear the terms modern and contemporary when describing a home style and design, but in reality they’re two different things. While they do have some things in common, having a grasp of the key differences can help ensure you get the home you’re dreaming of. Both generally feature minimal accents and furnishings, plus the lines are usually clean and the space is open.


When it comes to architecture, contemporary is constantly changing, but generally reflects the style of the moment. In other words, it could mean a mix of different styles, including modern, art deco and postmodern, or even something else. Contemporary is more reflective of a buyer’s taste and the times.

You may find things like eco-friendly and energy efficient inclusions, curves, open space and mixed-use space. With contemporary design, you’ll find a mix of metals, concrete and glass, plus primarily colors like black, white and grey. While the style is simple, you may find a contemporary style does incorporate some artistic accessories to make it even more unique.


Modern, on the other hand, reflects limited detailing with clean straight lines. You won’t find a lot of added decoration with a modern style. Colors are often monochromatic, the home lacks clutter and you’ll find flat roofs.

It’s easy to spot a modern home from the 1950s or 1960s with its mid-century modern design appeal, but modern style actually came about in the early 20th century. You’ll also find more “earthy” elements and wood used in the home. Colors are more neutral in hue, as well, with things like olive green, brown and rust being popular selections.

When designing or looking for a new home, it’s best to have an idea of what you want and knowing what’s available. Understanding some key differences between two style points can only help when it comes to gaining the home of your dreams.

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