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How to differentiate between contemporary and modern furniture trends (it’s more complicated than you think)

In doing research for this blog we discovered two things:

  • Like many social media profiles (in reference to relationship status), “It’s complicated”
  • It’s also not something that’s often asked, or debated (by the general population)

But then you are not “the general population”, and you want to amaze other decorating enthusiasts with your in-depth knowledge and insights into this topic. Yes?

Then please do read on.

First of all, “modern” is not just about furniture.

Modern, in fact, refers to a design movement that began towards the end of the 19th century, through to the 1960s. As far as “modern furniture” is concerned (says the Fow Furniture blog) we usually refer to “less is more” type of design, with form following function.

“There are no ornamentations, embellishments, and detail carvings such as those depicted in traditional or Victorian styles that came before it. The modern style is innovative with simple, clean, sleek lines.”

Inversely, “contemporary” is about the new, existing, occurring.

Contemporary furniture is of the now, the present – however (stylistically) it borrows from a variety of eras such as Mid-Century modernism. “Just like modern furniture, contemporary furniture can feature plenty of chrome, glass, and wood. At times the lines can be asymmetrical with sharp and prominent edges.”

Now that’s a mouthful, we know, but really what it boils down to is that the two styles are similar but they are not the same

“Modern furniture is furniture design of the Mid-Century modern period (from 1920′s to 1960′s). Sometimes it’s referred to as retro modern or even classic modern.”

“Contemporary furniture is current. It is of today. However, contemporary furniture can borrow elements from modern furniture but modern furniture always stays confined in its era as far as design is concerned. . . Contemporary can still (also) borrow from other styles.”

So, there we have it.

Personally, the team at Basis Furniture is less concerned about labelling certain types of genres and more with what works for you, your taste, your home and space today.

Get in touch with us for more options and debates that (really) matter.