Modern Furniture versus Contemporary Furniture: What’s the difference?

Furniture design is a reflection of the age in which they were invented. While it is logical to refer to today as modern times, the term “modern” does not apply to the furniture style of the present day.

There are distinct differences between modern furniture and contemporary furniture designs. The following article examines these differences in further detail:

Modern Furniture:

Modern furniture design emerged between the 1920s and the 1950s. This furniture style is actually called Mid-Century Modern. One can conclude that this period saw remarkable changes in how furniture was designed and constructed. Prior to the 1920s, furniture was hand crafted and ornately designed. In the Modern era period, designers who adopted a sleek and clean design, focused on function took prominence.

Modern furniture makes use of natural materials like teak, leather, and bamboo. Sometimes molded plywood and plastic can be seen in the design as well. The Modern period ended in the late 1950s.

Modern furniture
Today, homes decorated in this style are clean, open and maximize space. Walls are usually painted white to create the feeling of space. Furniture design is open and off the floor, conveying the feeling of a spacious interior. The polished metal may be used to emphasize clean lines and simplicity.

Contemporary Furniture:

When furniture designers talk about contemporary furniture designs, they are referring to what’s in vogue and what’s growing. Any furniture design that is occurring today and is changing or growing is called contemporary.

Contemporary furniture design takes in what is “in” at the moment. It can include many different furniture designs. For instance, your sofa may be created in a particular design that differs from your dining table. As long as your design choices are popular, changing and growing, your furniture style is called contemporary. People today prefer to have an eclectic look because it enables them to have different pieces of furniture.

Contemporary furniture
Sometimes touches of modern furniture design are reflected in contemporary pieces. For example, the use of natural materials and sleek lines can also be found in contemporary furniture pieces. This augments the natural appearance of the room. The ideas of comfort and function which dominated modern furniture design continue in contemporary furniture design.

The Bottom Line:

Modern furniture design and contemporary furniture design reflect two different design periods. The former refers to a period between the 1920s and 1950s whereas the latter makes reference to what’s in vogue today.

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