Modern vs. Contemporary Furniture: A Style Guide

May 3, 2022  ·  5 min read  ·  Reviewed by Sarah Zubowski

When choosing an aesthetic look for your home, choosing between modern vs contemporary furniture can be a bit tough for those without an incredibly specific vision for their space. Though these terms may be considered synonymous, they are two distinct styles that can bring different looks and feels to your home. If you’re curious about these two aesthetics and are looking to upgrade, here is an easy style guide to modern vs contemporary furniture.

Are you looking to upgrade your living space? Then you need the right furniture pieces to elevate your home. Living Designs Furniture provides handmade modern and contemporary furniture in Houston, TX with customizable options that are sure to satisfy your unique sense of style.

Keep reading: Is it cheaper to reupholster or buy new furniture?

​​What is the difference between modern and contemporary furniture?

Modern and contemporary furniture share some similarities. Both styles tend to favor smooth, clean lines, lighter, more natural materials, neutral colors, and uncluttered spaces. However, where they differ most is their inspiration.

Modern designs mimic the modernism movement of the early-to-mid 1900s, whereas contemporary designs don’t refer to a specific time period or follow any movement. Because of this, contemporary furniture designs are always changing to keep up with trends, whereas modern designs stay true to their 20th-century roots.

Let’s dive a little deeper into these styles to learn their origins, the aesthetics associated with them, and how they can be implemented in your home.

What is considered modern style furniture?

In the late 19th century and early 20th century, the perceptions of art were changing. In the late 1800s, the modern art movement began with the German Bauhaus and the pioneers of modern Scandinavian design, whose furniture and architecture favored simplicity, form, and function. 

This style of furniture was popular from the years 1900 to 1950 and utilizes: 

  • Geometric shapes like squares and circles
  • Clean lines
  • Smooth, even curves 
  • Neutral color palette 
  • Natural materials including marble, wood, glass, bamboo, and more.

In the 1970s, the modern aesthetic was given a slight update with the birth of mid-century modern, a style that is still popular today. The term mid-century modern was coined in 1984 by writer and art historian Cara Greenberg to refer to a furniture style similar to modern furniture, but with splashes of bright color strategically added to the design. 

If you’re looking for modern design furniture in Houston for less, Living Designs Furniture features many ready-to-buy sofas, chairs, sectionals, ottomans, and more that can be customized to your liking. The possibilities are endless!

Leather couch from Living Designs Furniture.

What is considered contemporary furniture?

Contemporary furniture does not allude to a specific period of time or style, it just means “in the present moment.” The contemporary style did begin to gain popularity in the 1970s after the postmodern era of design. Contemporary furniture alludes to furniture pieces that mimic popular styles or what is trendy right now. 

Contemporary furniture design utilizes:

  • Contrasting colors including black and white
  • Curved designs
  • Clean lines
  • Often exposed natural materials including woods, fabrics, and metals
  • An artistic flair

Contemporary designs are ever-changing and growing, meaning that if you can’t find what you want in stores, you can create custom unique furniture pieces that reflect what design ideas you feel would reflect your style best in your home. 

Whether you’re looking for a way to spice up your bed frame or are on the hunt for trendy living room furniture, Living Designs Furniture makes creating custom contemporary furniture in Houston easy.

Model 1248 white couch
White tufted couch from Living Designs Furniture.

Modern vs. contemporary furniture: Which is right for you?

Unsure if the modern or contemporary aesthetic is right for you? If you are a homeowner who loves the look of the early 20th century, then a modern or mid-century modern look would suit your home well! However, if you prefer your house to reflect the current trends of today, then a contemporary style would be a great choice. 

At the end of the day, you don’t have to commit to one singular aesthetic or style choice. Whether you’re a trend follower or a trendsetter, finding your own unique style is easier than ever at Living Designs Furniture. If you’re looking for ways to get inspired, browse our gallery photos for furniture inspiration or see photos of real-life homes for your own inspiration. 

Get contemporary and modern furniture for less at Living Designs Furniture

For years, interior designers and homeowners alike have argued over modern vs contemporary furniture, but at Living Designs Furniture, we believe that the best style is your style. Your home should be a reflection of who you are, which means filling it with unique furniture pieces that you love. Whether you prefer to browse our showroom inventory or create something completely unique, we can bring your furniture vision to life. 

We like to believe that we are the best custom furniture makers in Houston who can help you upgrade your living space for less. Visit our showroom in East Downtown Houston today to get inspired or to get started on your home improvement project.

More Helpful Articles by Living Designs Furniture:

Share on:

Related Articles