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In the dictionary, “modern” and “contemporary” seem synonymous: Both describe something belonging to the present time. Perhaps that’s why people use the words interchangeably to describe architecture and interior design, although modern and contemporary are actually two distinct styles.Webster notwithstanding, only the word “contemporary” describes what is in style or “of the moment” in architecture and design. The label “modern” indicates a specific period in design history that took root in the 1920s and 1930s and lasted through the 1960s and 1970s. That means modern style is established and doesn’t change. Contemporary, on the other hand, is “what’s happening now. And that changes over time,” depending on prevailing tastes, says interior designer Ron Tremblay of Los Angeles. contemporary furniture Modern design is “very clean-lined and very functional,” says interior designer Vicki Bergelt, of Scottsdale, Ariz. “It represents a drastic change to what was popular before, like dark, heavy, carved woods and gilding.”“If anyone wants to know what modern design is,” she adds, “just watch ‘Mad Men.’” Due in part to the popularity of the AMC TV show set in the 1960s, the “mid-century modern” look is in vogue right now, so modern and “contemporary” styling overlap. And though Tremblay urges clients not to get “too hung up on terminology,” understanding the similarities and differences between the two styles helps people communicate their tastes to designers and salespeople. furniture suppliers Both styles favor clean lines and lack of clutter and veer away from ornate, frilly or ponderous elements.Modern and contemporary sofas, chairs and ottomans have exposed legs to create that sense of openness and airiness, stopping short of starkness. Sleek floors and reflective surfaces such as exposed metals and glass complete the effect.Perhaps the most notable difference between modern and contemporary styling is the overall effect each achieves. Modern design creates a retro effect because it features vintage pieces or new pieces inspired by vintage designs, such as Eames chairs, Formica tables and bent plywood. project furniture In contrast, contemporary design tends to create a futuristic effect through the use of modular furnishings, asymmetry, open floor plans, and recycled and composite materials.Inexpert attempts to create a modern or contemporary design can result in a cold, uninviting space. Adding color and texture brings about a warmer effect. “A cushy shag rug in a space that otherwise has modern, clean lines is going to warm things up,” Tremblay says. He recommends adding personal touches like photos, artwork and books. Incorporating some traditional or unexpected pieces also helps.“Anything that’s a counterpoint to those hard, clean lines is going to generate warmth,” he says. Modern pieces can also be incorporated into other design styles. “Finding vintage modern furniture and bringing it into your design is very popular now,” Bergelt says. “Modern always seems to stay current; it never goes out of style.”Newer design terms like neo-eclecticism and classic-contemporary have sprung up to assert the idea that a room need not conform to just one style. Tremblay’s clients often specify “warm contemporary” to make clear their desire for a space that combines contemporary with softer, warmer elements. Source