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Modern Vs Contemporary Style, Which is Your Favorite?

I just reviewed a video in the Wall Street Journal exploring modern vs contemporary styles. Modern is often used interchangeably with contemporary when it comes to architecture, furniture, and overall home style and design. Is there a difference between the two? Absolutely. Although contemporary and modern terms have overlapping characteristics these days, the two style genres have different histories and different methods.
Modern styleModern Style
Modern style describes a static, era-specific, design trend. It breaks with those pre-Industrial Revolution traditional styles. Modern design is connected to the age of machination and is typically referred to as that of the 1920s-1950s, although some make the case that modern design refers to anything from the 20th Century.
Modern design is born from a vantage point of trying hard to break from tradition. Traditional spaces tend to be full, both visually and physically. Modern spaces, on the other hand, embrace simplicity in adornment. Modern interiors are clean and fresh, perhaps with a hint or two of color added.
Modern furniture tends to be raised off the floor (no traditional sofa skirts here!) and open, thus giving the entire space a feeling of airiness. Furniture lines of modern design are clean and relatively simple, with minimal adornment or embellishment.
Contemporary StyleContemporary Style
Contemporary architecture and style is, literally, what is being created and produced right now. It is dynamic, meaning it’s constantly changing. It can be quite eclectic because contemporary style isn’t tied down to one specific style. In fact, it’s of the moment and borrows bits and pieces from a variety of styles and eras.
Carrying through the desire for an inherent feeling of spaciousness, a contemporary space includes an open floor plan. Kitchen merges with dining merges with living. The effect is simultaneously airy and comfortably livable.
Contemporary design embraces a balanced use of natural materials, such as cedar and stone. These natural finishes are often mixed with steel, concrete, and other industrial-inspired materials to provide an aesthetic balance of yin and yang.
For more information on modern vs contemporary style, check out a very informative article on the subject in the interior home and architecture blog, I would love to hear which style is your favorite and why. Please comment below, give me a call at 805.886.9378 or email me at You’ll find both modern and contemporary homes in my portfolio of luxury homes for sale in Montecito and other high-end communities in Santa Barbara.

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