Clearly Distinguishing Modern and Contemporary-Style Homes

It’s easy to get confused about the differences and similarities of contemporary and modern design styles.

Most people think that modern and contemporary mean the same thing when it comes to home design. But when the terms are used to describe the architecture, interior design and furniture—there is a world of difference.

Modern Style

Modern design refers to an era that has passed.

The modern era is generally the period of the early 20th century to the 1950s, though the design and style of the modernist movement actually began in the late 1800s. Its roots are influenced by nature and simplicity. It could be seen as a combination of German Bauhaus school of design and the Scandinavian emphasis on simplicity and function.

In architecture, modern homes have simple, strong lines with wide-open floor plans that are highly functional. Exteriors are often whitewashed stucco over brick with large expanses of glass.

Furniture follows the same simple lines and often features wood and earthier elements. Modern-style sofas and chairs tend to be raised with legs off the ground, giving a space a feeling of airiness.

Modern design colours take on earthy hues like rust, turquoise, brown and olive green. Naturals and neutrals can be found throughout modern decorating schemes. Floors are often left bare—rugs if added are neutral tones made of natural materials such as jute, sisal or wool.

Contemporary Style

Contemporary style is what’s happening today.

Contemporary designs are innovative and advanced, with a nod to the future. They are dynamic and ever-changing, not following any particular stylistic trend. They can be borrowed styles from different eras.

In architecture, contemporary homes will include state-of-the-art materials, a lot of glass and metals and feature large windows. Where lines can be simple, they also use curves.

Furniture in contemporary homes can include glass tables, lots of metal accents, and acrylic materials that follow clean simple lines.

Contemporary colours use a basic palette of white, grey and black. Accent colours are pure saturated tones such as red, indigo, and orange.

Combining Modern and Contemporary Design

Both modern and contemporary styles are very similar in that they:

  • Add a comforting and calming feeling to a room.
  • Observe a minimalist style with uncluttered spaces.
  • Use smooth clean lines.
  • Include open spaces.
  • Follow basic simple shapes in furnishings with a focus on comfort.

Today, many home plans are drafted to incorporate aspects of both modern and contemporary schools. Interior designers often take inspiration from the functional, down-to-earth modern style using contemporary materials and colours.

If your dream home includes features that are in some ways modern and other ways contemporary, you can draw from the things they have in common and combine the best of both worlds.

These homes use aspects of contemporary and modern architecture together:

  • The Royal Q Muskoka is a lakefront home with floor-to-ceiling windows that provide an unbroken view of the water. This beautifully modern design is reinforced by futuristic materials like energy-efficient glass and durable manufactured siding.
  • The Royal Q-M1 cottage is modern and minimalist on the outside but features highly contemporary colours and interior style.
  • The Royal Q-H was designed as the ultimate modern home, with clean, simple lines and a wall of glass to showcase its environment. Inside, the house contains a contemporary colour palette and state-of-the-art amenities for complete comfort.

If you are in the early planning stages of designing your dream home, be inspired by our contemporary Royal Q home designs influenced by the modern style.

Our design team is ready to work with you to make it perfect for you!


    Scroll to Top