Xem thêm

Modern vs. Contemporary Interior Design: Unraveling the Distinctions

CEO Khai Intela
Can you distinguish between modern and contemporary interior design? It's easy to mix up these beautiful styles, but fear not! Our comprehensive guide will help you become an expert in telling them apart. In this...


Can you distinguish between modern and contemporary interior design? It's easy to mix up these beautiful styles, but fear not! Our comprehensive guide will help you become an expert in telling them apart. In this article, we'll compare modern and contemporary interior design styles, providing you with the knowledge and insights to confidently create delightful spaces in either style.

Modern vs Contemporary Interior Design: What's the Difference?

Modern interior design for open living space Modern interior design for open living by Decorilla designer, Joyce R.

Although "contemporary" and "modern" are often used interchangeably, they are actually two distinct design styles from different periods. Modernism came first, followed by contemporary interior design. While contemporary design is still evolving, it will eventually be recognized as a style from a certain age. Understanding the differences between the two will give you a solid foundation to create your ideal design.

Modern Interior Design: A Definition

Modern vs contemporary interior design living area Modern vs contemporary interior design living area by Decorilla designer, Katerina P.

Modern interior design emerged in the late 19th century as a sleek and uncluttered style. Rooted in simplicity, modernism embraced clean lines, minimal decor, and industrial materials. Block colors, with an emphasis on primary hues, replaced patterns. Modernism rejected artificial embellishments, leading to more open and minimalist homes and public spaces.

History of Modern Interior Design Ideas

Difference between modern and contemporary interior design Modern kitchen design by Decorilla interior designer, Shasta P.

Modernism gained momentum in the late 1800s as a reaction against ornate and artificial interiors, architecture, and art. By the 1930s, the movement flourished, driven by the demand for simplified forms and cost-effective construction materials like reinforced concrete and steel. Modern design saw various interpretations, influenced by art movements like Art Deco, De Stijl, and Bauhaus.

8 Elements That Define a Modern Interior Design

Modern color pops in an open plan interior Modern open plan interior design by Decorilla interior designer, Lisa W.

You can identify a modern interior design by its well-defined lines, precise color palette, and minimalistic use of decor. Here are the eight essential elements of a modern interior:

  1. Modern Art: Modern interior design embraces bold and expressive artwork that breaks traditional boundaries.
  2. Glass, Concrete, and Steel: Celebrating the craftsmanship of industrial materials is a hallmark of modern design.
  3. Abstract Forms: Modern designs often feature abstract shapes and forms that serve their functional purpose.
  4. Neutral Walls: Modern interiors opt for neutral wall colors, creating a calm and serene atmosphere.
  5. Clean Lines: Straight lines and balanced proportions are key features of modern design.
  6. No Clutter: Minimalism is a defining characteristic of modern interiors, with few accessories and decorations.
  7. Pop of Primary Colors: Modern design incorporates pops of bold primary colors for added visual interest.
  8. Large Windows: Modern architecture often features large windows that let in ample natural light.

5 Creatives Who Shaped Modern Interior Design Ideas

Iconic modern interior designers, architects, and artists

  1. Frank Lloyd Wright: A renowned architect and designer, known for his prairie style open-plan architecture.
  2. Grete Schütte-Lihotzky: Created the Frankfurt Kitchen, a precursor to the modern fitted kitchen.
  3. Marcel Breuer: Influenced by the De Stijl movement, he created minimalist and functional furniture designs.
  4. Erich Mendelsohn: An expressionist architect who incorporated dynamic functionalism into his designs.
  5. Naum Gabo: A pioneer of contemporary sculpture, he revolutionized the way objects occupy space.

Contemporary Interior Design: Redefining Modern Aesthetics

Contemporary Interior Design Bedroom Contemporary bedroom interior design by Decorilla interior designer, Mladen C.

Contemporary design encompasses styles that are relevant and new, breaking away from the stark lines of modernism. It incorporates softer edges, elaborate sculptural touches, and a sense of fun. Contemporary interior design includes various trends such as eclectic, Scandinavian, minimalism, coastal, industrial, and glam.

History of Contemporary Interior Design


Contemporary interior design emerged during the late 20th century, influenced by the digital revolution, information age, and environmentalism. Globalization also played a significant role, resulting in a blend of styles from around the world. Contemporary design embraces versatility and often incorporates Scandinavian-inspired elements.

8 Elements That Characterize Contemporary Interior Design

Contemporary interior design lighting Contemporary dining room design by Decorilla interior designer, Renata P.

Contemporary design draws inspiration from various styles, resulting in a range of elements that define its aesthetics. Here are eight key elements of contemporary interior design:

  1. Sculptural Light: Lighting design becomes a work of art in contemporary interiors.
  2. Highlighting Construction: Exposed materials and structures are celebrated in contemporary design.
  3. Minimalism: Contemporary design simplifies forms and focuses on efficiency and functionality.
  4. Updated Materials: Eco-friendly and innovative materials add visual interest to contemporary interiors.
  5. Traveler's Flare: Contemporary designs incorporate influences from around the world.
  6. New Neutral: Earthy tones and natural colors replace the stark neutrals of modern design.
  7. Contemporary Art: Contemporary design embraces both traditional and functional artwork.
  8. Open Plan: Contemporary interiors feature open spaces, creating a sense of flow and connection.

5 Creatives Who are Shaping Contemporary Design Styles

Iconic contemporary interior design artists and architects

  1. Fernando Mastrangelo: A versatile artist known for his experimental works in furniture, architecture, and sculpture.
  2. Lily Kwong: A landscape designer who revives urban spaces with living masterpieces.
  3. Jorgen Hovelskov: A furniture designer whose harmonious and simple designs captivate contemporary interiors.
  4. John Pawson: A minimalist designer who carefully considers every element of his interiors for perfect balance.
  5. Zaha Hadid: An experimental architect known for her futuristic and dynamic designs.

Similarities & Differences Between Modern and Contemporary Interior Design

Modern vs contemporary interior design living room

Modern and contemporary interior design share some similarities but also have distinct differences that set them apart. Here's a summary:


  • Minimalism
  • Clean and crisp lines
  • Open spaces and combined living areas
  • Form follows function
  • Neutral color palettes


  • Age: Modern design spanned from the late 1800s to the end of the 20th century, while contemporary design began in the late 1900s and continues to evolve.
  • Material focus: Modern design emphasizes dark woods, chrome, and concrete, while contemporary design incorporates light wood and eco-friendly materials like recycled glass and plastic.
  • Architecture: Modern architecture features straight lines, while contemporary architecture embraces fluid and curved forms.
  • Lighting: Contemporary design places a greater emphasis on artistic and statement lighting.

Now armed with the knowledge to distinguish between modern and contemporary design, you're ready to embark on your interior design journey. Whether you choose a modern or contemporary style, our experts can help you bring your vision to life. Schedule a free interior design consultation and let us guide you towards creating your masterpiece.

Images: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27