Western Sways


The terms Modern design and Contemporary design are closely related; and consequently, they tend to be used interchangeably. However, in the world of design and décor, both terms represent distinct styles. Modern design was evolved in the ‘20s in Germany and has radically sought to simplify the Victorian style of medieval England. On the other hand, Contemporary design was evolved many years later and has focused on variety and comfort. image image Both styles have different prevalent sorts. Some of the popular Modern designs are Bohemian modern, Mid-century modern and Vintage modern while those for Contemporary design are the Monochromatic, Minimalistic and Neutral color schemes.


Modern design is commonly simple and sober, and features minimal accessories. It is characterized with angular frames, low profiles, geometric and abstract patterns in textiles, in upholstery as well as in artwork. Natural materials like linen, leather and teak wood are commonly used. The furniture is time and again raised from the floor with the help of legs in order to create an airy and open atmosphere, while the colors used are widely neutral shades that are highlighted with splashes of colour. Walls are commonly cream and white in color while floors are mostly made of concrete or bare wood. In addition, accessories like sculptures and paintings are used as an integral part of modern design. image The modern design is known to impact a retro effect as it features vintage pieces such as Eames chairs, Formica and Ottomans. image


Because contemporary design deals with the present moment, the style of the design is that of the day. Contemporary design is known to feature reflective surfaces, clean and sleek lines, innovative graphical patterns, unusual colors, rounded forms, and asymmetrical designs. A designer therefore has the liberty to play with colors and patterns here. image Lots of polished marble, Lucite and stainless steel details are embedded in this design; also Chrome metallic accents and the liberal use of glass or mirrors, as a way to visually open up small spaces. The other materials are open ended like exposed plumbing pipes in Hi-Tech architecture or a brick wall with an inviting texture, and as a result, new colors and pieces can be incorporated over time. High ceilings and bare windows are the ideal base for a contemporary design. image Floors are commonly bare wood, tile or vinyl, although bold geometric patterned rugs to provide a bit of warmth and sound control can also be incorporated. image The palette is often punched up and accented with bright and bold color while black is time and again used to ground and define a Contemporary style. With walls painted in a basic neutral, a wonderful backdrop for bold colored accessories is realized. If the walls and windows are painted in pastels (pigments and resins) however, the trims are to be neutral and if a wall is in a bright and bold color, neutrals are to be used everywhere else. image image For a simple but yet elegant interior design, furniture and accessories are used to make a bold statement, example given – to make a shout out on a basic background, use a favorite color on a piece that will stand out. Smooth, clean and geometric shapes are essential for Contemporary pieces. Upholstered furniture often wears black, white, or other tones in textured natural fibers. Alternatively, cover it in a neutral, black, or bold fabric; fabrics also habitually have a natural look in wool, cotton, linen, silk and jute. These furniture pieces are simple and uncluttered, without curves or decoration. While sofas, chairs and ottomans occasionally have exposed legs, beds and chairs have no skirt, trim, fringe or tassels. To add a shot of color and texture, some pillows can be fused in. image In electing artwork, search for one special piece that speaks to you on a personal level as a designer; rely heavily on black, white and natural tan colors, and use affordable original paintings and sculptures from your area’s up-and-coming artists.

In contrast to Modern design, a futuristic element is created by contemporary design through the use of modular shelving and pod seating. image image

Ultimately, Contemporary design is for people that like to keep current with styles since Modern design interiors are cold and minimalist. Today’s contemporary interiors are comfortable and welcoming without being cluttered and dark. An important tip to remember albeit is that less is more. Don’t use ruffles, excessive carved details, fringe or floral prints. Abolish cute and small; rather go basic, bare, bold and structural. These tips would prove helpful if put into consideration before commencement of any design project.  “And when an architect has designed a house with large windows, which is a necessity today in order to pull the daylight into these very deep houses; then curtains come to play a big role in architecture.” Arne Jacobsen.


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