Contemporary V Modern Interior Style

Contemporary V Modern Interior Style

I’m currently working on a project with a contemporary interior style. The project is an apartment in Southbank, Melbourne.  This is really interesting to me because it’s so rare for a client to want this style.  So I’ve been thinking about the difference between contemporary & modern interior style.

The focus of this blog is the seven most popular interior styles in Australia. They are Coastal (Modern and Hamptons), Eclectic, French Provincial, Scandinavian, Mid-Century Modern, Industrial and Luxe. 

This week, I thought I’d write about the difference between contemporary and modern interior style.

What is Modern Interior Style?

A lot of people confuse modern with contemporary, especially in Australia. However, they are different, Modern (Modernism) is a style conceived in the 1920s in a German design and art school called the Bauhaus. 

The concept of ‘form follows function’ was established at this time and the Modern style became a movement. 

It’s still very relevant today but it’s definitely a style in its own right.  Features of modern interior style include;

  • Clean, straight lines
  • Neutral colours
  • Uncluttered, to make the most of vast spaces
  • Functional

You can purchase Modern furniture and furnishings at retailers like Freedom.

What is Contemporary Interior Style?

On the other hand contemporary interior style is highly innovative.  It’s constantly changing, depending on materials, trends and creativity in industrial design. Key characteristics of contemporary include;

  • Unconventional shapes, lines
  • Colour
  • Materials
  • Manufacturing

You can purchase Contemporary pieces from Gainsville.

With contemporary pieces, less is more.  Primarily because the furniture is so unique, that they can stand alone as a design feature.  So many Contemporary spaces are also minimal to allow for the different shapes and materials to shine.

With my current client, lighting also plays a huge role.  Ambient light, shadows, and shapes being a big factor.

Contemporary doesn’t appeal to everyone, it can date easily and the pieces can be impractical.  In Australia, because we’re such a casual and relaxed culture, relaxed styles tend to be more popular such as Coastal.

Contemporary pieces also tend to be expensive because they’re not as popular.  I’m definitely enjoying working on this project, it’s an opportunity to study shapes, materials and lighting in a way I don’t usually get to.


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