We love both modern and contemporary furniture but we are often asked what the difference is between these two definitions and which is best. In fact, these two design styles can have many similarities and so a comparison is difficult. However, here is our answer to the contemporary furniture Vs modern furniture debate. First of all we need to define what each term means….

Contemporary Furniture

Metal Topped Dining Table or Workstation - Contemporary Furniture

Metal Topped Dining Table or Workstation

Contemporary by its very definition means anything that is ““existing, occurring, or living at the same time; belonging to the same time.” And it’s no different when it comes to interior design. So, simply put the designer of the piece of contemporary furniture needs to be current right now. Obviously that spans a huge range of furniture and designs and what contemporary looks like can change dramatically and quickly. Currently, contemporary furniture tends to be about simple, clean lines. Contemporary pieces often have a minimalist look, furniture is light, visually appealing and makes use of natural and neutral materials. Often contemporary pieces of furniture have square-edges, metal tubular legs and there doesn’t tend to be any frills or skirting.

Modern Furniture

1970's Pierre Vandel Side Tables - Modern Furniture

1970’s Pierre Vandel Side Tables

Modern furniture can mean anything that represents modernism- so that’s pretty broad. It is often referred to as mid century modern and covers a period from the late 19th century through to anything in the present that is influenced by modernism. The idea of modernism itself comes from post world war II ideals of cutting out any excess or commodification. Materials used came out of practicality and so heavily influenced the aesthetic of the furniture that was created. Mass produced, accessible furniture that was affordable to anyone was key and you can see this in modern designs. Modern pieces of furniture are functional, but that doesn’t mean that they are not beautiful. They renounce the imitation of historical forms and consider how someone would interact with the piece of furniture. Modern pieces of furniture often use glass, steel, moulded plywood and lots of plastics. At the time of inception these materials would have been considered pioneering, and although the same can’t be said now the way that these materials are used are still being pushed to the boundaries of their limitations.

So can you really compare contemporary and modern furniture? Well, to a point yes. However, there is a lot of crossover in these styles- and we adore them both!