The Art Of Buying Modern Furniture

When going to a furniture store, there can be a strong feeling that the terminology is a little tricky to navigate. Few cases make this as challenging as the distinction between contemporary furniture and modern furniture or the fact that some people see it as a non-distinction. If you're trying to just make sure you can find something that'll suit your tastes and look great in your home or a place of business, this guide will help you understand the difference.

Don't Modern and Contemporary Mean the Same Thing?

Contemporary versus modern is a case where the style world has done things with words the average person wouldn't. In a style context, modern refers to things that call back to the Modernist movement. Modernism is a trend that had a strong cultural influence in the early 1900s and peaked in pop culture from about 1920 to 1960. It places a strong emphasis on how simple forms can sit elegantly in spaces.

Conversely, in style, contemporary merely refers to whatever is current. In point of fact, there is what we think of traditional contemporary furniture. This is a style that takes something fairly staid and old, such as Victorian style patterns, and gives them a new twist. Designs like these try to be more stately in the old way while also not creating the clutter that's sometimes associated with design patterns from the late 1800s.

Trends in Modern Furniture

There has always been something of a tension in the modernist movement between a tilt toward naturalism and desire to be more high-tech. In the 1920s, many modernists placed an emphasis on space and nature working well together. This was a stylistic tradition that came to the west from Japan. On the flip side, modernism, like much of style, rocketed toward more artificial looks in the 1950s and 1960s, just as the space race was heating up. Fans of the TV show Mad Men, for example, got a very hefty dose of mid-century modernism with every episode.

Contemporary modern furniture has been subject to two big influences. The first is digital modernism, what you can think of as the iPhone aesthetic. The second is the nostalgic, retro-chic trend.

When in doubt, assume that clean lines with an emphasis on form will equal modern furniture. If you're trying to make a space open without being too minimal, a modern look will play well. For more information, reach out to furniture stores like Modern Home 2 Go.