“So, what’s the difference between modern and contemporary styles?” – this is an all too familiar question many new-age designers face with new clients, especially when it comes to cabinets.

Why is it so difficult to distinguish between the two styles? Well, that’s because the two names have been used interchangeably over the years, so much so, that the two styles tend to become synonymous. Modern and contemporary styles have many similarities, so it is easy to see how the two can become confusing.

However, knowing the differences of these two styles, as subtle as they may be, could be a game changer in any concept you are designing.

This blog is designed to give you the features that make each design style unique, the similarities between the two, and how each of these styles can be used to create a truly stunning kitchen design.

First, let’s talk modern! The “modern” concept is actually based on Mid-Century Modern design elements from the 1950’s through the 1970’s. Modern designs feature clean styles, sleek lines and sharp corners.

“Modern” architecture breaks with the past. It is recognizable by it’s clean, unadorned interiors. Use of natural materials such as wood, leather, teak and linen are used most often. Molded plywood and plastic are very popular elements in modern furniture, as well as polished metal. Furniture is very open and raised off the floor allowing for an airy feeling and walls are often white adding to the expansive feeling. Modern interiors generally have bare floors and if area rugs are used they are typically neutral in color. Hints of color were used in moderation and are used more as accents to the overall design and style of the space, rather than focal points. We generally refer to modern interiors as retro these days.

Here are some examples of modern design concepts:


At their most literal, “contemporary” is the architecture being produced now, the architecture of the moment.

Ok, so what is “Contemporary Design” then? By definition, contemporary means, “existing, occurring, or living at the same time; belonging to the same time.” So, at it’s most literal, “contemporary” is the architecture being produced now, the architecture of the moment. And that is exactly the same for the use of the term in interior design. Contemporary design has the ability to be very eclectic for that reason. It is ever changing and borrows elements and styles from all different eras.
Right now a contemporary home might incorporate large windows, unique or odd shapes, open plan and sometimes it even encompasses elements with the surrounding outdoor landscape. The finishes would use a lot of natural elements such as fir or cedar and stone. The finishing details and furniture are simple and use clean lines. Comfort and natural sustainability are key elements that are important in a contemporary home.

Here are some examples if contemporary design concepts:


I hope this blog helps you gain a better understanding between the differences and similarities of Modern and Contemporary Design. If this blog has inspired you to update or renovate your kitchen, give us a call and make that dream kitchen a reality!