Style Series: Week 2

If you are new to our blog, let me take a quick moment to catch you up to speed.  We are smack dab in the middle of a four-week series that explores different design styles and how they relate to you.  We started the series by taking a closer look at the traditional aesthetic, which transcends preconceptions of old and outdated.  The rich colors and textures are utilized to create a warm and inviting space.

Jumping forward to this week, we want to examine the alternative to traditional furnishings and venture into the world of modern design.  What exactly is considered modern?  Does it mean new and expensive?  Can modern furniture be comfortable?  Let’s take a closer look.

Before we get into what modern style is, it is important to recognize a major distinguishing difference in vernacular.  Certainly, when it comes to styles and trends, tastes can be subjective to the individual, but when referring to this category we must establish the difference between Modern and Contemporary.


Contrary to logical thought, modern actually dates back to the 1800s.  It has evolved over the decades and includes movements such as Midcentury Modern, Postmodernism, Mission style, and Art Deco.  Although the variation of these themes is vast, there certainly are specific characteristics that stand out.  Modern design signifies a break from Gothic and Renaissance designs, and gravitates toward more functional components, with clean and straight lines that utilize materials such as metal and wood with primary colors and accents.  Modern design leans more towards simplicity, and is seen as a break from tradition.


When designers or patrons use the term contemporary, they are referring to what is popular right now.  Unlike modern design that has a very specific aesthetic that defines the style, contemporary is fluid, ever-changing and evolving.  It is possible for this design to resemble modern furnishings if that is the current trend, but it is much harder to provide a concrete example of contemporary since it changes so rapidly.  Today’s contemporary architecture and interior design may include understated elements and open floor plans.

So, going back to our original questions.  What exactly is modern?  We now have an idea of what this style of design looks like, and we also know the difference between modern and contemporary.  Does it mean new and expensive?  I suppose it could, but it certainly is not a necessity. In fact, modern design arose over a century ago.  Can modern furniture be comfortable?  This one will have to be left up to the consumer.  Whereas traditional furnishings boast warmth and comfort, the functional modern aesthetic is distinctly different in nature.  But there is always a place that comfort and style intersect.

Next week we will tackle Boho, or Bohemian, style.  You won’t want to miss this fun and colorful adventure!