Not all of us are experienced interior designers, and we often worry whether the furniture pieces we choose actually match, or we merely think they do. In that sense, the task of trying to mix furniture might only make your furnishing indecision worse, rather than better, particularly if you don’t feel very well-educated on the differences between the different design styles.

One common matter of confusion is the difference – or lack thereof – between ‘modern’ furniture and ‘contemporary’ furniture. As it turns out, these two terms do not refer to exactly the same thing!

Having said that, it’s also definitely true that you can mix modern and contemporary furniture, as long as you take note of a few guidelines! Below, then, we have set out definitions of modern and contemporary furniture for you, before providing advice on how to make these unique furniture styles work together for the betterment of your home.


Let’s start with a definition…


Although modern and contemporary furniture might seem similar in appearance to the untrained eye, there are actually two simple – but separate – definitions for them!

Modern furniture can be best described as this: emerging from the modernist movement of the 20th century, modern furniture reflects a growing desire for open space and minimalist finishes. Modern furniture pieces don’t tend to incorporate a lot of decoration, instead placing a much greater emphasis on function. So, you can expect the likes of straight lines, earthy elements, and minimal clutter. Even vibrant colours might only be used as accents to an otherwise clean and sleek piece.

On the other hand, ‘contemporary furniture’ refers to furniture of this current time period. It’s all about the here and now! Bold, sweeping curves, ‘out-there’ colours, glass and steel: you might recognise all of these features in current contemporary furniture pieces.

As an interesting fact, contemporary furniture pieces aren’t only found inside the home. For example, today’s contemporary and garden furniture pieces commonly incorporate eclectic textures, colours, and curves. Inside and outside the home, contemporary and modern furniture can be blended to create an outstanding look.


Here’s how to ‘mix and match’


There are a few basic design rules to follow that should help make mixing modern and contemporary furniture a breeze for you.

  1. White space – ‘white space’ is the space between all the elements in your interior design. So, the gap between a modern table and a contemporary sofa, for example! As modern furniture is marked by clean, deliberate lines and lots of open space, it’s best to adhere to this principle. Contemporary furniture pieces that are bold and bright can be placed to surround classic modern furniture pieces that are sleek, with enough space between to highlight the airiness of your room.
  2. Visual hierarchy – a room should always have some sort of visual hierarchy, where design elements are seen in order of importance. This makes eclectic furniture pieces, such as contemporary and modern, blend together much better! You could have a curved, contemporary side table in your immediate view, complemented by a more muted, modern sofa or ottoman. Together, these pieces could create an inspiring visual contrast.
  3. Balance – ultimately, aim for balance in your space. Aim for not too many modern pieces, and not too many contemporary, but an even spread of both. Visually, you don’t want to confuse the eye. You could have two modern chairs, and a contemporary table, for example. Together, these elements should even out nicely. Balance is a steadfast rule in mixing furniture pieces, no matter what they are.

There you have it – the information that will hopefully leave you feeling better-equipped to make empowered decisions when it comes to your home décor scheme, particularly when you have your eye on both modern and contemporary furniture. Why not start discovering some new favourites in our own store today?