With the two words being seemingly synonymous with each other from the perspective of many people, and the two styles including some similar elements, many people confuse modern with contemporary furniture design – although there are numerous differences between the two styles.

However, although the two styles remain different to each other, the question looms: can you mix modern and contemporary furniture?


How to mix modern and contemporary


It may be easier to mix modern and contemporary furniture if you have a good understanding of the varied meanings of each design style. 

Here are the definitions of the two furniture styles, outlining what makes each aesthetic different.


What is modern furniture?


Modern design and furniture style refers to a historical period spanning the early to mid-20th century. Modern design was established during the height of the modern art movement. The unique style emphasised simplicity of form and function, which are treated equally in this style.

During the 1950s and 1960s, the modern style evolved into mid-century modern.

Typical features of modern furniture and design include smooth surfaces, straight lines, simplicity, minimalistic designs, the mixing of wood and metal materials, warm tones, neutral colours, and earthy palettes.


What is contemporary furniture?


Contemporary furniture incorporates today’s design styles rather than referring to a certain era of time. This design style is continually changing to match current design trends and popular styles of our current era. Contemporary design does incorporate some elements of modern design, but it also has its differences, which are mainly due to the fact that it is not attached to a specific era. 

The decor styles of the current times will always be regarded as contemporary as each decade passes. Contemporary furniture during the 2020s, however, generally consists of bold colours, neutral colours and tones, sharp minimalism, and clean lines.


Modern vs contemporary


Put simply, modern design is from a previous era in time, whereas contemporary design is a style that reflects current trends and the here and now. 

The use of lines is one of the most significant contrasts between modern and contemporary furniture. Straight lines are preferred in modern furniture, whereas wide sweeping curves tend to be used in contemporary furniture.

Meanwhile, simple, well-ordered interiors with smooth, clear lines and creative expression are common in both furniture styles.


Can you mix modern with contemporary?


The short answer to that question is: yes! But when combining modern with contemporary furniture, try using pieces of furniture and decor with similar lines, wood tones, or colours to create a cohesive look. Pieces should complement or blend with one another, which is achievable with both modern and contemporary furniture.

Mixing modern with contemporary furniture is not unusual; in fact, there is actually a design style called modern-contemporary design, which refers to a style in which all of the elements of a design scheme come from the current era.

Limiting the colour palette is the easiest approach to guarantee that your room looks great when mixing modern with contemporary furniture.

Be cautious of mixing warm and cold colours, as well as wood tones, as this will result in a less aesthetically pleasing design.

Armed with that formula for success, what are you waiting for? Go right ahead and experiment to your heart’s content, in the knowledge that when wise choices are made, modern and contemporary looks can definitely work well together in furniture!