Whether you are researching your dream home, or are crafting the perfect words to market your home to buyers, knowing the difference between key home styles is a must to undereds what to search for to buy a home. With more and more buyers looking for homes with updated amenities, the terms contemporary and modern are ever-present in real estate listings. In many descriptions, these words are used interchangeably and it can be confusing to know whether you are looking at a modern house or a contemporary one. To better communicate with real estate agents about your home — with what might be considered sleek features — these are some ways to distinguish between contemporary and modern.
Modern and contemporary defined
Modern is an art, design, and cultural movement that dates to the 1930s, with influences from Bauhaus in Germany. In the United States, Frank Lloyd Wright is undoubtedly the most well-known modern architect. Modern homes can be characterized as sleek and unadorned with clean lines. Contemporary design, while it also emphasizes minimalism, may also incorporate patterns or bold colors. Modern may be best characterized by white and neutral wood, while contemporary may add to that palette and add other styles with vintage elements.
A modern home may be easy to spot with its sleek look. Some key characteristics are a flat roof, large windows, and minimal outside decorations. Modern homes could also incorporate sustainable building materials such as bamboo or recycled wood.
When you walk Inside a modern home the first characteristic you’ll notice is openness. Open floor plans are a hallmark of modern home interiors with living rooms and kitchens as one large space. White walls, exposed wood, and floor-to-ceiling windows can all be classified as modern.
A contemporary home could have similar characteristics to a modern home from the outside. However, there are also some qualities that are distinctly contemporary. Sloped roofs may combine with expansive windows, as well as a mix of materials such as wood, exposed concrete, and steel. The front door may be painted in a bold color such as yellow, pink, or blue, as an indicator of the playfulness that may be found inside the home.
Inside a home it can be difficult to distinguish between contemporary and modern. Contemporary interiors, like modern ones, can have open floor plans and expansive windows. They may also have Mid-Century Modern design, which crosses over with modern with a strong use of teak wood and clean lines. Bold color accents, mixing different styles of furniture, patterns, and textures are all elements of contemporary interiors.
Contemporary interiors may also be more likely to incorporate fleeting home design trends such as metallics, velvet, and bold prints.
Where modern and contemporary meet
With the crossovers of contemporary and modern, it could be that one home has both elements — such as a modern home on the outside with a contemporary interior. When putting a home on the market, or searching for that dream home to buy, it can be more helpful to focus on the qualities that you are looking for or want to sell, rather than relying on terminology alone.
Finding the perfect home, or getting a home sold, is about advertising its standout features, no matter how architects or designers might classify them.