For a style, modern decor and furniture layouts stem from the German Bauhaus School of Design & Scandinavian Modern Design. The design is distinguished by the colors, finishes, and architecture of the room or object. Modern styles are often confused with contemporary styles and often times you'll find the phrases are used interchangeably. This is a common mistake. By definition, contemporary describes " of the moment" items. It's lively and ever-changing. Modern refers to styles developed from the mid-century.
Given the neutrality of those colors used, the design of the thing itself, while it is a teak coffee table or a arc floor lamp takes center stage. Sleek polished finishes, chrome, and stainless steel, in particular, are most popular among modern decor. You will often find sofas and finish tables accented with sleek polished surfaces, another indicator that the piece probably falls into the modern as opposed to the contemporary category.
Materials and finishes in contemporary pieces create a warm feeling as opposed to the cold and sometimes sterile impression left by modern products. Finish is especially important when picking modern lighting pieces. The finish often reveals whether the fixture is truly modern or contemporary. Modern furniture and lighting fixtures typically boast angular shapes with long low lines. This contrasts greatly with all traditional styles that use thicker, rounder shapes. These pieces are usually considered statement pieces since they call attention for their sharp and sleek designs.
To summarize, modern and contemporary styles are often confused with one another, but they're distinctly different. Contemporary designs are governed by fewer rules compared to modern ones. Modern styles utilize specific colors, finishes, and geometric shapes. Modern pieces give off a trendy, glossy feel while most other styles give off a type of warmth. When shopping for modern furnishings and lighting pay close attention to the lines and layout of the product in addition to the colour. These details will always provide you insight into whether a piece is truly modern or contemporary.