We hear and read almost every day about contemporary design or contemporary art, but what exactly is that? How can we define something that is so diverse and universal at the same time? And that it is changing and writing down the new pages in the history of design step by step, every day? Is “contemporary” just a blanket term we use to define things that are going on right now? And can we consider it a legit style or is it a term we use until we find a more appropriate noun that will define a specific movement in design? So confusing, right?

Can We Differentiate Design Styles

This can seem like a mission impossible today when mixing and matching is at its peak. Many aspects of different styles are overlapping, and some things are just too similar, so we can agree that there are no strict boundaries in design. Even if you are into design, you have to admit that it can be hard to describe something like a clear example of only one style. There is always going to be a bit of something else, another influence, or a resemblance. And sometimes it is all a matter of perspective and personal preferences.

Defining Contemporary

If we look up in dictionaries, we can find that the term contemporary is used to describe things that are occurring, belonging, or living at the same time, now, in the present. But we cannot take this term too literally because things that are last season can also be described as contemporary design. And not just last season, generally speaking, everything from 2000 onwards can be considered as contemporary design. So we cannot rely on traditional definitions and strict rules because the design does not care about that.

Modern and Contemporary Design Is Not the Same

Groundbreaking. How many times have you noticed that people use these terms as synonyms? However, they are not. Although we could say that contemporary design is now modern, it is still not the same thing as modern design. Modern design refers to a period around the ’50s and ’70s in the 20th century. For example, 20’ were the years of art deco.

So there is that historical difference of at least half a century, and there are more differences in terms of style and materials. For example, the modern design used a lot of wood, while in the era of contemporary design, the focus is more on metal design, glass, stone, iron, etc. Generally speaking, we could say that contemporary aesthetics is colder, while modern was slightly warmer, in terms of materials and colors.

How Can We Recognize an Example of Contemporary Design?

Contemporary trends in designs are leaning towards form as their primary focus, rather than function. It is all about aesthetics. The form is just another term for shape, and in contemporary design, we can see a lot of eclectic examples, mixing clean and straight lines with curves. For example, a simple fireplace shaped like a box with straight lines and a piece of curved furniture or sculpture.

In terms of colors, it is hard to tell what is the color palette of contemporary design, but it seems that neutral shades, nudes, beige tones are prevailing. Although it is not wrong, or not contemporary, to use some bold dark shades like navy, royal green, deep purple, and of course, black. They are often combined with neutrals because they complement them so well.

Another essential aspect of contemporary design is light, lots of light, with a particular accent to natural lighting. Bright space with large windows, often from the floor to the ceiling, the so-called windowed walls are a must for contemporary interior design. Lighting is also used to accent a specific detail like a painting on the wall.

Is Reinventing In the Core of Every Style?

Today it is so hard to come up with something that has never been seen before, or it is completely unique. And that is not the case with design only; we see it in fashion and art too. What is contemporary combines the best ideas from the various periods in the past and creates something new and inspiring. It is all like a chain reaction, and in a way, it all evolves continuously.

Is Contemporary Design for Me?

Is it? We believe that everyone has some elements of contemporary design in its home. Whether it is metal-inspired wall art, a piece of furniture, or a lamp, it is up to you to add more if you want and arrange everything to be in style if that is important to you. If you like the aesthetics of this era, its sleek lines, and clear shapes, then you must be enjoying it because shops are full of decorations that are keeping up with the contemporary aesthetic. If this is not your cup of tea, remember, that does not make you less contemporary.