Sixteen Mile Stand, Ohio
12130 Royal Point Dr
Cincinnati, OH 45249
(513) 247-9100

The Differences Between Modern & Contemporary Furniture Design April 20, 2020

Sixteen Mile Stand, Symmes
The Differences Between Modern & Contemporary Furniture Design, Symmes, Ohio

In common conversation, the words “contemporary” and “modern” are often used interchangeably, and in most contexts, they often do mean the same thing. However, when it comes to furniture and interior design, the two words refer to very distinct approaches to style. If you’re involved in a decorating project, it helps to understand the difference between modern and contemporary furniture

Modern vs. Contemporary Design

What Is Modernism?

Whether you’re talking about furniture or building design, the word “modern” actually refers to the modernist movement, which began in the late 1800s. The modernists traditionally focused on a clean, minimalist aesthetic and simple materials, partly in response to the elaborate decorations of the Victorian era. The Art Deco movement of the 1920s and mid-century modern styles fall under the umbrella of modern design. 

What Is Contemporary Design?

contemporary furnitureUnlike modernism, which refers to a specific movement, “contemporary” is a much more ambiguous label. In general, contemporary means whatever design trends are popular at the moment, so the style it describes varies widely over time.

Like modernism, contemporary design focuses on simplicity and minimalism but with harder lines and bolder contrasts. Whereas modern pieces usually feature light wood and gentle curves, today’s contemporary furniture designers focus on crisp lines and often use metal, glass, or very dark stains. To maximize the effect, contemporary spaces also feature monochromatic palettes of black, white, and gray with small pieces of heavily saturated color as accents.


As the largest showroom of contemporary pieces in the Cincinnati and Dayton area, BOVA Contemporary Furniture offers thousands of innovative and beautifully designed items. Since 1980, they’ve proudly stayed on the cutting edge of today’s styles, providing designers and homeowners alike with incredible contemporary furniture you won’t find anywhere else. Visit their website to find your inspiration today or take a virtual tour. Call (513) 247-9100 to speak with a representative about your unique furniture needs.

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