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Are you confused between Modern and Contemporary kitchen designs?

Are you confused between Modern and Contemporary kitchen designs? Is there a difference between the two? These questions have come up time and time again in many of our client consultations. Although both styles have overlapping characteristics and distinguishing between the two can be difficult, it is not one in the same.

To cut a long story short, Modern design (mid-century modern) refers to a period of time; it is a design style that was created in the 1920′s-1950′s. It doesn’t change, it is a defined style, and will remain such for ever.

During this period emphasis was placed on clean, unfussy lines; functionality; minimal embellishments; extensive use of natural materials and a natural flow from indoors to outdoors. Other characteristics were sharp corners; straight, horizontal lines; classically designed lighting; little or no use of decorative accessories; an eye-catching contrast between light, calming neutrals on the walls with dark hardware and countertops (or vice-versa). Modern kitchens were sleek, streamlined spaces with simple designs, shiny appliances and a distinct lack of clutter.

Well, contemporary by definition means “existing, occurring, or living at the same time; belonging to the same time.” Contemporary design is ever changing. It is of the moment. Therefore, what is popular or used right now.

Contemporary design is very much about clean lines which overlap with mid-century Modern design, but there’s an emphasis on comfort– a rejection of the stark look that sometimes characterises Modern design. Simplistic, monochromatic finishes; less wood but other materials such as concrete or stone; brightly coloured glass or metallic backsplashes; focus points; art pieces; and open-plan living between the kitchen, dining and living areas are also key components of Contemporary design.

As you can see, the lines between what constitutes Modern and Contemporary are often blurred. Even though a kitchen that incorporates traditional elements from various eras can be Contemporary, it cannot be Modern as that refers to a specific period in time. What was previously considered mid-century Modern is now being reproduced and recreated in Contemporary kitchens.

I always welcome your comments, questions or feedback.

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