How Contemporary Exterior Designs Differ from Modern Ones

Each style has unique characteristics that allow us to categorize its themes and elements to help better communicate our design visions, whether to clients or designers. Contemporary, often misunderstood as modern, is quite inclusive in that it encompasses a methodology of structuring a home based on its purposes. As modern relies on early to mid 20th century inspiration, contemporary focuses on the new and upcoming approaches to design. Forward-thinking and innovative describe this style, as it will always be a masterful representation of how we can best achieve efficiency and style in our home.

Contemporary designs tend to exceed our highest expectations with their sleek and inspiring sense of shape and form. Modern homes tend to have a defined distinction between different portions of the home and their purposes (i.e. spaces meant for living, working, or playing). Contemporary has a much more creative approach to the purposes of each room by figuring out how they can overlap or work together, rather than separating them. This exudes the innovative culture of contemporary design, and makes for a much more inventive and interesting layout.

Modern exteriors tend to rely on clear cut linear qualities making it easy to understand the exact purpose and layout of the design, even though it may be one-of-a-kind. On the other hand, contemporary designs tend to leave one curious and intrigued as to what part of the home we are exactly looking at. With an unexpected layout and a unique purpose, contemporary exteriors display the dynamic and alluring potential of a home. One thing contemporary homes have on modern is their focus on sustainability and their environmentally conscious choice of materials. Often you will find concrete, metals, and mixed materials, that may very well be repurposed or salvaged pieces, as part of these designs.

Another key indicator of contemporary exteriors is the unusual intersections of materials and structural elements that make up the home. So to simplify matters for a easier understanding of the differentiation: modern is more ordered and expected while contemporary is leans heavily on the element of surprise and lacks a defined order of things. To help explain these concepts better we will give examples of both modern and contemporary homes and explain why they fall into their respective category of style. Bare with us as the pluralities of the contemporary style can be harder to pin down because of its potential to be inspired from various strains of any other styles.

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Via Houzz

This contemporary home does indeed have features that might make one easily mistake it for a modern design. From its sharp angles and boxy nature, it is similar to the structure of modern design, but how its parts are arranged is was gives it the definitive contemporary presence. The linear elements don’t quite line up as expected and the use of an uneven zinc surface of the walls gives it that innovative twist that is typically a strong signifier of the contemporary style.


Via Home Design Lover

This home is very much a modern design with its linear layout and combination of white and wood surfaces. Just as we mentioned before, in a modern designed home, each space has a definitive purpose rather than the versatile possibilities of contemporary layouts. This house has defined rooms and outdoors areas that serve their singular purpose just as they were intended to do. Modern designs tend to focus on class and comfort rather than creativity, and in this regard this home fills all of its expectations and in a clean, streamlined fashion.


Via Lushomes

With an undeniable contemporary structure, this unique home has pulled together metal, glass, and wood to create an innovative and eye-catching design that is not only beautiful but well-equipped. It’s topsy turvy assemblage of forms gives it the contemporary vibe that we spoke of earlier. This home is a great example of thinking outside of the box, making it harder to to really know where it begins and ends. The spaces could be utilized for a number of purposes and it lacks the clear structure and framing of modern homes.


Via Home Design Lover

From its minimalist appearance to its horizontal composition, this home is modern through and through. Also note the linear facets that line the walls to create a shield from direct sunlight, which in fact is one of the key traits of a modern home. They tend to have a structure that was built in response to the elements and makes the home as comforting as possible, hence the nice shaded addition.

We’d love to hear what questions you may have about the difference between modern and contemporary because we are sure that their are many. It is hard to separate these two design styles because they both have some influence from their predecessors, but from finding key elements in each one we can begin to understand the different approaches to home design. This is similar to many artists’ movements that tended to overlap in some sense of the word, making it very difficult for observers to see the difference between the two. Nevertheless, it is important to understand these differences and approach your home design with all the information on the table.

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