Although sometimes mistaken for the same style, modern home designs and contemporary styles are not the same. The two styles have many similarities; however, overall, they are quite different from each other. And in some features, they are opposites.

Let’s take a closer look at the two styles:

Ironically, modern style house design began in the late 1800s. This style, known as the modernist movement, began in schools of design in Germany and was influenced by the ‘simple and functional’ approach of Scandinavian design. The style continued to develop until the 1950s. At that point, it transformed into the mid-century modern style between 1950 and 1970; and then into postmodernism between 1970 and 1990.

Mid-century modern design follows elements of modern design, with bright colors strategically placed. Postmodernism is different. It breaks the rules of traditional design and adds a whimsical approach. It is the opposite of the modern design in that form does not follow function, but form is the intention and function is less important.

Elements Of A Modern House Exterior
What makes a house modern in style? Generally speaking, in a modern home design, you will see rectangular shapes, many straight lines, flat or slanted roofs, and large expanses of glass. The style is based on simple clean design, free of decorative elements. Modern exteriors are often monochromatic in color, with natural elements incorporated, such as stained wood.

Contemporary Style
The contemporary style dates back to the 1970s, about the same time as the introduction of the postmodern movement. This contemporary movement was simply a blend of many styles, including modernism, art deco, futurism, and deconstructivism.

However, contemporary style is always changing depending on the trends of the day. It is not tied to a specific set of elements or a specific time. Instead, it evolves as styles change.

Elements Of A Contemporary House Plan

As previously mentioned, a contemporary house plan can be a mix of architectural styles incorporating trends that are currently popular. In fact, a contemporary design may not be modern at all. For example, a contemporary plan may boast of ample outdoor living spaces, open floorplans, and massive windows, similar to a modern style. But the exterior may be more traditional, farmhouse, or craftsman.

What are the similarities of the two styles? Both styles include:

  • Smooth, clean lines and uncluttered spaces.
  • An artistic flair that’s simple and does not include ornamentation
  • Use of wood in areas such as siding, structural beams and more

How are they different?
Modern style tends to be more rigid and geometric in its shapes, preferring strong lines. And the color palette leans towards the natural and neutral.

Contemporary Style is looser in its shapes, having more variations and often featuring curves. The color palette leans toward the contrasting, such as the use of black and white.

In conclusion, choosing between modern and contemporary is all about personal taste. Some people are not attracted to modern house design, while others cannot get enough of it. Artistic Contractors has designed and built custom homes in both styles. We can help you with your dream home. Contact us at (704) 280-3934 or to learn more about Artistic Contractors, one of the top custom home builders in Charlotte, NC.