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Apr 29, 2019

Modern vs Contemporary: Know Your Aesthetic With Basis Furniture

To many, “modern” & “contemporary” are interchangeable. Sleek lines, tonal palettes, exposed wood or steel, minimalist décor. You call it modern, they call it contemporary… right? But that is not the case, so here’s a crash course on how to tell them apart.


“Modern” refers to a design movement that began towards the end of the 19th century, through to the 1960s. As far as modern furniture is concerned, “less is more” is the general rule in terms of design, with form following function.

Think earthy tones, natural materials like wood, leather, and stone with streamlined silhouettes. Towards the end of this period came the ever-popular and well referenced “mid-century modern”.


Contrastingly, “contemporary” is about the new, the now, the ever-evolving, popular styles of the present day. It borrows from modernism, minimalism, ‘Scandinavian’ & Art Deco, but without relying on any one in particular.

Just like modern furniture, contemporary furniture can feature chrome, glass and wood. The lines can be asymmetrical with sharp and prominent edges and organic silhouettes.

At the end of it all, it boils down to definition. Contemporary is simply what’s of the now and it may even incorporate modern design elements. Modern, however, has a distinguishable aesthetic that emphasizes crisp lines, warm neutrals and balance.

The team at Basis Furniture is less concerned about labelling and more with what works for you, your taste, your home or personalised space. They stock pieces that span both styles, and do so within budget so get in touch for more options or for an aesthetics debates that really matters.

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