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Blog Post

February 5, 2021


If you say modern and contemporary styles are interchangeable to an interior designer, you will undoubtedly receive a disapproving look. But in reality, these styles are tricky to differentiate from the regular eye due to overlapping traits. The difference is one that even staggers many real estate professionals, homeowners, builders and architects. It is hard to draw the line. 

Here is a quiz to test your knowledge!

Photo 1:

Photo 2:

(Photo by Hugh Jefferson Randolph Architects)

Photo 3:


Photo 4:

Here are the answers!

Photo 1: Contemporary 

Photo 2: Modern 

Photo 3: Modern 

Photo 4: Contemporary

How did you do?

Here is the difference...

Modern: Modern design refers to a period of time. This means it is a timeless, defined style and does not change. Modern design reflects the clean, unembellished style that was created in the 1920's-1950's that incorporates simple lines, cube-shaped structures, flat roofs, monochromatic color palettes and exposed steel/concrete. Modern design is also distinguished by its use of natural materials such as leather, teak, linen and wood. To breathe an expansive space, furniture is very open and walls are often white.

Contemporary: On the other hand, contemporary design refers to what is popular or used right now. It's an ever-changing style and blends pieces and trends from all different eras. For this reason, contemporary design lends itself to be more eclectic. It has playful colors and combines materials. Right now, popular home trends might define contemporary style as having large windows, an open floor plan and natural materials. But in ten years, something else might be considered contemporary. A major point to understand about contemporary style is that the elements do not have to be "designed" right now. There are many components from mid-century modern design that are still popular today and are used in contemporary designs.

Starr Homes is Kansas City’s premier custom home builder in the greater Kansas City metro area. If you are considering building a new home, Starr Homes can transform your concepts into reality. Call us at 913.481.2680.