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interior design classes

How often do we use the word ‘Modern’ and ‘Contemporary’ to describe a form of style, never really knowing its true meaning?

The terms ‘Modern’ and ‘Contemporary’ are quite often misinterpreted to be the same. But in fact the literal meaning of the word ‘modern’ means a style that existed post World War-I and between the 20th century, while ‘contemporary’ refers to current or present day.

Once you understand the difference between these terms, it become relatively easy to incorporate it in your speech and your style. Having said that, if you have an avid interest in designing spaces in modern or contemporary style, an interior design diploma course can help you achieve an in-depth knowledge of this field.

Here, we have curated a list of points which will help you understand the difference between ‘Modern’ and ‘Contemporary’ styles in detail:

Modern Décor 

Modern designs include everything right from your floor to furniture and walls to celling. This style takes into account elements that are used in modern day designing. Construction materials like glass, concrete, steel, plastic and even wood is extensively used in a variety of styles. When it comes to design, you may notice that modern style is quite often merged with other styles too.

Almost all interior design classes emphasise on the true understanding of each style individually. Modern décor is often mistaken for being contemporary.

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Let us now understand few important elements that define modern style:


In modern style, the colours white and black are prominently used. Shades like red, yellow and blue (primary colours) are used sparingly, just to add a hint of vibrancy.

Upholstery and Furnishings

As steel and glass have been a prominent part of the modern era, these are commonly used for furnishings in the form of furniture, glass patrician or even glass tables. Solid tones or colour patterns are used for upholstery designs such as drapes, cushions etc.

Walls and Floor

White walls certainly add a touch of modernity but if you wish to break the monotony, it is advisable to use a solid colour on one wall.

Linoleum, plain wood and granite are significantly used as modern floorings. Hence, you may notice home with modern interiors often avoid rugs and carpets as they have a touch of oriental style to them.

Celebrity interior designers like Gauri Khan and Suzanne Khan are known for their modern and whimsical style of designs. They are known to effortlessly blend modern, contemporary and traditional styles which reflects quite evidently in their work.

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These details will now help you identify the modern style of interior designing better, however if you wish to delve deeper into this concept, you can enrol in an interior designing course and learn to curate style of your own.

Now, let’s learn about what defines contemporary designs:

Contemporary Décor

When it comes to Contemporary design, you can merge many ideas together. Here, you have the freedom to use your creative skills, use different forms of style and form something absolutely unique.

Here are a few tips that conveys what needs to be in your mind when designing any space in contemporary style:


You can play around with neutrals and monochromes. Black is a signature colour used to define contemporary style. Balance neutral walls with bright and bold accessories like paintings etc.

Upholstery and Furnishings

 Selective furniture pieces of geometric shapes and clean cuts add to the contemporary style. Upholstery material like natural fibres such as jute, linen, silk is commonly used.

Less is More

The whole idea is to get rid of clutter and have an open space. Stick to minimal or compact furniture as this is in trend.

Lighting & Frames

Recessed light is the “in” thing. You could focus the light in a painting or any article, as this adds an element of interest.

Wood frames, metal finishing and photos with matte finish are trending, since they tend to instantly add a glam factor.

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Big names like JJ Valaya, Monica Khanna and many more have created a niche with their contemporary style of designing. They have made ordinary designs look extraordinary and glamorous by taking a contemporary approach.

Some of the top interior design institutes in Hyderabad offer an elaborate curriculum on contemporary as well as modern designs.

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