Modern vs. Contemporary Design: What's the Difference?

Contemporary or modern style may bring visions of Art Deco and boxy or geometrical shapes when it comes to architecture but are contemporary and modern the same thing? Modern actually refers to an era that is now past while contemporary design is all about the now and future.Modern vs. Contemporary Design: What's the Difference?

When we talk about mid modern or midcentury modern that could bring visions of retro, unique curb to architecture and furniture design, and Art Deco of the 1920s. The contemporary is all here and now, regardless of when that is. According to Wikipedia, "contemporary architecture" is the "architecture of the 21st century. No single style is dominant; contemporary architects are working in several different styles, from postmodernism and high-tech architecture to highly conceptual and expressive forms and designs, resembling sculpture on an enormous scale"

In other references, modern design can often feature wood and earth elements while contemporary design features more state-of-the-art materials, glass, and metals. For lack of a better term, you can think the modern design is warmer whereas contemporary is cooler when we're talking about colors and materials.

Modern verse contemporary does have similarities. Aesthetics are both minimal. Most layouts for modern and contemporary don't have a lot of knickknacks, busy walls, or textiles, and most of the patterns are seen in accent pieces like pillows and vases.

Both modern and contemporary have clean architectural lines. These seem to be the signature architectural design in both design elements and they both lend themselves to an open space ambiance or feel.

Can contemporary go out of style?

Modern vs. Contemporary Design: What's the Difference?Yes. But sometimes these modern or contemporary styles can offer a timeless look if you stage it correctly. Most landmarks of contemporary architecture are typically the work of a small group of architects who work on an international scale we're talking about large projects and buildings across the world. Put that into a smaller's perspective and you have architecture experts creating modern style homes and luxury estate in the Portland area.

While there is definitely a distinction between the two, many real estate websites and agents classify them as one and the same. Midcentury modern is more of the term retro and designs by architects like John Lautner, A. Quincy Jones, George Nelson, and Rudolph Schindler just to name a few. Many of these became popular in California but there are few along the northern West Coast that work on modern homes and designs including Opsis Architecture known for its efforts in sustainability, William Kaven, an innovative multidisciplinary design guru in Portland and Beebe Skidmore, creating residential, public, and commercial projects throughout the Portland metro area.

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If you're looking specifically for a modern design or contemporary architecture in Portland real estate, start your online search here. We specialize in high-end, luxury properties including midcentury modern, postmodern design, and contemporary.

239 Properties
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$1,325,000
Subdivision: Bridlemile/Southwest Hills
5
Beds
3F11/2
Baths
3,390
Sq.Ft.
1955
Year Built
3
Days on Site
21392511
MLS
Unique 1955 Mid-Century masterpiece professionally restored and reimagined on a secluded ~1/2 acre property in great SW Hills location. Modern design and smart upgrades mesh beautifully with...
5
Beds
3F11/2
Baths
2,896
Sq.Ft.
1993
Year Built
3
Days on Site
21144026
MLS
Exceptional contemporary home in the wonderful neighborhood. New roofs, 3-car garage. 4 bedrooms, 3.1 baths, office can be converted to bedroom. Hardwood floors on the main. Huge family rm w/ gas...
$629,000
Subdivision: Charbonneau
2
Beds
2
Baths
1,891
Sq.Ft.
1990
Year Built
4
Days on Site
21079124
MLS
Soaring ceilings and a phenomenal view greet you. L/R has blt-ins, gas f/p and floor-ceiling windows. Limestone counters, farm sink, SS appls make for a WOW kitchen. Has nook and dining room. Master...
$944,900
Subdivision: South Portland
4
Beds
2F21/2
Baths
3,645
Sq.Ft.
1979
Year Built
4
Days on Site
21150415
MLS
Incredible views-this home is built to entertain Huge deck & large windows- yearround mountain/city/river view Open floorplan upper level- wraparound deck Over 800 sqft deck space w views Updated...
$639,000
Subdivision: South Tabor
3
Beds
2
Baths
3,084
Sq.Ft.
1955
Year Built
4
Days on Site
21423283
MLS
Sprawling mid-century modern on an oversized, corner lot. This home features large, bright rooms with casement windows, hardwood floors and beautiful mahogany woodwork. Main floor has 3 bedrooms and...
3
Beds
2
Baths
1,721
Sq.Ft.
2007
Year Built
4
Days on Site
21295103
MLS
IMPRESSIVE views, REMARKABLE value at $406 PSF. Zestimate $887,000! Large 3BED/2BA condo on one level + terrace & TWO parking & large storage. NE orientation overlooks tranquil water feature with...
Open 4/12
16319 SE Pleasant Valley Pkwy Happy Valley, OR 97086
3
Beds
2F11/2
Baths
2,287
Sq.Ft.
2021
Year Built
4
Days on Site
21246016
MLS
Our sale center open Thursday- Monday 12-5pm. Maplewood floor plan. Ichijo provides RARE but standard special features including self close piano finish cabinetry w/ organizers and pull-down shelves,...
Open 4/12
16470 SE Pleasant Valley Pkwy Happy Valley, OR 97086
5
Beds
3
Baths
2,561
Sq.Ft.
2021
Year Built
4
Days on Site
21269265
MLS
Our sale center open Thursday- Monday 12-5pm. Rosewood floor plan. Ichijo provides RARE but standard special features including self close piano finish cabinetry w/ organizers and pull-down shelves,...
Open 4/12
16440 SE Pleasant Valley Pkwy Happy Valley, OR 97086
4
Beds
2F11/2
Baths
2,384
Sq.Ft.
2021
Year Built
4
Days on Site
21645119
MLS
Our sale center open Thursday- Monday 12-5pm. Ironwood floor plan. Ichijo provides RARE but standard special features including self close piano finish cabinetry w/ organizers and pull-down shelves,...
3
Beds
2
Baths
2,673
Sq.Ft.
1965
Year Built
4
Days on Site
21383887
MLS
Amazing midcentury modern home with cedar plank vaulted ceilings, open floor plan, custom cabinetry and walls of windows. An artists delight. Ensuite primary bedroom with sitting area. 2 additional...
$789,000
Subdivision: University Park
4
Beds
2F11/2
Baths
2,201
Sq.Ft.
2021
Year Built
4
Days on Site
21673159
MLS
Another masterpiece by Andre. Clean, modern lines and artistic flair highlight this elegant home by renowned builder. Gourmet kitchen with large island opens to spacious great room. Stunning, vaulted...
$975,000
Subdivision: Hosford-Abernethy
5
Beds
3F11/2
Baths
2,552
Sq.Ft.
2017
Year Built
4
Days on Site
21053429
MLS
Your search is over for a light-filled, contemporary home in the heart of Hosford-Abernethy! The open flow of this home with a show-stopping kitchen and formal dining area makes it an entertainer's...
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