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.

233 Properties
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4
Beds
2F11/2
Baths
2,396
Sq.Ft.
2021
Year Built
1
Day on Site
21295899
MLS
What a masterpiece, Bring your pickiest buyers! Top quality build, amazing attention to details. Prepare to fall in love! This one of a kind modern marvel features 4 Bdrms 3 Bath + office on main,...
4
Beds
2F11/2
Baths
2,396
Sq.Ft.
2021
Year Built
1
Day on Site
21636137
MLS
What a masterpiece, Bring your pickiest buyers! Top quality build, amazing attention to details. Prepare to fall in love! This one of a kind modern marvel features 4 Bdrms 3 Bath + office on main,...
$1,069,000
Subdivision: Council Crest
4
Beds
3
Baths
3,701
Sq.Ft.
1990
Year Built
2
Days on Site
21493734
MLS
Designer touches with a contemporary flair. Understated Elegance in this West Hills treasure. Modern & sophisticated w/flair perched above downtown w/city views. Pristine condition & quality...
$850,000
Subdivision: Concordia
4
Beds
3F11/2
Baths
2,638
Sq.Ft.
2013
Year Built
2
Days on Site
21610719
MLS
Beautiful modern luxury in Concordia! Well-appointed and light-filled entertainer's home with full southern exposure, hardwood floors, open cable rail stairs, and custom cabinets with quartz...
$1,099,000
Subdivision: Boise
5
Beds
5F11/2
Baths
3,058
Sq.Ft.
2021
Year Built
2
Days on Site
21068093
MLS
Modern construction with luxury finishes throughout plus ADU & suite for extended family or supplemental income. Stunning City views from rooftop deck, walk to Mississippi shops/cafes/restaurant....
4
Beds
4
Baths
4,281
Sq.Ft.
2016
Year Built
3
Days on Site
21661430
MLS
Stunning contemporary perfectly tucked back on a private cul-de-sac. An entertainers dream featuring open floor plan, gourmet kitchen, wrap-around island, walk-in pantry, double office, soaring...
$1,200,000
Subdivision: Forest Heights
4
Beds
3
Baths
4,514
Sq.Ft.
2005
Year Built
4
Days on Site
21363275
MLS
Builder's custom home with NW Contemporary Design.Open Floor Plan w/custom finishes throughout.Sellers have beautifully updated this home.Guest Ste on Main.Chef's Kitchen w/Blue Star Platinum Series...
$4,099,000
Subdivision: Pearl District / Cosmopolitan
3
Beds
3F11/2
Baths
3,258
Sq.Ft.
2016
Year Built
4
Days on Site
21034282
MLS
Come live on the 28th floor of Portland's iconic condo tower - The Cosmopolitan. The city's finest Penthouse with views to match the well appointed interiors. Floor to ceiling windows from every room...
$900,000
Subdivision: Sellwood Westmoreland
4
Beds
4
Baths
2,852
Sq.Ft.
1947
Year Built
5
Days on Site
21061536
MLS
Classic vintage charm meets modern living.Exceptional renovation down to the studs in iconic Sellwood. Lots of big windows look out on incredible yard & Crystal Springs. Quality of life in this prime...
5
Beds
3F11/2
Baths
4,297
Sq.Ft.
2003
Year Built
5
Days on Site
21611128
MLS
Great potential for multi-generation layout. A+ Condo alternative. Gracious & Spacious luxury. Views of Mountains, River, City. Serenity, security-high above city. Minutes to downtown. Custom...
$1,350,000
Subdivision: Mt Tabor
4
Beds
2F21/2
Baths
4,072
Sq.Ft.
1991
Year Built
5
Days on Site
21491241
MLS
Captivating contemporary on serene cul-de-sac wows w/forever VIEWS of Mt Hood from celebrated Mt Tabor perch. Transcendent, inspired, light-drenched, great room & sun-kissed spaces such as gourmet,...
4
Beds
2
Baths
2,585
Sq.Ft.
1941
Year Built
5
Days on Site
21589457
MLS
OFFERS due 4/20 at 4 pm. Modern Scandinavia meets Portland sensibility in this redesigned and fully remodeled bungalow that opens to a 232 foot deep backyard featuring majestic firs, beautiful garden...
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