First Apartment Home Decor: Modern vs. Contemporary

When researching which type of decor to go for in your first apartment, you’ve probably come across the terms “modern” and “contemporary.” While the names may make these styles seem similar – and they are to an extent – there are some crucial differences as well. In this guide, we’ll outline the differences between these two popular styles of home decor and how to choose which one is right for your first apartment.

What’s the difference?

Modern home decor is a style that is, as the name suggests, based on the design elements that are popular today. The word contemporary typically means the same thing as modern, but in the context of decor, it’s a very fluid style that changes quickly over time, adopting the latest styles and trends.

Modern decor incorporates natural materials, neutral tones, and smooth shapes to create a look that feels refined and modern, but also timeless and classic. By contrast, contemporary decor goes all-in with glass and metal finishes, bold colors, and crazy light fixtures and art pieces for a very unique style.

More affordable: Modern

While it may seem counterintuitive, modern design actually features fewer trendy pieces and more simple fundamentals than contemporary design. This means that the pieces you buy will work for your style for longer, whereas contemporary pieces are often out of style within a year. Many of the pieces you already own will probably work great in a modern style, which can save you even more money.

More unique: Contemporary

One advantage of contemporary decorating is that it gives a lot of room for creativity in your design. If you like using unique pieces to create a style that won’t be found anywhere else while still being on-trend and modern, contemporary decor might be a great style for you. The only downside here is that to be contemporary, your creativity has to be somewhat within the lines of the current trends.

More comfortable: Modern

Modern decor is a very comfortable style that uses the sleek lines and boxy shapes common in design today while still feeling natural and homey. One key element to this style is the use of natural materials like wood, stone, and leather. By contrast, contemporary design is an ultramodern style that uses more metal and synthetic materials.

More versatile: Modern

As stated earlier, modern decor is cheaper because it uses more classic pieces and can most likely work with any furniture or decorations you already own. This also means that the style is more versatile and can easily be tweaked to fit the pieces you already have or can find at a good price. Modern style can also be combined with other styles to look like rustic modern or organic modern.

Best overall for first-time renters: Modern

While modern and contemporary are both great styles of decor, modern decor is typically the best option for a first-time renter. This style lets you save money, use what you already have, and work around your apartment, which might not have the most up-to-date paint colors or furniture.

This verdict doesn’t mean you can’t do contemporary style, though. In the end, it’s your choice – which is one of the best things about having your own place!

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