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Despite being synonyms in day-to-day usage, the terms modern and contemporary have distinct meanings in home design. Our team of virtual exterior designers can combine your favorite elements and features into one cohesive plan to make your home the envy of the block.

Current values and trends — including concepts like environmentalism, globalism, minimalism and individualism — inform this ever-changing style. The materials used in homebuilding and design accents mark one of the key differences between modern and contemporary homes. True to the period, designers coupled these elements with then-groundbreaking materials such as acrylic, molded plastic, and chrome. Polished wood and sleek metals like steel commingle with organic elements, including plaster, travertine, and concrete.

Reflecting a more forward-looking perspective, contemporary furniture and accessories typically incorporate striking and unusual forms in interesting finishes. Color palettes are often warm and neutral, incorporating earthy hues like brown, rust, and olive.

The style also uses neutral colors, but it takes them in their natural form — picture faded sandstone or sun-bleached driftwood.

Homes in both styles often have open floor plans with large windows for natural light. As a reaction to the opulence and artificiality of previous time periods, the modern style prioritized function over form, so there is little clutter or ornamentation. Indoors, construction elements or exposed materials such as brick and concrete frequently make an appearance.

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