Identifying the Contemporary Furniture Style

Identifying the Contemporary Furniture Style

Modern Furniture

Modern furniture generally refers to furniture designed especially from the late 19th century until today that is greatly influenced by modernism. The movement was typified by the artistic shapes, forms, and colors, as well as the reduction of material usage, the focus on function instead of beauty, and a rejection of tradition. Post-World War II idealistic notions of cut, commoditization, and practicality of manufactured goods greatly influenced the aesthetics of the furniture as well. These influences gave birth to such furniture pieces as the arched chair, the cantilevered desk, the vertical panel chair, the pullout desk, and the modular furniture.


A major influence of modern furniture is the open space concept. This concept is epitomized by the minimalism of pieces that lack ornamentation or fancy finish. Although many pieces follow this shape, it can also be noted that there are pieces that deviate from this ideal, such as the cantilevered desk, the column-less desk, and the hutch desk. Some of these pieces are made of wood, others are made of glass and metal, while others are made of natural materials such as metals, leather, cloth, and plastics.


Another aspect of modern furniture is the use of colors, textures, and patterns. Black, grey, brown, or bright red are some common colors used for contemporary furniture, together with earthy shades of green, blue, yellow, orange, peach, and purple. Textures may be geometric, floral, or abstract. Furniture that combining natural materials with modern style components is called "heterotic" furniture. Examples include tables, couches, chairs, shelves, and lamps.


Some interior designers are of the view that contemporary furniture should complement the room's layout and color scheme. In this approach, designers give great attention to the space around the furniture, focusing on the textures and materials of the walls, ceilings, floors, and fittings. In some offices and homes, the layout of desks, tables, shelves, and cabinets is taken as the most important factor in choosing modern furniture.


The other aspect of modern furniture design is related to time periods. One can find furniture in various time periods, such as the 19th century Italian furniture, which follows a geometric shape. Another type of furniture design is known as the minimalistic design, which adheres to the rule that less is more. The furniture and its components are less elaborate, although, the materials may still have some decorative qualities.


In general, contemporary design is characterized by minimalism and geometric shapes, combined with a focus on clean lines. Minimalists use only a few geometric shapes, like squares, rectangles, or circles, while classicists tend to select more complex and detailed pieces. A third style, known as the transitional style, combines abstract designs with either European or local elements. A combination of modern furniture with appropriate period pieces may be used in order to create a more eclectic blend.

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