Contemporary Modern Design: What It Is and Resource Guide


Contemporary modern design is a term that is often confused with contemporary design. The two terms define two different styles. One of the best ways to discover contemporary modern design is to learn about mid-century modern design from the 1960s, and then look at examples of how this style is interpreted for a contemporary audience.

Modernism and Mid-Century Modern Design

Modernism began during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and is a term most commonly applied to forward-thinking designers, artisans and architects who embraced a new way of looking at design and eschewed historical styles.

Modernism changed and morphed over the first half of the 20th century, and ultimately gave way to Mid-Century Modernism, which is a term used to describe developments in design, architecture and urban development from the end of the Great Depression to around the middle of the 1950s and 60s. This style was informed by the principles of Frank Lloyd Wright and his ideas of organic architecture, as well as Scandinavian designs and simple, natural shapes.

It is this design style that reigns today as the most significant modern design form from the 20th century, and it continues to influence interiors, architecture, furnishings and accessories today. This fusion of mid-century modern style with contemporary aesthetics is the ultimate definition of contemporary modern design.

Contemporary Modern Design Resources

There are many resources online that bring contemporary modern design to homeowners. These sources offer contemporary versions of popular modern design pieces, and also carry contemporary designs that are influenced by modern styles.

Some of the web's top resources are: is a website dedicated to selling contemporary modern design pieces. Most of their wares are from contemporary designers whose collections are inspired by the mid-century modern genre. They embrace simple, well-made products, often with a quirky edge and a quiet elegance. Choose from lines such as Blu Dot, Dwell Studio, Jason Miller, Thomas Paul and Vitra. Each of these companies offer designs that are perfect for the contemporary home, but will also mix well with vintage pieces from the 1950s and 1960s.

Design Within Reach

Design Within Reach is a true contemporary modern design store, which sells classic modern furnishings from iconic modern designers such as Herman Miller, Knoll, Cassina, Eames, Saarinen, Bertoia, George Nakashima, and George Nelson.These designers and design firms defined many generations of interiors, architecture, furniture and accessory design. These designs have stood the test of time and, while many of them were designed for the 1950s or 1960s household, they are still relevant for today's interiors.

In 2002, was founded under the belief that good design "should be presented in an inspired, knowledgeable and friendly manner." The website offers furnishings and accessories from luminary design firms such as Alessi, Artemide, Flos, Kartell, and Vitra. Their lively mix of mid-century modern pieces and contemporary accessories includes classics such as the Egg Chair, designed by Arne Jacobsen in 1958, as well as the Designfenzider Vasemaker vase by Rod Gllad in 2001. This well-edited group of designs is an excellent example of contemporary modern design at work.

A web magazine/design blog dedicated to all aspects of contemporary modern design, reveals the latest news, reviews and recommendations for products and services. The blog, which is published by Harry Wakefield in Quebec, Canada, discusses everything from for everything from architecture, and interior design to furniture, lighting, floorcoverings, books and more.Browse through Wakefield's design blog to get the scoop on the newest and latest in innovative design.


Dwell magazine is the definitive publication of contemporary modern design. This luscious interior design/architecture publication believes that good design should be a part of everyday life. The publication demonstrates that living in a modern home and with modern pieces is comfortable and accessible, not cold, hard or unwelcoming. They celebrate modernism and mid-century modern design while also embracing everything in-the-now.

Integrating Contemporary Modern Style

If you are interested in contemporary modern design browse through the resources listed above, look at photos, learn about mid-century modern style and do your research on contemporary furniture and accessory designers. You will quickly begin to see the correlation between the design principles of the mid-century masters and how they have informed many of today's artisans and craftsmen.

Was this page useful?
Contemporary Modern Design: What It Is and Resource Guide