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Traditional VS Contemporary Furniture

Traditional VS Contemporary Furniture

When deciding on a style for your home it’s important to realize the subtle differences. Contemporary and traditional are two of the most popular styles for American homes, but these styles don’t complement each other; they actually work against each other. Traditional and Contemporary are two of the few styles that don’t play well together.


Traditional furniture really refers to any piece that resembles the styles of the 19th century or earlier. Furniture from this time period tends to be made of dark, heavy wood. The furniture is often large and heavy. Traditional style is still used often, especially in homes and offices in historic buildings. Traditional rooms are not ostentatious but often feel somewhat formal. Furniture pieces are often reproductions or “new takes” on furniture from an earlier time.

Most traditional style homes feature a living room with a sofa, loveseat and two chairs. The space can then be complemented with a coffee table, side tables, ottomans, rugs and more. At least one accent chair will help center the room and help it look like a place for conversation as opposed to watching TV. Wingback chairs are perfect for this décor. A Chesterfield sofa is also a classic piece of furniture that would complement a traditional-style home.

In the bedroom, traditional furniture will mean a quality bed with wooden dressers and drawers. The shaker style is perfect for a traditional bedroom with its lack of ornamentations and emphasis on craftsmanship. A Louis Phillipe bed also works nicely with a traditional theme.

The dining room in a traditional home is generally a separate room, often with some corner cabinets for storage and display. A traditional dining room table will be large and formal. It doesn’t have to be bulky, but instead is normally large enough to accommodate lots of guests. Look for rectangular tables with matching chairs. Bentwood and high chairs with upholstered seats are the most common. If you have space you may also want to consider a buffet table for the dining room.


Contemporary furniture refers to furniture styles that came about after the 19th century. These pieces tend to utilize lighter wood tones, brighter fabrics, and newer materials, like plastic or metal. A contemporary styled home features a focus on clean, light, and functional furniture. Contemporary style is often defined by clean lines with a casual atmosphere, open spaces, neutral colors, and elements and materials inspired by nature. The look hasn’t lost its focus or popularity over the years. Contemporary designs are some of the most sought-after in furniture décor.

If you have an eye for contemporary furniture, you’ve likely noticed that most of it is rather low profile. That means it typically sits close to the ground. Low-profile sofas, chairs, and loveseats instantly seem part of the contemporary design. A good example is this Perth sofa. Make sure the function of the design fits with your lifestyle. If you are sharing the space with someone who has mobility problems, the low-profile nature could create problems.

Bulky furniture will instantly feel out of place in a contemporary home. Look for sleek pieces. Lines can be rounded or sharp depending on the design. Look at this Marshall Bedroom Chest: it is sleek, yet eye-catching. It keeps a low profile while being useful in the space.

Whether you lean towards traditional or contemporary, it’s important to understand these styles are not meant to coordinate. They are hard to mix and match. So, it’s important to pick a style and stay true to the aesthetics.