Modern, Contemporary, or Minimalist? The One Home to Consider

Can a home be considered modern or modernist, simply from its exterior? Does the design of a home instantly make it modern? There’s some confusion as to what defines a modern home, and much of it comes from real estate agents and homeowners who interchange “modern” with “contemporary” and “minimalist”.

Let’s discuss what makes a real modern home, and offer some of the reasons why you should consider buying or building one.

The Modern Home

The modernist home design was conceived as a response to the mass-market industrialist society that the world was fast becoming by the early 20th century. A number of notable architects and designers who were part of the modernist movement were from the mid-20th century (the 1950s), but the movement itself began as early as 1900. By the mid-20th century, they felt that their present-day society was becoming increasingly achievement- and consumption-oriented, causing people to become more emotionally troubled and feeling less fulfilled.

So, in an effort to address these problems, modernist architects and designers practiced 4 basic principles:

  • Form follows function
  • Use modernist materials
  • Less is more
  • Create open-plan interiors

To see how these four basic principles of modernist design came together in a home or building, you can see some concrete modernist examples here.

Modern vs. Contemporary vs. Minimalist

The confusion with these three architectural and design styles is understandable, because, in reality, the Modernist movement gave rise to the Contemporary and Minimalist styles.

The Contemporary style came about sometime in the 1970s, but it’s not firmly rooted in any specific time period, as this style follows whatever is trending and is constantly evolving. Minimalism is more of the “less is more” modernist principle taken to the extreme, and one of its most famous champions was Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, who first practiced minimalism in the 1920s. He did so as he was one of the pioneers of modernist architecture.

Notable differences among the three are their time periods, but all three architecture/design principles all use clean lines and simpler forms and do away with traditional furnishings and décor.  It’s possible and acceptable to have designs that are “modern-contemporary” or “modern-minimalist”. Now that you have an idea of what a modern home is, should you think about buying or building one? Consider a couple of their benefits:

Easily Sourced Materials

If you choose to build, sourcing the materials can be both easy and less costly if you stick with the traditional stuff – wood, glass, steel, and reinforced concrete. It’s also encouraged to used recycled materials if they can still prove useful. Adhering to this basic principle of modern architecture will also guarantee your home will be both durable and timeless.

And today, no build site is too remote, since you can now order materials on the internet and have them delivered. You can even buy steel online.

Balancing Cost and Value

Buying an already-built modern home can be out of reach of the average buyer, and there are several reasons for that.

While it’s not unusual for building a modern home to have a high price tag, this doesn’t always have to be true. It’s entirely feasible to build or buy a decently-sized modern home, even with a small budget. You can keep it simple, or go even farther and make it modular–there are architects or architecture students that have been able to make affordable, modern homes—as long as you don’t mind the small size.

Final notes

When it comes to modern dwellings, there are tiny differences between a modern, contemporary and minimalist design. You buy or build, go big, go small or go modular; it all really depends on your budget and your needs. Whatever you decide, you’ll have a charming, timeless, sturdy dwelling, with a modern home.

Meta Title: Modern, Contemporary, or Minimalist? The One Home to Consider

Meta Description: Is there a difference between Modern, Contemporary, and Minimalist design for homes? Read on and find out which type of home you should consider, and why.

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