Do you long for a simple home decor as cool and stylish as you are? Then it might be time to pin down your personal interior design style.

Despite how often they are used interchangeably, contemporary and modern design are two different styles with their own unique strengths. So how do you decide which to go for? Answer these 4 questions to get clear on which design is for you, and then get shopping!

1.  Do You Want to Connect to Nature or to the Future?

Modern design was created and popularized from the 1920s to the 1950s. It’s a defined style that includes natural materials, industrial accents, and large windows which allow the viewer to observe the greenery outside. In turn, contemporary design is an ever-changing style that shifts with the trends of the day. This means that contemporary design is always innovative and almost futuristic, suited best for those willing to take a bolder approach to their interiors.

2. What’s Your Preferred Palette?

Your relationship to color is an important factor to consider when choosing between modern and contemporary design. Modern design is known for whitewashed walls, natural wood grains and undyed or muted fabrics. When colour is introduced into a space, the palette usually consists of warm tones that have an earthy, organic feel. The only common departure from this is when modern homes are infused with an Art Deco flair. This creates exciting bursts of bright, deeply saturated color. These pops are used sparingly as accents rather than as part of the foundational palette. Modern design color elements create spaces that are airy, calm, and functional.

In turn, contemporary design is guided by which palettes, materials and textures are currently in fashion. In 2017, sleek finishes and tones are king in contemporary design . Imagine a space filled with gray tones and simple, monochromatic finishes such as leather, zink, laminate and stainless steel. Cool color palettes give contemporary homes an undeniably hip and luxurious vibe, but may be harder to give a cozy or welcoming touch.

3. Are You a Lover of the Light or Down for Some Darkness?

Windows are perhaps one of the most noticeable features in any space. Though the use of oversized windows is common in both modern and contemporary design, the use or absence of window coverings plays a crucial role in the ambiance of a space. Modern design tends to focus on fabrics such as linen and cotton, or better yet on empty windows altogether, letting in as much natural light as possible. More varieties of window treatment become available if you choose to go with a contemporary feel, opening up options such as blackout drapes or remote-controlled shades, some of which filter UV light. This may be an especially important consideration if you are a light sleeper, or are sensitive to streetlight.

4. Are You Keeping Up with the Trends?

Before finalizing any style choices or investing in big ticket items, it’s important to set a budget and get honest with yourself about how often you prefer to redecorate. For some people, interior design is a beloved pastime and source of joy. They’re always on the hunt for their next find, and love taking the design process from ideation to completion. Others dread having to redecorate and would much rather choose a timeless design that they’ll be happy with until they move. Keep this in mind when choosing between modern and contemporary design. Though that ultra-cool contemporary stainless steel and marble lamp may be all the rage in 2017, by 2020 it may be considered an outdated choice. While some parts of modern design are best left in the 1930s, much of the principles can be carried through to create a timeless look that will always be an elegant choice.
These 4 questions are a great place to start when it comes to choosing the design for your perfect home. Once you understand your preferences and needs, the style that’s right for you will become apparent, and the redecorating can begin.