What Makes Contemporary Furniture Different?

black bed

The word ‘contemporary’ is defined as “following the most recent ideas” by the Oxford Dictionary. This definition, however, does not define the real meaning of contemporary furniture.

black and white sofa

It was after the 19th century, when contemporary furniture was created. The designs at that time were influenced by the modern artists’ group, where their idea of modern art was interpreted entirely when building furniture. This style started the simple designs of furniture compared to the complex designs of traditional furniture. The design of contemporary furniture is built in functionality and blends well with the design theme of a home. It is also known as modern contemporary furniture.

glossy coffee table

The Museum of Modern Art in New York approached this drift, when contemporary furniture was starting to surface in 1950 that led to the publication of Edgar Kaufmann’s book “What is Modern Design?” The book set up a series of guidelines that identify the quality of contemporary furniture.

black and red sofa The guidelines fall into three categories, namely:

dining table

The Design

Contemporary furniture design features a design idea that anyone hopes to achieve. The color, form and texture, according to Kaufmann spring from the materials used. Its design merges with the usability of furniture and the exquisiteness of the materials to come up with an artistic pleasing piece. The overall design is simple with a plain and clear structure without superfluous materials.


The Materials

Contemporary furniture showcases innovative methods of creating furniture with the use of modern materials. Thus, standard and tubular metals, chrome and a mixture of any of these materials are used to build the furniture structure. To get a useful flat surface, pattern free fabrics are used. These materials allow the construction of clear  lines, distinct edges and even textures.

sofa set

The Philosophy

Kaufmann stated in his book that a detailed philosophy and character is used by designers when building furniture. With the modern changes in people’s lifestyle, furniture builders were prompted to adjust their designs that also present artistry. Furniture should articulate its purpose, the exquisiteness of the materials used and the techniques on how it was built. It should not attempt to present something that it is not capable of like saying the furniture is hand-crafted when it was mass-produced. Kauffman’s idea is that furniture should be purposeful and should be useful to a lot of people without being too expensive. It should be reasonably priced, making it possible for a bigger market to purchase the item.


The European contemporary design was influential in shaping these ideas before the fashion swept the United States. Europeans gave up the very ornate designs over functionality and accessibility in furniture. This shift in design has attracted the interests of several designers all over the world that brought about the contemporary style.


In summary, contemporary furniture is fairly simple. It uses modern materials and promotes simplicity in design. The function is of prime importance, while the artistic appear comes secondary. Contemporary furniture is reasonably priced and achievable. LA Furniture Store is an online furniture store that offers several items of contemporary furniture for your home.


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