The beginning of the 20th century ushered in new materials and furniture production techniques that give birth to contemporary furniture. It was possible for furniture designers to use plywood, plastics, and tubular steel to create furniture with new shapes. This period marked the shift from ornate heavy furniture to contemporary sleek light weight furniture. Contemporary furniture encompasses all current furniture designs that are bold and geometric, or, flowing and romantic. It must also use modern techniques to produce furniture that is functional instead of mainly for ornamentation.

Modern furniture design emerged after WWI, and, was contemporary for its time. The modern design movement introduced furniture that was functional instead of overly ornate and visually heavy. It combined new materials, new manufacturing methods, and the philosophies of the Werkbund and Bauhaus schools. Furniture from this time period is known as Modern Classics. In the 1970s, designers replaced the old materials used in modern furniture and adopted injection molding machines and natural materials.

Art Deco was another contemporary design movement popular in the early part of the 20th century. It merged the previous styles of Art Nouveau and NeoClassicism. In the United States, Art deco rose in popularity after the end of WWI as a sleek smooth style which used materials such as stainless steel, molded plastics, and smooth glass. Its lines were curved or geometric compared to the organic lines of Art Nouveau. And, its use of bold patterns and animal prints compliment its use of smooth domes and rounded depressions.

Traditional design predates Modern design, but, is updated to have a contemporary appeal. When compared to other Contemporary styles, Traditional furniture is the complete opposite. It draws on pre-Modern inspirations which use wood as its main material instead of metal. Contemporary versions of Traditional furniture have sleek undecorated lines, and use lighter tone woods instead of dark wood.

Another Contemporary style that is the opposite of Modern in design is French Chic. It is an extremely ornate design almost feminine in style, and, celebrates French Provencial design. And, Minimalist furniture design, like modern, places its focus on function over decoration. It also lacks the decorations found on French Chic and Traditional furniture.

Contemporary furniture designs come in a wide variety of styles. It is trendy, functional, and suits the needs of contemporary consumers. As materials and manufacturing technologies advance, designers will continue to progress what Contemporary furniture design can encompass.

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Author's Bio: 

Carter & Rose are experts in Interior Design and Contemporary Furniture