Modern Homes Versus Contemporary: A Look At The Difference

Both modern and contemporary homes are styles referred to in many circles. Have you ever wondered what is the difference, or is there a difference between these two custom home styles?

There are many different styles of homes and it can get confusing, especially when the terms are not correctly used. Often times, people use modern and contemporary interchangeably, but they are very different.

Modern Homes

The modern home refers to a period in time where modern style transitioned to a way of life both in and out of the home, including art and literature. Modern refers to homes built from the early to mid 20th century.

Modern home design emphasizes clean lines and geometric shapes. No more are features such as arches, ornate columns, window shutters, or any outlandish ornamentation. In place of these features are simple shapes and intentional asymmetry. At one point the modern home represented luxury and wealth, however the opulence of the past does not necessarily hold true today.

Modern design also favors strong horizontal and vertical elements, creating a sense of hierarchy while somehow both standing out in stark contrast and blending in with the natural surroundings of the landscaping and neighborhood. To summarize, the aim of modern design is to simplify the home, emphasize function, and remove any unnecessary frills.

Houston, Texas modern home style, custom houses

Contemporary Homes

Contemporary style home design integrates a wide number of style features. It melds historic elements with current lifestyle concepts—resulting in homes that are warm, inviting and connected with the outdoors. The design of contemporary style homes grew out of modern architecture and integrated many new features.

Many critics felt modern style homes were cold and machine-like. So the comtemporary home evolved to be a warmer version of a modern home.

Contemporary homes are constantly changing in shape and style, as they reflect the times we live in. However, there are some features that the majority of these homes (almost) always embrace.


  • An irregular, asymmetrical façade
  • Strong emphasis on geometric shapes
  • Large windows
  • Clerestory windows
  • Use of recycled building materials
  • Mixed materials on the exterior (e.g. wood and stone)


  • One to two stories
  • An open floor plan
  • Lots of natural light
  • Use of natural or recycled materials
  • Green systems for plumbing, heating and air conditioning
  • Flexible layout suited to meet the family’s needs

Houston, Texas contemporary home style, custom houses

Modern Versus Contemporary Homes

While the terms modern and contemporary aren’t synonymous, they do have things in common. Both design styles share overlapping characteristics. They share simplistic characteristics and avoid ornate and complex elements.

Both involve a neutral color palette and open spaces. Both prefer clean spaces. You will find wood, metal, glass, and natural elements with the designs.

Custom Homes Houston Texas

Build By Owner is a revolutionary home consulting construction company headquartered in the Houston, Texas area. We have ironed out the guess work in building a new home and designed a program that will allow the home owner to put equity into their Houston home instead of money in the builders pockets. Contact us today @ (281) 331-3347 to get started.

Call Us!