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Contemporary, Modern or Retro?

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There is a blurry line between retro, modern and contemporary. Has retro become our equivalent of modern, if so than what is contemporary? The sleek styles of mid century modern are much the same as those found in today’s hottest designs or at least in the mainstream of current styles.

retro pattern

This retro pattern is repeated in carpets and wall art said to be modern by today’s standards. I would suppose that a circle is a circle no matter where it appears, but how can we call something modern when it has appeared in designs for more than 50 years?

This room appears to be modern or contemporary, with its sleek chairs and unusually shaped table, but I can see retro design in the shape of the chairs and the clean lines of the room.

Could it be color that makes something look new? In the case of this graphic, the avocado (dare I say that word?), harvest gold and bittersweet orange could be renamed to give them a more modern edge.

If there is anything that makes an updated room really contemporary it would be the materials used. They may not look new on the surface, but they are probably more durable, more washable and maybe even recycled, something not so common in mid century modern rooms.

Even color is recycled, there are no new colors, red was hot in the fifties. I remember my kitchen as a child, with black floors and a red accent strip around the perimeter, the walls had a dado stripe of red. Aqua was big then and is hot today, gray was a common neutral and today it is returning as a popular background color. Are we going through one of those cycles that people refer to when talking about trends? No cycle is predictable, but this one seems to be déjà vu all over again!

Categories: Color Trends
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