So, to put it simply, a “modern design” refers to a specific period of time in furniture design, which was from the 1920s to the 1950s. Modern furniture refers to a particular design movement, the modernist movement that began in the early 20th century. This movement was a reaction against earlier, more ornamental designs; it favored simplicity and minimalism. Mid-century modern design was influenced by Danish modernism and the Bauhaus.
It peaked in the 1950s and 1960s, hence the name. Many people think that modern and contemporary furniture are the same thing, that the terms can be interchanged. Modern furniture has simple, often minimal lines. Modern furniture refers to a period in time, the modernist movement, or modernism.
Modernism is a philosophical movement that, together with trends and cultural changes, emerged from large-scale and far-reaching transformations in Western society in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Contemporary furniture can also be pieces that make a nod to past times. However, there is a key point to keep in mind about contemporary furniture: it is new, from its time, but can be easily inspired by different periods of time. Contemporary, by definition, means existing, occurring, or living at the same time; belonging at the same time.
Many people argue that contemporary furniture tends to have a better comfort factor than modern furniture, since technology has improved to allow us to manufacture furniture differently. If you loved the 90s, 50s or another period in history, you can surely find furniture that reflects the style of that time.