July 17, 2019 4 min read

With changing preferences and behaviors of people, it is only expected that interior design tastes change along with it. Everything from ads we see to Instagram, Facebook, celebrity influence and shape the coming trends of the years. Arguably more and more so in a digitally connected and visual world we live in. From changes in the habits of Canadians to the growth of technology, which requires a whole new set of furniture to support it, interior design constantly flows from one era to the next.

Over the years, contemporary design has gone through its own, independent set of changes evolving to reflect popular culture and styles of the present day. It is interesting to follow the evolution of contemporary design and dig into how it became what it is today.

 How Contemporary Design Evolved

Contemporary design encapsulates everything that is trending in present day design. The design themes and styles of contemporary are all about current trends and all that is suitable for the consumer in the present moment of time. Although modern design and contemporary design are often interlinked and mixed, these two design styles have their own separate characteristics. We lightly touched on the nature of contemporary design in the distinctive features of contemporary TV cabinets.

Mid-century modern living room

modern/mid-century modern influenced living room

Contemporary design followed modern and mid-century modern design styles, respectively established in the 1920’s to 1950’s/1960’s. Digging deeper we see that although quite difference stylistically Contemporary designs  roots can be traced back to Victorian and Georgian architecture.  

Victorian era design

Victorian era hall

The Victorian era dates back to 1837 to 1901 when Great Britain was reined by Queen Victoria. The time period is characterized by the Industrial Revolution and the segmentation of classes was not as official as in the Georgian period. Mass production was on the rise and people from different classes all had access to furniture and interior accessories. A few trends such as bold colors, gilding, ornate carving, painted walls, and oil lamps arose during the time period. New colors entered interior design for the first time, along with carved mirror cabinets, detailed cornices, and ceiling roses. Put simply, the era was all about showing off a rich lifestyle and the excess of things.

On the other hand, Georgian architecture was not as overly decorated but rather focused on a more sophisticated lifestyle. The style represents elegance and simplicity, similar to today’s contemporary design. The living spaces during the Georgian era were characterized by the spaciousness and very few decorations. However, today’s contemporary design has significantly moved on from the Georgian era as there are clear distinctions between the two.

For instance, Georgian design appreciated the use of different colors such as burgundy, soft blue, dusky pink, or green, while contemporary design focuses predominantly on the white, grey, and black color palette to represent ultimate simplicity

Another major difference is the appreciation of wall coverings and different wall treatments typical for the Georgian era. It was extremely popular for walls to be painted by eminent artists while today’s contemporary design focuses on creating a simple and clean look, with a single color used per wall.

While ceilings were accessorized with ribbons or classical figures during the Georgian era, today’s evolved contemporary design strongly discourages such bold statements. Contemporary walls and ceilings are light and soothing, creating comfort and a relaxed atmosphere. It would have been difficult to find a Georgian house without a decorated fireplace, while the evolution of technology and heating of our homes has eliminated the needs for fireplaces, if you do have one odds are it is not as elaborate. It’s likely simpler and serves to bring warmth, in a non-literal sense to your home.

Revived English- Georgian Era Living Room

Revived Georgian Era Interior Design

In Georgian times, in order to add something to your interior it either had to be handmade or extremely expensive to purchase. Not many things are handmade these days.

When it comes to the choice of furniture and its material, Georgians highly appreciated walnut, satinwood, rosewood, tulipwood, and mahogany. Chintz and silk upholstery were also popular choices. On the other hand, from today’s contemporary perspective, the choice of material is increasingly centered around natural materials such as; solid wood, nickel, copper, brass and steel. Upholstered furniture is made for the most part using cottons, leather, suede and various synthetic fabrics have made their way into the mainstream such as velvet.

If you were to be shopping for a storage cabinet for your living room during the Victorian or Georgian era’s, chances are you’d be shopping for a colorful and encrusted piece of furniture. We’ll refrain from calling it a media cabinet before electronic home entertainment existed.  Since we’re not in the Victorian era, if you are looking for a contemporary media unit check out one of our SAMSO TV Cabinets. They come in a wonderful array of neutral colors, and fit brilliantly in any space.

SAMSO TV Cabinet & media unit in Black

Leave a comment

Also in Interior Design, Home Decor and Home Design Ideas

Villa Mairea residence by Alvar Aalto
Aaver Aalto Profile

October 05, 2019 4 min read

One of the names synonymous with modern architecture and design is Alvar Aalto, an architect and designer who has left his mark on the design world. We will explore designs and we will look at some of his most famous design works to gain a better understanding of how Alvar from the early 1900s has helped shape what is refered to as modern design today.
Read More
Charles and Ray Eames chairs
9 Inspirational Contemporary Designers

August 19, 2019 5 min read

Let’s go back in time and see the work of some of the most inspirational contemporary designers of all time. Understanding the concepts and mentality behind a certain style can be of use when redecorating our homes or when working with clients on a new interior design project. We have selected nine of the most inspirational contemporary designers but the list certainly doesn’t end here.

  • Poul Kjærholm
  • Hans Wegner
  • Kaare Klint
  • Arne Jacobsen
  • Finn Juhl
  • Arne Vodder
  • Alvar Aalto
  • Charles and Ray Eames
Read More
Scandinavian minimalist living room
European Minimalism, and why you should try it...

August 13, 2019 4 min read

Choosing an interior design style should start with your personality and what will truly make you feel at home in your home. Are you fond of a busier atmosphere accompanied by a wide array of colors, shapes, and arrangements, or would you rather spend the evenings in a cozy and clean space, relaxing and calming your mind?

One of the popular interior design styles nowadays is minimalism and more specifically European minimalism. Let’s take a look at the concept behind this style and see why it’s become as popular as it is.

Read More