Country or modern: which decor is better?


Fact Box

  • House Beautiful defines modern design as design from “a designated time period, from the early to mid-20th century. It originated at the turn of the century, with roots in both German and Scandinavian design, and really gained popularity throughout the first half of the century,” and is often confused with contemporary design, which is “the style of the present day.” 
  • Interior design writer, Linda Chechar, details the seven main country decor styles: contemporary country, early American country, English country, farmhouse country, French country, Scandanavian country, and Tuscan country. 
  • Two iconic examples of mid-century modern design are the “tulip chair” and the “egg chair” from the 1950s, which both display molded, clean curves.
  • In 2017, Architectural Digest reported that there are design trends among different generations. Millennials prefer “modern, minimal mid-century design,” baby boomers resonate with “refined rustic,” and Gen Z-ers identify with “rustic warmth.”

Haley (Country)

Aside from personal taste, there are several reasons why country home decor is a better option for most people. Overall, country decor is more practical because it is much more forgiving to wear and tear, as the furniture is already a rustic, natural style. Modern-style furniture is often sleek and minimal, revealing chips, scratches, and fading more easily. Also, since modern design relies on minimalism, it is impractical for most people since a lived-in home naturally accrues clutter--especially if there are kids or pets involved. 

Country decor often features a variety of pastels and bright colors, whereas modern is limited to mainly black and white. According to Insider, trends fade fast, and rooms painted white or gray 'can make a room look dated since those shades' trendiness peaked around 2015.' With its wider range of colors and furniture pieces, country decor has more options than modern style and allows people to customize and personalize their space more easily.

Lastly, country decor is more affordable and accessible than modern style because many country-style items can be picked up at vintage and thrift stores. As stated by the Trim Design Company blog, 'vintage pieces offer superior craftsmanship that will last a lifetime.' Given how contemporary modern style is, most modern furniture will need to be newly purchased at full price.

You may be tempted to follow the recent design trends towards modernism and minimalism, but unless you have the money to spend chasing new trends every few years, it is better to invest in timeless pieces that will last for a long time.

Kat (Modern)

It is widely considered to be what TalkDecor calls 'timeless,' avoiding the dated appearance that country decor can easily fall into. 

Many people believe modern design is cold, clinical, and disconnected from nature when this could not be further from the truth. For one, according to ArchDaily, a staple of modern design is lots of windows allowing natural light inside, a feature which reduces electricity bills, provides better views of the outdoors, and gives the building a light and airy feeling. This spaciousness is enhanced by a typically open floor plan which allows residents to easily arrange and rearrange their furniture and decor to their liking.

Because modern interior design focuses on minimalism and clean lines--without fuss or fluff--occupants don't feel cramped by their living space. Tonya Lee of The Spruce writes that a tenet of modern design is the belief that 'form follows function,' a philosophy that all furnishing and decor that does not serve a purpose should be eliminated, freeing the home from unneeded and unsightly clutter.

Now more than ever, sustainability should be a top priority in home decoration, so it's a major plus that dozens of companies like West Elm specialize in modern decor that is sustainably sourced and organic.

Whether for its clean lines, uncluttered feel, timelessness, or sustainability, it's clear to see why modern decor is the better choice.

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