Two key aspects of modern home plans are the "open concept" design, which blends kitchen and living areas into one large entertaining center, and the use of lots of glass to let in abundant natural light. Additional aspects of modern design are a clean-lined minimalism for an uncluttered look, cleverly hidden storage and the blending of indoor and outdoor spaces into alfresco living rooms.
Although the terms "modern" and "contemporary" are often used as synonyms, they can have two different meanings in the world of interior design. When an architect or designer uses the word "modern," the reference is often to a particular style of home, also called "mid-century modern," which came into vogue in the 1920s and continued through the 1950s. This style features easy interaction between food preparation areas, conversation areas and outdoor decks and pools.
Mid-century modern style features natural wood finishes, especially teak, paired with neutral-colored upholstery and fabrics. It also embraces colors such as tangerine, avocado and gold, which are popular with homeowners who want a bit of a "retro" look in their homes. A contemporary or modern home often separates private spaces from so-called "public" spaces, sequestering family bedrooms and master suites on a second floor. The overall ambiance of the design is relaxed, casual and inviting.