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Traditional VS. Contemporary: What's Your Style?

The words “traditional” and “contemporary” are often thrown around when it comes to style. They are commonly mistaken for being synonyms for “old” and “new,” but they are actually based on where their inspiration is drawn from and their unique features. So, what does it mean for you to have a traditional or contemporary home? What does this mean your style is? Let's go over some of the key differences between a traditional-styled home versus a contemporary one.

Traditional Style

Traditional homes can draw influence from a variety of historical styles, including Victorian, Colonial, Craftsman or Neoclassical architecture. Some of their unique features include large, open porches and a tall point roof. Traditional homes are typically in long-established neighborhoods. The floor plan for these homes also tends to have the space divided into a number of small, single-purpose rooms that are designed for the traditional household.

Traditional styling when it comes to houses means lots of bold shapes, colors and accessories. In a house that is more traditional, there are bold, rich furnishings with lots of embellishments. The colors for these items tend to be dark brown, black, green and lots of gold, especially in the embellishments. These colors may be reflected in the furniture.

Traditional furniture pays great attention to details and architectural elements. Dark woods, arched backs and upholstery are commonly used in traditional furniture. There is a lot of wooden material and soft lighting throughout the home as well. The feel of a traditional home is heavy and thick with these items while also being cozy.

When it comes to the structure of a traditional home, there are a lot of curved walls and arched windows to enhance the circular room and architecture. The windows are also typically double-hung with grilles on them. These windows may bring some light into the room to show off the wood and the architecture, but small artificial light is also common in a traditional style. Lighting is often symmetrically placed and beautifully added details like stained glass or hand carvings are added to make up for the lack of natural light.

At Pella, we keep in mind the desire to preserve and display historical styles and buildings. We currently offer traditional-style windows in the Architect Series and Reserve. We can also order our windows in special shapes to fit all of those stunning arched windows.

Contemporary Style

Contemporary homes focus on more modern architecture from the 20th century. They reject classical flourishes to have a simple, clean design. Contemporary homes do away with all the extra elegant detailing and let the structure speak for itself. The name “contemporary” means belonging to the present or marked by the characteristic of the present. Contemporary style is different than the word “modern” as well. Contemporary style uses classic yet minimalist features to bring a serene, timeless feel to your home.

Contemporary-style homes are made with a focus on practicality and edginess with the use of clean, sleek lines, refined architecture and a minimalistic approach. In this style of home, you will see lots of square and rectangle shapes that have smooth, clean edges. Even décor tends to have some sort of geometric shape on them with attention to lines and space. The surfaces also reflect this as they are shiny and smooth.

Another style element that may be included in a contemporary home is the use of industrial style products blended with natural ones. There may be structural elements like exposed brick walls and pipes to bring out the industrial character of the home.

The floor plan for contemporary homes is that of functionality and so they sport open concept living spaces. This means that the rooms can be used for multiple different tasks. The large, airy downstairs can be used as an office, living room, dinette, an entertainment area and much more.

The color scheme in a contemporary home is one of mostly black and white. There can be some earthy tones, but they aren’t far off the monochromatic scale. You may also see some bright colors that stand out. These are used for a pop of color and are used sparingly. Overall, there are a lot of large, great white spaces. This coloring is also shown in the furniture as most pieces stick to black, white, or some shade of gray. Among all the black and white, are lots of glass panels and large picture windows to complement the home’s open concept layout and minimalist decorations. These window frames are usually also black to maintain the color scheme. These large windows help bring in tons of natural light.

At Pella, we are constantly innovating and offer a variety of collections and materials for windows in your contemporary home. This includes the contemporary style of the Architect Series and the Reserve, which are made of wood, as well as Pella 250 Series vinyl windows and Impervia featuring fiberglass.

Whether your home or style is more traditional or contemporary, or if you like a mixture of both, we are here to help you find the perfect fit for you. We offer a variety of windows and doors that can match a traditional or contemporary style. We also have many different colors and shapes that can also be customized to fit your design dreams.

At Pella, we are constantly innovating and crafting products that complement our aesthetics. With so many different options, the possibilities for your home and style are endless.

Article written by Jennifer Erisman of Pella Windows & Doors.

For more information on where you can get your newest window's and doors visit us at

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