If you’re an admirer of modern- or contemporary-style homes — and are lucky enough to live in one — you probably take pride in your home’s geometric, sleek exterior. When it comes time to replace or update your garage door, you want your new addition to blend with your home’s other design elements.
With the many garage doors and hundreds of customization options, it can be an exciting challenge to find the right fit for your unique dwelling. To help you out, we broke down the architectural features of contemporary-style homes and laid out some tips so you can select a garage door you’ll love.
Architectural Characteristics of Modern and Contemporary Homes
Modern architecture became popular out of a desire to break the rules. Before the modern movement, homes had an overly ornate look, popular among Victorian and Art Deco architecture. From the 1900s to the 1950s, modernist architects developed a distinctive style that rejected the frills and celebrated function. These homes are minimalist, geometric and asymmetrical.
As the first half of the 20th century exploded with innovative technologies and a new way of life, the modern style sought to blur the lines between indoors and out. The idea was to let homeowners feel a connection to nature despite the changing times. As a result, modern homes also feature large swaths of glass walls, floor-to-ceiling windows and skylights. Since people had less need for formal sitting and dining rooms, modern homes have expansive interiors with open floor plans.
Many people confuse modern and contemporary homes or use the words interchangeably. The essential difference between the two is that modern refers specifically to the styles built around the mid-20th century as part of the modernist movement. Contemporary, meanwhile, is an ever-evolving term. It takes into account the current trends, which happen to favor the modern style.
Today, contemporary architecture borrows heavily from the modern style, improving what worked and removing what didn’t. It encourages the connection to the great outdoors and the spacious, open floor plan interiors. However, contemporary homes also blend in some regional character. They’re more likely to use free-form lines, while others continue the severe, angular tradition.
Both styles tend to feature:
- Mixed materials, blending concrete, steel, wood or glass
- Natural light
- Clean, bold lines
- Sustainable and eco-friendly materials
- Open layouts
- Minimalist decor
Types of Modern- and Contemporary-Style Homes
As modern evolved into contemporary, several variations on the style have cropped up, including:
The international style, named for its European influences and worldwide adoption, arose in the 1910s out of a fascination with industrial factories and warehouses. These houses are distinctly lacking in ornamentation, favor volume over mass and emphasize balance in design.
Modern architecture became most popular during the 1930s through the 1960s, giving this style its name. Mid-century homes borrowed from the pre-war international style and were updated for the post-war era. They make use of flat planes, especially for roofs, and changes in elevation throughout the interior. Because of the new abundance of materials, they tend to juxtapose contrasting materials and make bolder use of color. Garage doors for mid-century modern homes tend to be made from dark wood, steel or full-view glass. They have flush panels or narrow horizontal lines.
The first American-born architectural style was the prairie style home. These modern bungalows were popular in the Midwest from 1900 through 1915, and you can still catch glimpses of this style today. They have low-pitched, pronounced rooflines, low-to-the-ground proportions and horizontal lines. They also make use of earthy materials and tend to celebrate the natural, prairie lifestyle.
Borrowing from traditional farmhouses and adding a contemporary twist, the farmhouse modern style is faithful to minimalism, purposeful design and clean lines. It introduces warmth, hominess and a country-living feel. Garage doors for farmhouse modern homes are often in muted grays, whites and browns, and warm wood tones. They can even incorporate the X or diagonal cross lines and swing-out appearance of a barn door.
Modern ranch-style homes are single-story, long and low-to-the-ground. They take influence from the prairie style, giving it a suburban twist. They’re considered mid-century modern and often have integrated garages and large, expansive landscapes.
Another subset of the mid-century modern style, split-levels make more efficient use of vertical space. They stagger two or three stories connected by partial flights of stairs. The first level often has an attached garage.
Types of Garage Doors That Go Best With a Modern- or Contemporary-Style Home
There are three main types of garage doors. While each style can find its perfect fit in a modern home, not every kind will pair well with any contemporary home. Modern homes are imaginative, distinctive and unique. It’s smart to consider the characteristics of your own house as you work through your options. The three types of garage doors include:
Traditional or Raised Panel
Depending on your modern home’s look and feel, you may find beauty in traditional style garage doors. Raised panel doors are the most popular garage door style and tend to work well with many architectural styles. They’re characterized by long or short panels with beveled edges along each section of the door.
While they offer more symmetry and ornamentation than some modern-style homeowners prefer, they can add simple elegance to the right architecture. A rustic, less angular, mid-century modern home can be the perfect canvas for a raised panel door.
If you are looking for the classic sectional style door and want a one that will complement your home’s geometric architecture, consider a flush panel door. These doors have clearly defined sections while still adhering to the horizontal clean-lined look you find in most modern and contemporary homes.
Carriage house garage doors remind us of a time before automatic door openers by giving the appearance of old-fashioned swing-out doors. Despite their decorative hinges and door handles, these doors still offer convenient overhead operation. Because of their historical connection, these doors have a more rustic appearance.
The right type of modern home can frame a barn-style garage door that takes advantage of rectangular geometric panels. Modern homeowners looking for carriage house garage doors may consider forgoing the decorative hardware to favor a cleaner look. Prairie, farmhouse and some modern ranch homes can pair nicely with these garage doors.
By far, the most popular choice for a modern or contemporary home is a contemporary-style garage door. Like the architectural trend itself, modern home garage doors are characterized by clean, geometric lines and an abundance of windows and natural light. Besides the full-view style, you’ll also find asymmetric window patterns. They often reflect nature in their design, which makes wood a common material. They also tend to blend materials, and you can find any combination of steel, aluminum, wood and glass in a contemporary garage door.
These doors are intended explicitly for modern architecture and are well-suited for any of the subcategories of modern-style homes. If you’re unsure which style you prefer, or what type of contemporary home you have, a safe bet is a contemporary-style garage door. They are sure to stay in-tune with the spirit of your home’s original architecture.
Consider the Garage Door Materials
Mixed materials are a staple of modern and contemporary home facades. Choosing materials for your garage door can take on a whole new meaning when you have a modern-style home. In addition to the collage of materials, modern design often involves sustainable building materials. Popular materials for contemporary garage doors include:
- Aluminum and glass: As a complement to floor-to-ceiling windows and the inlet of natural light, full-view glass garage doors are an excellent fit for contemporary homes. They come in an aluminum frame encasing a single glass pane. The framework divides the glass into eight symmetric panels. They let the indoors and outdoors flow into one another. During the day, your garage will be awash with natural light. At night, warm lighting from the garage will light up the natural world around you.
- Wood: Adding wood or playing off the wood already incorporated into your exterior is a beautiful way to honor your home’s modern design. When you use genuine wood, you can add character and warmth to your contemporary home and keep with the movement’s use of natural materials. Choose from a range of wood species and stains, and incorporate staggered or horizontal cladding. Modern-style wood doors allow you to mix materials, with the option to integrate aluminum strip accents or offset glass windows. With wood’s versatility, you can even design a semi- or fully custom door.
- Wood composite: With wood composite doors, you can get many of the same flexible design features as genuine wood, including asymmetric and symmetric windows and aluminum inlays. With composite wood, you can even opt for a full view glass door with a wood-look frame. Composite offers sophisticated grain patterns and color options for an effortless wood appearance.
- Steel: Steel garage doors are popular with homeowners for their durability and ease of maintenance. For a modern home that holds utility in the highest esteem, steel doors are the perfect addition. Steel offers many design options, from flush or grooved panels to offset or full-view window panes. You can even give your steel doors a refined wood-grain color and finish.
Consider Which Colors Best Complement Your Home
There are many angles to take when selecting a color for your garage door. A contemporary-style home’s tendency to use several exterior colors or materials often lets homeowners get creative and mix or match their color schemes.
One of today’s trends in contemporary home exteriors is the incorporation of contrasting colors, even veering towards the unexpected and unusual. This design style often manifests in neutral shades, blues or natural wood against a high-contrast trim. With Color Blast® from Clopay®, you can add a pop of color as unique as your home, or match your garage door to your high-contrast trim.
Choosing between warm, cool or bold shades can depend on your home’s style. For example, the earthy prairie-style homes, which ground themselves in nature, tend to use warm neutrals and inviting wood tones. Mid-century modern homes have typically favored medium-to-dark wood and darker steel colors. The rustic and minimalist modern farmhouse looks complete with muted gray, white or brown garage doors. Contemporary homes will often incorporate plenty of glass or a garage door in a pure neutral like white, black or gray.
Consider Elements that Blend Design and Function
Elegant, user-friendly designs rest at the heart of the contemporary design philosophy. As you are designing the garage door for your modern home, think about what is important to you in terms of utility. Some options to reflect on include:
- Glass texture: Many contemporary garage doors incorporate offset windows or a full-view glass pane. These style doors let the outside in, giving you views of nature and beauty surrounding you. If you don’t necessarily want to let the inside out, you can opt for privacy with a specialty glass texture, such as frosted or obscured. Full-view glass and aluminum doors have even more glass texture options. Choose from mirrored, gray or bronze tint, satin etching, and other glass or clear acrylic styles.
- Hardware: Except for rustic-influenced modern homes, decorative hardware is uncommon with contemporary garage doors. Most architects and homeowners like to maintain the clean, unadorned, functional look of their homes. However, hardware can add to the function of your garage door. You may occasionally need to open your garage door manually during a power outage or an automatic opener malfunction. For homeowners who want to maintain ease-of-use without detracting from their minimalist exterior, we offer an optional aluminum grip handle.
- Insulation: Your home rolls style, function and respect for nature up into one beautiful building, and your garage door should, too. When your garage door is insulated, it increases your energy efficiency. You’ll save money on your heating and cooling costs and live a more eco-friendly lifestyle. Our Intellicore® insulation fits seamlessly between your garage door’s outer panels, so it looks beautiful indoors and out. Combine this insulation with a sustainable, naturally insulating wood door for an even more modern architectural approach.
Garage Doors for Contemporary Homes
At Quality Overhead Door, we offer the best garage doors for contemporary homes. Each collection presents plenty of options to customize the design and color to your liking. If you’re looking for something as one-of-a-kind as your humble abode, we also offer custom and semi-custom garage doors, hand-carved from any wood species you choose. Here are some of our top picks for modern-style homes:
1. AVANTE® Collection
On the hunt for a full-view garage door for your contemporary home? The Clopay AVANTE® collection doors provide the natural light and sleek design to complement your home’s architecture. Along with tempered glass and a sturdy aluminum frame, you can choose an acrylic or clear anodized aluminum pane. The AVANTE® collection also provides plenty of functional features, such as:
- WINDCODE® compatibility.
- Custom Color Blast® paint options.
- Color-matched optional aluminum grip handles.
- Anodized and powder-coated finishes for solid aluminum panels and frames.
- Commercial-grade rust-free aluminum garage door frames.
- Optional insulated glass panels for energy efficiency.
The pane door designs available include:
- Clear glass.
- Bronze tinted glass.
- Gray tinted glass.
- Obscure glass.
- Mirrored glass.
- White laminate glass.
- Frosted acrylic.
- Frosted (satin etched) glass.
- Clear acrylic.
- White acrylic.
- Gray acrylic.
- Clear polygal.
- Bronze polygal.
- Clear anodized aluminum panel.
You can also customize the color of your frames using Color Blast® or any of our factory finishes, which include:
- Clear anodized aluminum.
- Standard white.
- Bronze painted.
- Chocolate painted.
- Bronze anodized.
- Black anodized.
- Dark bronze anodized.
2. MODERN STEEL™ Collection
Sleek, low-maintenance and durable, the MODERN STEEL™ collection from Clopay is perfect for the contemporary or mid-century modern home. These doors come in many customization options, allowing you to tailor your steel door to your own preferences. The MODERN STEEL™ collection has many features that illustrate a seamless blend of form and function, such as:
- Flush or grooved steel panel designs with several offset and symmetrical window layouts.
- Optional Ultra-Grain® wood texturing and standard finish options.
- One-, two- and three-layer construction options.
- Intellicore® and polystyrene insulation options in a range of R-values.
- WINDCODE® compatibility.
- Durable galvanized steel finished with a durable primer and topcoat.
Among the door design options in this collection, you’ll find flush or grooved panels with or without windows. If you favor windows, you can select short or long windows. They come offset and running down the side, in a full-view style as well as inlaid along the upper section of the door.
In addition to the custom Color Blast® finishes available, you can choose from many standard factory finishes, such as:
- Standard white.
- Glacier white.
- Desert tan.
- Hunter green.
- Mocha brown.
To give your steel garage door a wood-look, you can also choose from several Ultra-Grain® finishes, including:
- Cypress medium finish.
- Cypress walnut finish.
- Cypress cherry finish.
- Cypress slate finish.
3. CANYON RIDGE® Modern Collection
For homeowners looking to incorporate the beauty and character of wood while limiting their maintenance responsibilities, the CANYON RIDGE® Modern collection delivers just that. These sleek faux-wood doors have plenty of design options as well as the durable construction you expect from a garage door. The functional features included in the CANYON RIDGE® Modern collection include:
- A four-layer design with composite wood layered over steel and an Intellicore® insulated core.
- Insulation providing an R-value ranging from 6.3 to 20.4.
- WINDCODE® compatibility.
- A variety of 6-inch plank designs as well as aluminum inlay and full-view design options.
- Options for clear cypress and mahogany woodgrain composite texture.
Among the door design options, you can select from:
- Plank with offset short windows down one side.
- Plank with short windows down both sides.
- Plank with all short windows.
- Plank with offset long windows down one side.
- Plant with long windows down both sides.
- Aluminum metal inlay strips.
- Full view glass pane with a composite wood frame.
The Ultra-Grain® color options available on the CANYON RIDGE® Modern collection include:
- Walnut finish.
- Dark finish.
- Medium finish.
- White finish.
- Black finish.
- Slate finish.
4. RESERVE® WOOD Modern Collection
For an authentic complement to a mixed-material facade, the RESERVE® WOOD Modern collection features natural, handcrafted wood. Offering design flexibility similar to faux wood with even more customization, the RESERVE® WOOD Modern collection allows you to tailor your door to your particular taste. The design and practical features of this collection include:
- Sturdy, four-layer wood construction.
- Insulation options providing an R-value of 5.9.
- Smooth, long-lasting and quiet operation.
- Standard vinyl weatherseal, with an optional upgraded aluminum weather seal retainer to protect your investment.
- Standard clear tempered glass with optional glass textures.
- Optional aluminum accent strips for contrast and a mixed material look.
- Standard spade lift handles with optional aluminum hardware hand grip.
- Options for primed, white-painted or factory stained color options, with Color Blast® compatibility.
The design options include wood panels, as well as horizontal cladding with and without staggered splicing. They come with many offset window designs or aluminum accent strips. When it comes to color, you can select from several species of wood as well as color stains, leading to nearly endless natural wood color and grain combinations. The wood species include:
- Light cedar.
- Dark cedar.
- Mixed cedar.
The natural wood stain finish options include:
- Dark oak.
- Natural oak.
- Dark oak ebony wash.
- Ebony wash.
Find and Design Your Modern Home’s Garage Door Online
When you pay careful attention to your contemporary home’s features and combine your materials, colors and textures to your liking, you’ll arrive at a true accent piece for your exterior. We’ve seen brand new garage doors transform homes, and we’d love to do the same for your modern-style home.
Start your search by browsing our residential garage door collections and discover the colors, styles and materials that complement your home. You can narrow down your search with our door imagination system, where you can visualize your top picks on your own home. We’ll help you get creative and feel confident in your decisions with color samples and a full-scale showroom, central to our Ohio and Michigan customers. For questions and expert advice, feel free to reach out online or stop by in person. If you’ve picked out a few products or designs you love, request an estimate today.