Find Out Which Modern Furniture Designs are Right for You 

Modern furniture is simple but striking and breaks away from more traditional styles, like Jacobean, Victorian, rustic, and art deco designs. The modern style, not to be confused with contemporary, which refers to today's popular designs, showcases monochromatic palettes and unfussy shapes. Although designs are less ornate, they are no less impressive than those of their antique predecessors. Consider materials, shape, footprint, color, and design when choosing modern furniture pieces for your home. Original modern furniture is highly collectible and can be difficult to find, while contemporary modern furniture is inspired by the original period, is more affordable, and benefits from contemporary construction techniques. 

What is Modern Furniture? 

Heavily influenced by the modernist art movement, modern furniture made its debut in the late 19th century, marking a distinctive shift in style from the heavy, dark wood, and intricately carved furniture favored until this point. Breaking from tradition, the modern style focused on new shapes and materials and, although pieces from this era have less embellishment, they're just as striking with their clean lines and bold shapes. Modern furniture should not be confused with contemporary. The modern style is its own distinct design period, not "of today" as contemporary is, and was produced between the 1890s and the 1970s. Today, furniture is still produced in the modern style and is a favorite of those who appreciate interesting juxtapositions, fluidity, sharp angles, and the effective combination of form and function. The two key factors in modernist furniture are materials and design.


What made the introduction of modernist furniture so shocking was not only its surprising lack of adornment but also its lack of wood. Instead, designers played with new and synthetic materials like steel, laminated plywood, fiberglass, and plastic, or found new ways of using materials like marble and leather. Many of these same materials are still found in today's modern options; however, wood modern furniture is also available so you may bring this beautiful and versatile look into your home.


Modern furniture puts a heavy focus on form rather than ornamentation. The shape of the piece is what draws the eye, not the presence of printed fabrics, intricate carvings, or other embellishments. In modernism, the unadorned form speaks for itself, without unnecessary fuss or frippery. Instead of having four wooden legs, two arms, and a padded back, a chair may consist of one single piece of flowing, boldly colored vinyl. A modernist coffee table could be an industrial-style construction of hard angles, steel legs, and a glass top. Styles vary considerably across this design period, but all share the same lack of embellishment and ostentation.

Finding the Right Furniture for You: Modern Furniture Ideas 

Modernist style influences many aspects of decor, including walls, moldings, windows, and lighting. You can create an authentic modern theme by paying attention to these details and accents or simply showcase your love of the modern style with stunning furniture. Choose the right pieces by considering color and design influence.

Color Choices

Modern furniture styles typically feature a monochromatic color scheme. Common color options changed throughout the modernist period and ranged from stark black and white and high-polish stainless steel and chrome to earthy hues and primary colors. So, whatever your color preference, you'll easily find furniture in the modern style to suit.

Iconic Design Influences

Pieces by leading modernist designers like Eero Saarinen, Arne Jacobsen, Le Corbusier, and George Nelson are highly-prized, and their iconic and innovative work still inspires contemporary modernist furniture.

Modern Furniture Styles 

Functionality, elegance without ornamentation, and the use of synthetic materials made modernist furniture a shocking and rather daring revelation. While there are typical aspects of each piece of furniture, such as bold colors and unique materials, each designer took this information and gave their own interpretations. The modern style also changed over the design period as new materials became available and tastes changed. However, there are a number of standout designs that remain hugely popular today.

The classic Egg Chair, for instance, was created by designer Arne Jacobsen in 1958. This chair has a high curved back for support, a steel frame for stability, a round bottom for volume, and a height from the floor that provides just enough legroom. It’s functional, stylish, and different, and it's instantly recognizable.

Beautifully handcrafted modern furniture was common during the early period. A brilliant example of modernist furniture is the Bibendum Chair by Eileen Gray. In the 1920s, a millionaire requested that Eileen design her entire home. This was when the Bibendum was born. This type of chair has fun but functional flair with its curved lines and tubular steel frame and, thanks to its eye-catching over-stuffed cushions, it's also exceptionally comfortable.

What Modern Furniture Style is Right for You? 

From the wacky plaster resin and wire mesh chairs once produced by the Eameses to the timeless look of the iconic Barcelona chair originally by Mies van der Rohe, you'll find any number of modern pieces to furnish your home or place of business. The furniture you choose sets the atmosphere of the space and carries a message to your visitors. If you're choosing modern office furniture, for instance, think about what you want to convey to your staff and customers. If you're going for calm, sedate, and professional, with a sense of style, you can't go wrong with black leather and high-polish stainless steel or glass. For a more relaxed atmosphere, get a chair that's comfortably overstuffed or that has an interesting or quirky shape. Take a look at our extensive range of furniture, from desks and chairs to sofas and beds, and find the perfect pieces for your home or office.