A Complete Guide to Modern Furniture

Modern furniture stemmed from a change in preferences from the more ornate and one-of-a-kind flourishes of traditional design styles to pieces that could be produced faster and easier. Additionally, owing to the industrial revolution, modern furniture was able to take advantage of the newly available materials, which expanded the variety of looks.

The Difference Between Modern & Contemporary Furniture

Although modern furniture is often considered contemporary due to its shared similarities, they are two distinct styles of furniture that are not interchangeable. On the one hand, modern furniture is very artistic and angular. In contrast, contemporary design is less artistic and has a softer look and feel even though it shares the same clean lines. In general, the contemporary design borrows the traditional look and updates it with a slight mid-century modern influence. The design of a contemporary space will often be characterized by overstuffed furniture that is comfortable with softer curved lines and a touch of ornate detailing.

Read More: Modern vs Contemporary Furniture Design

History of Modern Furniture Design

Modern design was a direct result of the modernist intellectual movement, which sought to develop norms suited to match the post-industrial revolution world in the 19th century. The modernist movement shifted their interests from traditional aesthetics and instead focused on abstract, impressionist, and decorative art and design.

Furniture crafted before the 19th century tended to be ornate and elaborate as a show of wealth since furniture makers were paid by the hour. As a result, more ornate furniture cost more and was viewed as a status symbol. The modernism movement changed this thought process. The introduction of mass production also allowed for new materials, designs, and an emphasis on function over form, which allowed this style to gain interest and popularity across socio-economic classes.

Major Elements of Modern Furniture

Modern design is broad, with many variations that focus on different elements to create a unique look. However, all these variations are within the boundaries of the larger principles that have characterized modern design for decades.


Minimalism plays a fundamental role in modern design, particularly in furniture. With modern pieces, you will notice a focus on clean, sleek lines and a clear absence of superfluous details. This principle also extends to décor, and most modern homes tend to avoid visible clutter. This makes storage furniture an important part of the style.

Use of Metal

Although metals were previously used in more ornate furniture styles of the past, modern furniture uses metal in a different way. These pieces feature metals as functional accessories with an emphasis on chrome, stainless steel, and copper. One metal or a mix of various metals are often used as cabinet handles, table legs, and accent pieces.

Straight Lines

Straight lines are a striking feature seen in modern design and are very prominent in the furniture. When paired with simple details, these clean lines create a sharp, sleek aesthetic that perfectly embodies the minimalism of the style.

Geometric Shapes

Geometric furniture is an integral part of modern design. While geometric shapes have always been used in interiors, modern furniture focuses on simple shapes in the fabric patterns, as décor that accentuates the main furniture pieces, or in the furniture design itself.

Bold Accent Colours

While most modern-style homes mainly feature natural colours with shades of black and white, they tend to use bold accent colours as focal points. The furniture tends to feature fun patterns, primary colours, and unique designs that make it stand out against the neutral tones in the room.

Modern Furniture Styles

There are plenty of niche furniture styles within the modern category available today. These design trends tend to include some or all of the key characteristics of modern design and either add additional elements or shift the focus to create their own unique look and feel. They include:

Art Deco Design

Art Deco furniture is largely inspired by the technological advances of the 1920s. It features many of the characteristics of modern design, including straight and smooth lines, geometric shapes, and organic materials. Although Art Deco shares many of its attributes with modern furniture design, it tends to be more glamorous and luxurious in style. There is often an emphasis on materials like silver, jade, crystal, lacquer, and animal skins or prints.

Mid-Century Modern Design

Mid-century modern design draws inspiration from the 1940s to the 1960s. This style focuses on organic materials, minimalism, functionality, and geometric shapes. The furniture is characterized by experimentation with materials and form, with old and new materials used in innovative and unexpected ways.

Industrial Chic Design

In contrast to the art deco and mid-century furniture styles that developed in the first half of the 20th century, industrial chic design came about in the late 2000s. The style is inspired by exposed ducts and pipes. Industrial chic furniture mimics this look by showcasing metal and wood surfaces, mixed metals, antique-style fixtures, and a weathered flair.

Classic Modern Design

While modern furniture tends to be bold and distinct, classic modern design tends to be more subtle. This style is characterized by simplified shapes, complementary colours, curves, and a mix of smooth and soft textures.

We Feature an Extensive Collection of Modern Furniture

The unique charm of modern furniture is undeniable. It is warm, inviting, and cozy. At Carrocel, we have an extensive selection of modern furniture to fit your needs and preferences. Our 20,000 sq. ft. furniture showroom and highly resourceful and friendly staff make us one of the leading modern furniture stores in Toronto. Browse our online catalogue and get in touch with us by giving us a call. We look forward to helping you transform your home with modern furniture.

Modern Oak 2 Tier Black Coffee Table

Pair of Carrocel Custom Tonio Dining Chairs with Golden Accents

Custom Modern Brass and Marble Console Table

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *