What Are the Characteristics of Modern Furniture Design?

hotel waiting lobby with modern furniture design


  • Modern furniture emphasizes simplicity, functionality, and clean lines for a clear, organized look.
  • Modern design explores new materials like steel, plastic, and glass for innovative aesthetics.
  • Multi-functional pieces optimize space and adapt to changing needs, with modular designs adding extra flexibility.

Updating your home to a more modern style requires specific furniture. Modern furniture design emphasizes function instead of addressing stylistic concerns, matching nearly any room color or theme. While every home deserves beautiful, comfortable furniture, modern styles allow you to enjoy the pieces while decorating the rest of your home.

Learn more about today’s modern furniture and what characteristics can help you recognize it.

What Is Modern Furniture?

After the stuffy, opulent furniture designs of previous centuries, manufacturers moved toward creating furniture in gentler and more practical designs. Simple but beautiful furniture created with modern design elements has a universal style that outlasts trends in wall colors and flooring types.

Another benefit of modern furniture is its easy manufacturing, as trends have moved to lighter, low-maintenance furniture.

While most modern pieces follow similar furniture design styles, three major types exist.

•Functionalist Modern

This more austere style calls back to its roots in 1925 when function trumped fashion to make it easier for mass furniture production.

•Transitional Modern

While maintaining the simplicity of functionalist style, transitional furniture styles take on some conservative features of past and present design trends.

•Commercial Modern

Commercial Modern combines modern furniture design with the bones of functionalist modern styles to create light yet eye-catching furniture.

Characteristics of Modern Furniture Design

With the overarching theme of function over fashion, modern furniture design carries some shared characteristics across every type, from office chairs to bed frames. Besides working equally well with modern and commercial interior design, these aspects speak to the affordability and function of each piece.

1. Economic Furniture

One of the top priorities of the original modern furniture designs consisted of making various types of furniture economical to produce en masse with lower price points. Using fewer materials to make the furniture and sticking to simpler colors, everything from dining tables to couches weighs less physically and visually. With lower weight, modern-style furniture can transfer from room to room more easily while requiring lower freight costs.

2. Multifunctional and Modular Designs

Modern furniture design aims to make life easier for users by using multifunctional and modular designs, maximizing the utility of the pieces. The design creates furniture that takes up less space while sometimes combining the functions of several pieces of furniture. For example, some dining tables have a cabinet built into the end, serving two purposes while only taking up the space of the table.

Utilizing certain furniture parts for extra storage space is a typical feature of modern furniture design. Bed headboards, coffee tables, and even dining room chairs can have aspects that offer storage options.

3. Minimalist Design

One of the most favored characteristics of modern furniture designs includes simplistic styles consisting of clean, straight lines made with natural materials. The design lends itself to an uncluttered home, a popular choice for many interior design styles, especially in smaller homes. For homeowners who prefer function over stuffy, overblown fashions, the minimalist design of modern furniture meets their needs.

Minimalist looks also make it easy for property owners to change up the building blocks of a space without having to update the furniture. Painting the walls or installing new flooring won’t change the overall space of a room like small, functional furniture can.

4. Integrated Technology

Both residential and commercial spaces integrate present-day technology into modern-style furniture, making it easy for home and business owners to choose simple furniture that works with technological features. For example, end tables for a bed may look simplistic, but raising a flap built into the surface uncovers a small storage space for remote controls or USB ports for charging cables. Similarly, a business may purchase a computer desk with built-in charging ports and a hole intended to help wrangle the many cords belonging to computer parts, phones, and printers.

5. Collaborative Trends

While some options for collaborative residential modern-style furniture exist, you’re more likely to see this trend in workspaces and offices. Collaborative furniture trends maximize their small footprint with multi-use pieces like double-sided benches or attractive chairs that can easily move from one spot to the next. Some pieces, such as tufted stools or ottomans, work equally well as a place to rest your feet, set your drink or laptop on, or sit on during a conversation with friends or work colleagues.

Collaborative modern-style furniture works well for informal meeting spaces that generate creative problem-solving or brainstorming, making mingling and moving around simpler.

6. Neutral and Natural Colors

Modern furniture design often comes in natural colors, bringing out the inherent beauty of light, rich woods, and shiny metals. The fabric of modern furniture comes in unpatterned simplicity, typically utilizing neutral colors like white, cream, tan, or black. Some modern furniture pieces consist of acrylic, left clear or dyed during production to showcase the raw materials used to create a piece of furniture.

Since the colors and designs can so easily match other colors and patterns, home and business owners won’t have to change their furniture as they change the interior design of certain spaces. Regardless of the color they paint the walls or the changes made to carpets, rugs, and drapes, neutral-tone furniture matches everything and maintains a sense of unity.

7. Use of Modern Materials

Since the idea behind modern furniture design consists of lighter, smaller furniture, manufacturers keep up with the times by using modern-day materials. Materials like glass, chrome, and aluminum have become coffee tables, dining room chairs, and cabinets, all of which cost less to produce, require less freight, and weigh little enough to move easily. As technology creates more versatile materials with less mass and weight, furniture makers pick up on these new materials and quickly turn out new furniture.

Upgrade to Modern Furniture Designs with Custom Furniture

Bringing modern furniture design into your home can create more space, presenting you with myriad ways to use each piece. Knossos Furniture can create custom pieces of furniture that match your needs and style. We’d happily help you get high-quality furniture to enhance your living space. Trust us to work with you to craft the perfect design for your property.

About The Author

Peter Despotopoulos

Hi, I’m Peter Despotopoulos and I am the Director of Marketing and Business Development at Furniture Design Knossos Inc. I have over 14 years of experience in the furniture design industry with expertise in custom millwork, architectural woodwork, cabinetry, built-in units, stone counters, wood or plastic laminate counters, and metal work.

Learn More


You are welcome to contact us online or visit us in person. We are conveniently located, with plenty of parking space.

Contact Us