Modern design may not be as popular as it was when it first began, but that doesn’t mean we don’t love modern furnishings. We just prefer our modern pieces with a bit more style than what’s available at IKEA or Target. Here are some of the best modern furniture pieces on the market today.
Modern Furniture Styles
There are two main categories of modern furniture styles—the ones made by famous designers like Eero Aarnio and Alvar Aalto, and those designed by people who have taken their inspiration from these greats (often called “modern classic” designs). The former group tends to be more avant-garde, while the latter tends towards having a more classic look. There is also a third category of modern furniture, which includes pieces inspired by the art deco movement. These tend to be less expensive than the other types of modern furniture, but they do lack the refined details found on higher end pieces.
Eero Aarnio started his career during Finland’s post World War II period, designing furniture for Knoll International. He eventually went on to create everything from tables to chairs to sofas to complete his signature modern aesthetic. His work has been featured in such films as American Gigolo and Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance, and he continues to be one of the most recognizable names in modern furniture design.
Alvar Aalto was born in Helsinki, Finland in 1898. After graduating from art school in 1919, he worked for several different companies until 1935, when he founded his own company, Artek Oyj. During this time, Aalto created many of the iconic Finnish modern designs that still influence contemporary furniture manufacturers today. You’ll find Aalto’s work everywhere from homes to hotels to restaurants to museums.
The art deco movement is often credited with bringing modernism into popularity. Art Deco pieces were characterized by clean lines, geometric shapes, vibrant colors and decorative accents. Although these pieces are no longer widely produced, there are plenty of online retailers that offer them for sale. One example is Thonet & Co., which sells original pieces from the 1930s through its online store.
Best Modern Furniture Brands
If you’re looking for high quality modern furniture, brands can make all the difference between finding something you love and buying something that will sit in your living room collecting dust for years to come. Some of the most well known modern furniture brands include:
American Modern: Based in California, American Modern offers modern furniture for every budget, including items that retail for over $1,000. It’s hard to go wrong with any product offered by American Modern, especially considering how affordable many of its pieces are.
Artek: Founded in 1935, the company produces everything from dining sets to bookcases to entertainment centers to entire houses. Its mission statement reads “We develop and manufacture products to meet human needs without regard to profit.” If ever there were a brand that epitomized modern design ideals, it would be Artek.
Danish Design Centre: This Copenhagen based company focuses exclusively on modern Scandinavian design and features a variety of furniture, lighting and accessories. Most of its products are handcrafted in Denmark using sustainable materials like reclaimed wood and recycled metal.
Gabi: Gabi specializes in creating custom modern furniture for both residential and commercial environments. Each piece is carefully crafted according to customer specifications and shipped free of charge within the US.
Herman Miller: Herman Miller was founded in 1934 and has since become synonymous with modern furniture. Its Mission Statement is simple—To improve life through better things. And boy does it deliver.
Lovarino: Lovarino was founded in Italy in 1881 and became a leading manufacturer of fine Italian leather goods. Today it offers a wide range of modern furniture and accessories, as well as leather couches, beds and pillows.
Preston: Preston is known for producing innovative modern office furniture and seating solutions. Their motto is “better together,” because they believe that modern furniture should be designed specifically for use in combination with others rather than being stand alone objects.
Seatronic: Seatronic creates modular furniture that makes interior design easy. The company’s modern collection is broken down into six distinct series: Urban, Transitional, Mid Century, Minimal, Contemporary and Industrial.
Thonet & Co.: Originally founded in Munich Germany in 1866, Thonet & Co. has long been considered one of the world’s foremost producers of modern furniture. Known for its iconic bentwood line of cabinets and chests, the company also manufactures modern bedroom furniture.
Waldorf Astoria: Waldorf Astoria is another notable name in modern furniture production. Established in 1895, the company takes pride in crafting each piece using only the finest materials and techniques.
Where To Buy Modern Furniture Online and In Stores
You probably won’t find modern furniture bargains at Ikea, Target or Walmart. That said, if you know where to look you can find some really great deals on modern furniture.
One of the easiest ways to shop for modern furniture online is to start with a specific type of designer or brand in mind. Then browse Houzz, Wayfair and/or Craigslist for used furniture listings. Many sellers on Craigslist sell used modern furniture for much cheaper than new, making it a great place to find cheap modern finds. If you’re looking for a bargain, set up alerts for your favorite brands and models so you receive notifications whenever someone posts a listing.
Another way to save money on modern furniture is to buy secondhand. When you buy secondhand, you are always buying preowned instead of new. Preowned means that the item has already gone through its intended lifespan. For example, if you buy a sofa, it had to go through several months of use before it actually reaches your house. Buying preowned lets you get a good deal without sacrificing quality. Secondhand stores usually carry used furniture that is certified refurbished, meaning the furniture has been inspected and fixed if necessary.
Secondhand stores are typically smaller businesses than big box retailers like WalMart. They focus solely on selling used furniture, so chances are you won’t see a clearance rack full of modern furniture here either. Instead, you might need to peruse the classified ads section of local papers or check out sites like Kijiji, Gumtree or Poshmark.
Of course, there are plenty of places to buy new modern furniture besides department stores and major chain retailers. Smaller boutiques and specialty shops are popping up around the country offering unique modern furniture collections and interesting modern furniture ideas. Many of these shops specialize in a particular region or area of the country, so searching Google Maps for your city or zip code is a great way to discover local resources.