The Modern Furniture Guide by Moss

The Modern Furniture Guide by Moss

Navigating the world of Modern Furniture should be a joyous journey. For us at Moss, it’s a lifelong pursuit, filled with new experiences and personal epiphanies, crafting pieces that transform spaces into dream destinations. It should be a holiday, not a daunting experience where your metaphorical bags get lost in transit. That said, there’s a lot to unpack. The term, “Modern Design'' gets thrown around with reckless abandon but there’s so much to it, and the evolution that has transpired over the past century is dizzying. The shift from ornate and traditional furniture to the sleek, minimalist styles is a fascinating transformation. Equally intriguing are the tribes that were assembled along the way, each movement carving out their own style niches, combining the modern elements in various arrangements to give life to even more unique creations. So, buckle up, Moss Furniture is taking you on a trip, through the evolution of modern furniture, exploring its history, key elements, and various styles that have captivated both novices and design enthusiasts alike.


A Brief History of Modern Furniture:

In a nutshell, the roots of modern furniture trace back to the industrial revolution, where the demand for simpler, faster, and more cost-effective pieces led to a departure from traditional styles. The modernist movements reshaped the perception of furniture, breaking away from the overly-stylised, intricate designs that were exclusive to the wealthy, partially due to their astronomical production costs. Mass production, new materials, and the philosophy of "form follows function" gave birth to ergonomic, functional, and aesthetically pleasing pieces that gained popularity across all social classes. Design was given back to the people and a creative boom ensued.  

Key Elements of Modern Furniture:

Within the vast realm of modern furniture, several key elements and principles define the distinctive style. Below we delve into a few key ingredients:


The embodiment of “less is more”, Minimalism is characterised by clean lines and the absence of frilly ornate details. The focus on simplicity, and the avoidance of clutter is key. At Moss, we love the refined restraint of minimalistic design, so much so that it’s a key element seen in our SS23/24 Collection. 

Geometric Shapes:

Geometric, balanced furniture is a key part to modern design. Geometric shapes have always been used, however modern furniture focus’ on simple shapes/fabric patterns and textures, which complement the ‘key furniture pieces or the design itself’. 

Clean, Straight Lines:

These are extremely prominent in modern design, clean and straight lines create a sharp, sleek aesthetic that defines the modern furniture look. 

Metal Accents:

Modern furniture has redefined the use of metals, incorporating them as functional accessories such as legs and cabinet handles. Emphasis is placed on materials like chrome, powder coat, stainless steel, brass, and copper.

Bold Colours:

Most modern-style homes feature neutral tones and shades of black and white. When bold coloured furniture is introduced, the contrast acts as a feature or focal point, introducing playfulness and vibrancy to the space and complementing the surrounding neutral palette. An extension of this could be playful patterns and textures but used sparingly. At Moss, we believe that using colour in the home is the easiest way to spark joy and intrigue!  

Modern Furniture Styles:

Within the ‘modern category’ there are numerous sub-genres and styles. These iconic looks harness one or more of the elements above but each with its own unique characteristics.

Art Deco:

Inspired by the technical advances of the 1920s, Art Deco incorporates modern elements like smooth lines, geometric shapes, and organic materials, with a glamorous and luxe style. Materials include silver/brass, mirror, glass, crystal, stone, lacquer and animal prints.   

Mid Century Modern:

Drawing inspiration from the 1940s-1960s this era was marked by emerging man-made materials, innovative processes and experimentation. Mid Century Modern style embraces the elements of Form, Function, Minimalism, Geometric Shapes. Materials include plastic, metals, glass, vinyl, plywood, perspex, and lucite, as well as brass accents, oak/walnut/teak and marble.


Characterised by simplicity, clean lines, and a monochromatic palette with colour used as an accent. It usually combines an open floor plan, lots of light, and functional furniture. Plus it focuses on the shape, colour and texture of just a handful of essential decor pieces and layering elements.


Related to ‘minimalist design’ set apart by plush textures, layers and cosiness or “Hygge” as they say in Norway. Soft/clean lines. Full of natural light. Warm monochromatic palettes paired with wood textures, furs, rattan, linen, cotton, leather – lots of natural fibres and materials.

At Moss we’re driven by a deep appreciation for good design, and that tends to transcend labels and categories. Adhering to the principle of "form follows function'' is a great guiding light. For a design to truly resonate it has to serve its purpose as well as be aesthetically pleasing. Pulling from modern design elements throughout the ages, we love using clean lines, softened by rounded edges, natural materials, textures and bold, playful colours. At the end of the day, we believe that furniture can be as much a feature as art on the walls and is just another way to express your personality to the world!