What is Modern Furniture

The term “modern furniture” is a common phrase in the China furniture market. However, whether to classify furniture as modern furniture, contemporary furniture, or vintage furniture depend on many variables – at times this can be a little confusing.

To help you get the right metal furniture featuring 19th-century ideas, this article explores all the critical aspects you are looking for.

Keep reading…

What is a Modern Furniture?

These are furniture designs inspired by modernism. That is in terms of design, material selection, and overall finishing.

When it comes to the timeframe, these furniture designs were common during the late 19th century. This was just after the Word War II.

Furthermore, the industrial revolution also played an important role in the production of modernized furniture. With mechanization, there was a shift from having decorative furniture to more:

  • Functionality
  • Mass production
  • Varying aesthetics


Benefits of Modernism in Metal Furniture Construction

Modernized furniture construction offered unlimited benefits and transformations. A reason it became popular after World War II.

But, why should you consider modern-style furniture designs?

  • With the introduction of machines, it became easier to form complex metal parts for the furniture construction
  • Many metal furniture materials became available for construction since the fabrication process was easier
  • It lead to the design and construction of furniture with polished surfaces
  • Adopting better construction lead to lightweight metal furniture
  • Unlimited surface finishing for the furniture with varying aesthetic

In short, modern style furniture offer many unlimited options when it comes to shapes, color, and architectural design of the furniture. For example, you have metal lamp table, metal bench, etc.

Modern metal furniture
Modern metal furniture

Modern Furniture Characteristics

To develop new cultural norms in furniture design and construction, the modern style of furniture adopted very unique characteristics.

These characteristics were inspired by:

  • Bauhaus School in Germany
  • De Stijl in Amsterdam
  • Deutscher Werkbund in Germany
  • African Culture
  • Asian Culture

Each group championed for unique features which eventually formed important characteristics of modern-style furniture.

In short, whether you are looking for modern living furniture or modern office furniture the key characteristics you will notice are:

Metal bench
Metal bench

· Strict Designs Illustrating Modernization

Modern-style furniture designs tend to follow a strict style or pattern. That is, a pattern associated with the modernization in the furniture construction industry in the early 1900s.

They exhibit uncluttered furniture designs. That is, the furniture style tends to be more straightforward. Although aesthetics is a priority, design gives functionality the highest priority.

This modern furniture style favors simplicity with strong lines – no detailed patterns or carvings.

· Furniture Functionality

More functional furniture features as opposed to the decorative pattern associated with the old designs. In this furniture, there is a clear shift from the Victorian era furniture designs.

Unlike the traditional designs where the focus was primarily on decorative purposes, the purpose or functionality became a critical aspect.

· Flexibility in Design and Furniture Construction

Depending on the prevailing conditions, you can easily adapt and adjust the furniture to your theme. You can use various metal materials to construct the furniture to achieve immense flexibility according to your unique requirements.

You can either adjust or move the metal furniture according to suit your theme.

· Color Tend to be Neutral

One distinct feature of modern design furniture is the neutral colors. With neutral colors, the modern furniture style ensures everything remains clean and simple.

That is, you will rarely find say metallic or very bright colors on modern-style furniture. Usually, these metal furniture tend to favor natural colors. It does not matter whether you choose:

  • Classic modern furniture
  • Modern industrial furniture or,
  • Modern art deco furniture
  • Transitional modern, etc.

Therefore, with modern style furniture, don’t expect bold colors. That is decent furniture with a simplistic look defined by modern style furniture design.

Minimalistic Designs with Perfect Geometrical Shapes

Modern style furniture has nearly perfect geometrical shapes which tend to be sophisticated yet very simple. From modern sofas, modern chairs, modern cupboards, or modern coffee tables, simplicity remains paramount.

When it comes to geometry, the design focuses on both 2D and 3D shapes. The furniture tends to have “sharp edges” with perfect geometrical shapes such as squares, rectangles, or triangles.

Best Material for Furniture Design

Although this furniture we made from materials, fabricating metal became easier. Modern metal furniture could easily be fabricated by mechanization.

Many pieces of furniture were made from steel and other materials such as aluminum. However, it is important to note that the modern metal furniture we fabricated alongside other materials.

For instance, metal furniture could blend other materials such as wood or plastic to meet specific functionality requirements.

In short, the modernization in furniture construction led to the incorporation of many materials to achieve functional designs.

Metal dinning furniture
Metal dinning furniture

Mid-Century Modern Furniture Style

Although the modern style furniture market was an important revolution in the industry, there came yet another significant moment – the mid-century modern furniture.

As the name suggests, mid-century furniture was popular between the 1950s and 1960s. To some extent, mid-century furniture became very popular.

Modern Furniture vs Contemporary Furniture

Most people tend to confuse modern and contemporary furniture. However, contemporary furniture is not necessarily the same as modern design furniture.

The contemporary furniture was the postmodernist designs.

So, let’s quickly compare the two furniture designs by highlighting key critical elements:

Contemporary Furniture Modern Furniture
· Contemporary furniture designs were not inspired by any movement or they are not associated with a specific movement

· Generally, these designs are inspired by the current period. Ideally, they reflect the trending furniture designs and they keep changing depending on the needs.

· You can trace their history to the early 1900s and 1950s when the modernist movement began.

· The movement was viewed as a rebellion that was resisting ornate furniture designs.

· The furniture embraces today’s design. Therefore, contemporary furniture designs change with current requirements and specifications. · Key furniture design and manufacturing principle focuses on a clean look, better finish, simple design, and embracing different metal furniture materials
·  Contemporary furniture designs feature sweeping curves. Usually, the curves are bold. · Modern style furniture is distinctly identified with the straight lines
· Bold colors are most associated with contemporary furniture · They feature warmer colors


Even though post-modern furniture is contemporary furniture, with time they transition to vintage furniture. Putting this into perspective, a piece of contemporary furniture from the 1980s is regarded as vintage furniture now.

Contemporary metal coffee table
Contemporary metal coffee table

Well, this is simply due to the time factor.  Contemporary furniture tend to be very dynamic

At the same time, modern style furniture and contemporary furniture tend to share some similarities. It is these similarities that can make it difficult to distinguish these furniture designs.

For instance:

  • Looking at modern style furniture and contemporary furniture, the two tend to be simple, uncluttered, and superior finish. Moreover, the lines are usually very smooth.
  • Both modern and contemporary furniture advocate for lightweight furniture
  • The metal chairs and metal sofas in both categories can have exposed legs

When to Choose Modern Style Furniture Design

These metal furniture are best for people who appreciate the 1900 to 1950 designs. Remember, this period was characterized by unique aesthetics which have very strict rules in furniture construction.

That is, if you like:

  • Highly functional furniture elements
  • Furniture with warm colors
  • Trying to incorporate natural colors
  • Single design theme

At the same time, if you are not bothered by the current furniture trend designs, then probably modern design furniture can be your best bet.


Modern furniture is uniquely identified by strict rules that the furniture construction process follows. Besides, the time frame (1900 to 1950s) also plays a critical role when classifying modern style furniture.

At DongRong, we will design and fabricate all your metal furniture featuring the modern style of furniture craft. You can contact us now for all your furniture from China.

More Resources:

Modernism in Furniture – Source: Wikipedia

Modern vs. Contemporary Furniture – Source: STRACHAN

Modern Design Furniture – Source: Britannica

One Stop Furniture OEM Factory

Dongrong is a high-end OEM furniture manufacturer in China, we provide the best service to our customers.
Update cookies preferences
Scroll to Top