Home Advisor: Get the look -- organic modernism

By Jenna Schuster
Think neutral colors, natural elements and interesting textures when designing an organic modern home. (Dreamstime)

If you haven’t heard of organic modernism yet, then get ready — it’s about to become your favorite design trend. It all started in 1941, when the Museum of Modern Art in New York hosted a show titled Organic Design in Home Furnishings. The furniture featured in the exhibition brought together crisp, modern design and natural elements. Now, this trend is re-emerging, covering entire rooms in clean lines, curved furniture and the healing power of nature.

Organic modernism brings together sleek surfaces, cozy textures and warm neutrals to create a space that blends the best of nature and modern design. These tips will help you get the look in your own home.


If you’d like to sample this trend before you commit to expensive upgrades, start with texture. Hemp and jute macrame decorations make great rough wall materials, and they instantly add interest to a space. Different textured metals, like dimpled copper vases and rustic bronze lamps, can also engage the senses. For a softer take, incorporate woven rugs and knit pillows into your design. And for texture inspired by nature, use faux animal skins and furs as floor coverings and wall hangings.


Neutrals have a unique ability to make seemingly opposite elements work in a cohesive design, so a neutral color palette is a perfect fit for organic modern spaces. Slowly integrate warm colors like creamy whites, wicker browns and hemp beiges to create a cozy, airy feel in any room. If you’d like to add a touch of color contrast, copper, charcoal and denim shades are great complements to these neutrals. You can start small with a few neutral throws and work your way up to fresh greige paint or new camel-colored furniture.


You can’t talk about organic modern design without talking furniture. It is how the trend got started after all. If you decide to switch out your furniture to get the look, search for an eclectic combination of pieces. Simple, clean-lined, midcentury modern furniture and lively, rough-hewn wood styles can live in harmony in the organic modern space. Pair live-edge tables, curved furniture and irregularly shaped items with starkly basic, standard furnishings. For a good starting point, look for furniture made of wicker, stone or leather.


Don’t just mimic nature with textures, colors and furnishings. Truly bring the outdoors in by artfully distributing organic elements throughout your home. Natural antlers, driftwood, branches and interesting rocks from the garden can all find new lives as one-of-a-kind décor pieces. And don’t forget about potted plants. Ferns, palms and cactuses are easy, low-cost indoor plants you can use to bring real nature into your space. If you’d like to take it one step further, consider upgrading to river rock backsplashes and marble countertops — and even real hardwood floors!


Jenna Schuster is a reporter for HomeAdvisor, an online marketplace connecting homeowners with service professionals to complete home projects. Visit