What Is Organic Modernism? 12 Ways to Nail This Calming Design Style

Time Several Hours

Budget $ $$$

Skill Level

WORDS BY Rebecca Deczynski

Fill 1Created with Sketch.

Published on December 21, 2023

Do you have an undying love for warm neutral hues? Are you known to caress every sweater you see when you’re out shopping? Have you ever had the passing thought that you should take up pottery or woodworking? Organic modernism might just be the style for you.

This design style combines clean lines and earth tone-forward color palettes with plenty of natural textures. Think: Stained wood tables, lived-in linen textiles, and plenty of woven details. While organic modernism is certainly having a moment, it’s understated and simple enough to stand the test of time. 

So, if you find yourself gravitating towards more modern silhouettes and neutral-heavy interiors, but you want your home to look relaxed and calming, organic modernism may be the style for you. Here’s how to get the elevated yet unstudied look in your space.

Bring in the plant life

Organic modernism | Organic modernism design style

This may be one of the easiest ways to lend your space a more tranquil air: Get a stand-out piece of greenery. Treat a lush plant the way you would a piece of furniture, rather than just an ordinary accessory. Go big and bold!

Find balance in statement pieces 

Organic modernism | Organic modernism design style

Organic modern interiors tend to have a sense of restraint. When considering bolder pieces, like large scale art, find a balance. These canvases add texture and color to the space, while still blending in to the room’s overall palette.

Embrace rugged elements

Organic modernism | Organic modernism design style

Interesting wood grain can add “texture” to a space and prevents more formal, streamlined pieces of furniture — like a dining room table and sideboard — from looking stuffy.

Focus your pops of color

Organic modernism | Organic modernism design style

You don’t have to swear off color if you’re going for organic modernism, but it does help to concentrate it. Less is more — take the muted colors of these throw pillows, which match the colors in this room’s rug, as inspiration.

Mix and match furniture styles

Organic modernism | Organic modernism design style

While organic modernism might not be known for bold colors or patterns, that doesn’t mean it’s all about uniformity. Mixing furniture styles helps to create a space that looks more at ease; here, a black, rounded coffee table looks completely distinct from warm leather chairs and a cream-colored sofa, but small details (read: textiles!) tie it all together.

Prioritize function and form

Organic modernism | Organic modernism design style

A key characteristic of organic modern style is that it tends to look put-together, while still being a touch laid back — so keep comfort in mind! Upholstered bench seating makes a formal seating area all the more welcoming and low-key.

Create cohesion with cream

Organic modernism | Organic modernism design style

An all-white space can sound intimidating, but when you design it the organic modern way, it can actually look cozy and comfortable. An off-white rug, sectional, and walls create a soothing effect thanks to their warm undertones. 

Vary textiles

Organic modernism | Organic modernism design style

It bears repeating: Organic modernism is big on texture, texture, texture! Little details add up to create an elevated, well-styled space. See here: A woven bench, a waffled throw, a flatweave rug, and a ribbed lamp.

Find points of contrast

Organic modernism | Organic modernism design style

While shades of beige, cream, and terra cotta tend to be popular hues for organic modern spaces, pops of black can make these interiors look more impactful. A black-framed glass cabinet stands as a focal-point in this living room amid warm-toned furniture and and textiles, and it plays up the staircase’s dark banister.

Leverage an accent color

Organic modernism | Organic modernism design style

A pop of color is a great way to give a room a boost of energy, especially when you bring in various shades. Rust-colored throw pillows and upholstery in this space also complement the interior’s warm wood elements.

Take a minimal approach 

Organic modernism | Organic modernism design style

You know that old adage about taking off one accessory before you leave the house? Whether you abide by that fashion rule or not, it could be worth questioning which decorative elements add to your space and which don’t. Take this bedroom for example: A lack of wall art adds to its calm, grounded look.

Bring in decorative details

Organic modernism | Organic modernism design style

When it comes to decorating an organic modern interior, intentionality is key. A few decorative elements — beautiful ceramic vessels, vintage candlesticks, and small trinkets — can bring personality to a room when arranged in strategic clusters.

Want expert advice on your own space, straight from an interior designer? Get started today with our style quiz.

Words by Rebecca D