What comes to mind when you hear the words organic modern style? It’s a name that instantly captures the essence of a burgeoning design aesthetic, while actually telling you nothing at all. “Organic” and “modern” can mean completely different things in different contexts, so how do we decipher what the trend is all about?
Either way, it’s an interior design trend that strikes a chord. At the time of writing, the topic of Organic Modern Style has nearly 30 million views on TikTok. But while it may be going viral in the video sharing app, don’t dismiss it as purely a social media obsession. It’s rooted in a very real design mood that top designers, including Jake Arnold, are currently drawing inspiration from.
Of course, in thousands of cases of organic modern style online, it’s easy for the waters of what organic modern style is to get clouded. With that in mind, we spoke to top interior designers about organic modern style and the way they’re interpreting it in 2022 and beyond.
What is Organic Modern Style?
Organic modern style is a design ethic that has a foundation in Scandinavian minimalism, while also borrowing ideas from the mid-century modern movement and bohemian interior styles.
The resulting brew sees a focus on craftsmanship and the beauty of natural materials, soft curves and organic shapes, while at the same time creating an atmosphere of laid-back luxury. For Susana Simonpietri, creative director of design studio Chango & Co
(opens in new tab)., it’s about ‘creating livable, comfortable spaces with the intention and balance of casual elegance’
For ideas on how to create the organic modern look for yourself, we asked top designers, who brought this design aesthetic to the fore in a modern way, for their styling advice.
1. Look at sculptural, organic shapes
Credit: Michael Clifford Design: Jake Arnold
In conversation with Jake Arnold
(opens in new tab) while judging the Etsy 2022 Design Awards (opens in new tab), the interior designer and co-founder of The Expert noticed a certain trend in shapes that can be traced back to this emerging aesthetic. “Designers like to play with more organic shapes with asymmetrical shapes,” Jake told us, “designs have definitely become more playful.”
These shapes are sometimes soft curves and waves, sometimes spheres and ridges, but they are defined by a sense of substance – a chunk as you please – that captures the spirit of modern furniture design.
Credit: The Invisible Collection
It’s how these shapes combine modern and organic qualities that make them so successful, argues Australian interior stylist Tim Neve
(opens in new tab). “Because the designs are inspired by nature itself, the finished aesthetic feels authentic,” he says. Tim recently launched his first furniture collection, Debut, which channels the energy of this new wave of organic modern style. ‘I tried to mix unexpected contrasts of form and material’, he explains. ‘The result is daring but has a refined simplicity.’
There is another reason why these organic shapes also capture our imagination, and it has to do with contrast, according to Susana Simonpietri of Chango & Co. ‘We work within the architecture of the spaces we design and like to contrast the clean, rectilinear lines with sculptural curves of furniture pieces and lighting,’ explains Susana.’ This draws attention to both the forms present and the negative space, both of which are equally important.’
Interior designer Jen Talbot also notices that customers are more attracted to these sculptural forms. ‘Customers crave less angular, more approachable shapes,’ she says. “They want something fresh and original and the furniture line is one way to achieve that.”
2. Embrace the beauty of natural materials
Credit: Kelly Wearstler
Taking on organic shapes is a great place to start, but without the right variety of materials to complement it, they can feel inauthentic, even youthful. “We tend to combine raw natural fibers with more sculpturally shaped pieces of furniture, creating an interesting balance between texture and form,” explains Susana Simonpietri, creative director of design studio Chango & Co. from. ‘For example, by adding an organically shaped vase or a unique hanging lamp in a contrasting metal finish, a rich materiality is created in spaces.’
When using wood, the more expressive the grain, the better. It’s something that Los Angeles-based furniture designers Michaele Simmering and Johannes Pauwen of Kalon
(opens in new tab) thinking is important to consider when choosing furniture for your schedule. “The wood grain is a huge part of the aesthetic of the piece,” Michaele says. “I think without that there is no tension, and the resulting furniture can be very flat and dull. The grain brings movement, warmth and visual texture to the piece as a whole layer.’
Credit: Brian Wetzel Design: Jen Talbot Design
In addition to more rustic materials like jute, rattan, and terracotta, stone is another natural texture to introduce that can help take your plan into a more contemporary and luxurious arena, while also embracing those all-important natural and organic shapes. In this contemporary dining room, designer Jen Talbot
(opens in new tab) repurposed a stone table from the 80s, originally with a glass top. ‘We reimagined it with whitewashed ash wood and attached it to the stone bases,’ explains Jen, ‘while the dining room chairs we developed were custom-made for the customer. The goal was to put together a space that formed a partnership between shapes, yet remained classic.” 3. Wrap your space in texture
Credit: Kristian van der Beek. Furniture design: Tim Neve
Introducing texture doesn’t stop at furniture and finishes. For the modern, organic look, you can also introduce it on your walls. “Melt interior walls, especially Venetian plaster, are having a moment and I love the way you can easily cocoon a space with an inviting, warm texture,” says interior stylist Tim Neve.
“The sheer floor-to-ceiling oatmeal linen curtains also add understated visual impact, filtering the natural light into a room with a warm glow,” he adds.
The color palette of organic modern style is undoubtedly rooted in neutral and richer earth tones. “We describe it as relaxed, warm, contemporary and based on neutral tones with a hint of color,” says Susana Simonpietri of Chango & Co.
To enhance the organic element of your room, make sure to include greenery as well. One of the best indoor trees can bring in a different sculptural element for a more lofty style of houseplant.