5 Expert-Approved Tips to Create a Calming Organic Modernism-Inspired Space

organic modernism bathroom features hexagon tiles, neutral paint, wood cabinetry, and lots of natural light

The Spruce / Behr

If you love the look of modernism but wish it felt just a bit more livable, then there’s good news: Organic Modernism has entered the chat.

As Anne R. Kokoskie, owner and interior designer of Styled by A.R.K., explained, “Organic modernism is not just married to mid-century modern. It is a collection within a home that grounds itself in a natural way with sustainable components such as fibers, glass, and wood.”

This style is best executed with a crisp, streamlined base that’s elevated and warmed with the addition of natural materials and toasty neutrals. We spoke with a few experts to find out what it is that makes this growing style so alluring, and how best to execute it at home.

The Key Elements of Organic Modernism

Molly Machmer-Wessels, co-founder and designer at Woodland Design Company, explained that there are a few key elements of organic modernism: a limited color palette, organic materials, and sculptural fixtures in the space. 

“It's a marriage of minimalistic design elements and rich textural layers that add interest,” said Molly. “The dimension is created in unique silhouettes. We also do a deep dive into functional living, incorporating thoughtfulness about how each space is used.”

Because of Organic Modernism’s reliance on natural, organic elements, it's a fairly universal style that works well in most homes. But if you're wondering if your space fits the bill, there are a few things to consider.

“It is especially conducive to homes that have architectural features that allow for an abundance of natural light,” said Molly. But she also warns that it’s important “that one specific moment is not competing with the overall balance.” Because, as in nature, Organic Modernism is all about balance.

Here are five expert tips to create an organic modernism style at home:

  • 01 of 05

    Remove Everything and Start From Scratch

    brick stairs with a wicker basket in a hallway

    Woodland Design Company

    To transition a room or entire home to Organic Modernism, Molly suggests stripping the space down to its essentials and “only adding back really specific pieces.” Anything that fits with the aesthetic stays, anything unnecessary or loud can go.

    This method works particularly well if you assess your home room-by-room.

  • 02 of 05

    Create a Refined Color Palette

    living room features neutral paint, black furniture, and black decor items


    Behr Color Expert, Erika Woelfel, pointed out that one of the key aspects of Organic Modernism is the color palette. She specifically notes that warm, refined neutrals are ideal for transitioning a home to organic modernism.

    “Uplifting and versatile neutrals can be used anywhere in the home to help spaces feel light and open and bring about a sense of calm serenity,” she said. “I like to call them “sanctuary colors,” [because] they remind us of nature. As wall colors, these light neutrals harmonize with light wood tones, stone, rattan and cotton textiles.” 

  • 03 of 05

    Go for Natural, Organic Bathroom Materials

    neutral paint on the walls of this bathroom help create a calming effect


    “In bathrooms, we love using natural wood flooring,” said Molly. “It softens the space and brings down the harshness of all the hard surfaces that we more commonly find in those spaces.” 

    As with the other rooms throughout the house, Molly points out that organic materials are key in the bathroom, too. “We love adding organic materials, which can be anything from lush plants to metal with a rich patina. Warming the space with those details can often ground the room.”

    Anne felt similarly, suggesting that the wood can be brought up from the floors into other areas of your bathroom. “From acacia wood accessories to stools [holding] a favorite candle, organic modernism principles create a spa-like feel,” she said.

  • 04 of 05

    Curate Earthy, Natural Items for the Kitchen, Too

    kitchen has a skylight over the sink and open shelving

    Woodland Design Company

    Organic Modernism also works incredibly well in the kitchen, where natural materials are an ideal choice. “In kitchens, we love using natural stone for countertops,” said Molly. “The beautiful earthy quality it brings to a space is unmatched. It is so singular, no piece is the same.  The eye travels around the room picking up all the little bits.” 

    Anne agrees, and she suggests accessorizing with natural materials, as well. “Highlight organic modernism through sisal rugs, wood bowls, and beautiful hand-blown colored glass,” she suggested.  

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Add the Finishing Touches

    an office with a long wooden desk, tiled floors and lots of natural light

    Woodland Design Company

    “In softer spaces like living rooms and bedrooms, we love specifying sculptural lighting,” said Molly. “We think about the lighting as an art installation. It allows for a creative expression that can accomplish form as well as function. The key to creating these spaces is to create a conversation between collected curated pieces and add in new fresh neutral layers.”

    Along with lighting, Anne suggests assessing each layer of your room. “The style thrives when pulled together in a collective way,” she told us. “[Try] blending a Seagrass rug, clean-lined modern linen furniture, and live edge wood tables, accessorized with a hand-blown glass statement piece.”

Above all else, Organic Modernism is a call to a natural, warmer way of living. “The feeling of being grounded comes to mind when thinking of this design,” said Anne. “It has an effortless approach that directly calls out a livable lifestyle.”