One of the best ways to get a lesson in design history, or discover the evolution of decorating trends, is by visiting one of the many design museums across the globe. Choose carefully and you might even find an exhibition that’s entirely dedicated to furniture, art and objects from past and present. If you’re going on a trip anytime soon, consider paying a visit to one of these museums.
Scroll down for 10 museums across the globe that will inspire your decorating!
Museum Of The Home In London
If you’re looking for something free to do in London, consider visiting the Museum Of The Home. It opened its doors in 1914 as a museum of furniture and woodwork. Since then, it’s grown to
a collection of 40,000 everyday domestic objects dating back as far as the 1600s. Travel back in time and explore the exhibit that recreates rooms based on real London homes. Some highlights include a front room from the 1970s, a parlor from 1870 and a drawing room from 1830.
Photographer: Courtesy of Museum of the Home
Design Museum in Finland
Explore Finnish design at its finest while strolling through the Design Museum. This
institution features over 125,000 images and 75,000 objects on display. If you’re unable to catch a flight to Helsinki anytime soon, go for a scroll on the museum’s website and check out its digital exhibitions. One is called “Utopia Now: The Story of Finnish Design” which showcases pieces from the 1950s, the golden age of Finnish design. Explore retro-looking furniture, vases, technology, decor and more!
Photographer: Susanna Lönnrot (2017)
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum is the only institution in the U.S. that’s dedicated to historical and contemporary design. Its permanent collection features more than 215,000 design objects spanning 30 centuries, such as decorative arts, textiles and wallcoverings. Take a walk through the “Sarah & Eleanor Hewitt: Designing a Modern Museum” exhibit for an inside look at the creation of this museum in 1897.
Photographer: Agaton Strom Photography
Designmuseum in Copenhagen
Since first opening its doors back
in 1890, the goal of the Designmuseum is to communicate the idea of quality within design. The collections contain objects from prehistoric times, including furniture, textiles and ceramics. Formerly the Royal Frederik’s Hospital, the building itself is packed with history and one of Copenhagen’s finest rococo buildings.
Photographer: Laura Stamer – Fritz Hansen
Liang Yi Museum in Hong Kong
The Liang Yi Museum is a must-visit for antique lovers. This four-storey museum is home to priceless collections of Chinese antique furniture. With nearly 400 pieces
on display, visitors can admire authentic items made of huanghuali and zitan materials from the Ming and Qing dynasties. This museum is located on Hollywood Rd., a well-known spot in Hong Kong for antique shops.
Photographer: Courtesy of Liang Yi Museum
Vitra Schaudepot in Germany
There is no shortage of furniture on display at the the Vitra Schaudepot. It’s home to 7,000 furniture items and 1,000 lighting objects, which is sure to leave visitors with endless design inspiration after one visit. The museum also has a
permanent collection presenting over 400 pieces of modern furniture design spanning from the 1800s to today. If anything on display captures your attention, you can see if there are any souvenirs inspired by it at the Schaudepot Shop.
Photographer: Mark Niedermann
Ikea Museum in Sweden
Anyone who has spent time putting together a piece of Ikea furniture will enjoy a visit to the
Ikea Museum. This museum is located in what used to be the very first Ikea store. Walk through “Ikea Through the Ages” to see how a single store in Älmhult in the 1940s evolved into one of the most recognizable furniture brands in the world. And rest assured, the iconic Swedish meatballs are available for when hunger hits.
Photographer: © Inter IKEA Systems B.V. 2022
Imperial Furniture Museum in Vienna
What used to be the place where Austrian royalty stored unused furniture has now become one the largest furniture museums in the world. The Imperial Furniture Museum contains
over 165,000 items that originate from over three centuries. Visitors can browse through furniture of many styles, such as Biedermeier and Viennese Modern. Take one stroll through this furniture gallery and you’re bound to come across pieces you would never see in your local home store.
Photographer: Severin Wurnig
The Design Museum in London
Another spot to hit up in London is the Design Museum. Its
collections have a focus on key designs that shape the modern world in every form. From architecture to furniture, visitors can learn about the history of mass production through its many exhibits, including one called “Designer Maker User.” This permanent collection contains nearly 1,000 objects viewed from the angles of the designer, manufacturer and user — giving you a complete understanding of items from conception to reality.
Photographer: Hufton + Crow
The Finn Juhl House in Denmark
If you ever wanted to integrate mid-century modern design into your space, check out the
Finn Juhl House virtually or in person. This museum was formerly the home of a furniture designer and architect named Finn Juhl. His pieces were made with the human body in mind, and highly acclaimed for its functionality and attention to artistic detail. Learn about Finn Juhl’s origin story, and how he became a major trailblazer in modernist style right from his own home.
Photographer: Courtesy of House of The Finn Juhl Museum