Lignin is a natural three-dimensional network polymer with the second largest content in nature. Using pulping and papermaking waste or industrial lignin in biomass refining as raw material, high value-added materials with special functions were prepared, so as to efficiently optimize the utilization of lignin, which is of great significance to solve the problems of increasing shortage of fossil resources and environmental pollution. In this paper, the potential reaction characteristics and application potential of lignin as functional material were evaluated. The latest research progress of lignin based functional materials at home and abroad was introduced. The different preparation processes of lignin based functional materials in polyurethane, polyester, epoxy resin, phenolic resin, electrode energy storage, carbon fiber, nanoparticles and other aspects were summarized in detail. The effects of microstructure and preparation technology of lignin on structural properties and application properties of materials were reviewed.