Integral membrane proteins are vital to life, being responsible for information and material exchange between a cell and its environment. Although high-resolution structural information is needed to understand how these functions are achieved, membrane proteins remain an under-represented subset of the protein structure databank. Solution NMR is increasingly demonstrating its ability to help address this knowledge shortfall, with the development of a diverse array of techniques to counter the challenges presented by membrane proteins. Here we document the advances that are helping to define solution NMR as an effective tool for membrane protein structure determination. Developments introduced over the last decade in the production of isotope-labeled samples, reconstitution of these samples into the growing selection of NMR-compatible membrane-mimetic systems, and the approaches used for the acquisition and application of structural restraints from these complexes are reviewed.