How To Master Mid-Century Modern Design. Even if you’re not a design connoisseur, you’ve probably heard of mid-century modern design and have most likely been in a room with the style at some point in your life. And with good reason: this is one of those eternal, always-chic design trends that never seem to lose traction or convertibility. But what exactly does it imply?
We set out to emphasize what makes the mid-century modern design stand out from all other design styles, why it could work for you, and how to make the most of it with ease, in order to help you better grasp its popularity and unending resonance across generations.
WHERE DOES THE TERM “MID-CENTURY MODERN” COME FROM?
Though the name “mid-century modern” wasn’t used until the mid-80s, and no one knows for sure when it began, the era encompasses a blend of post-World War II practicality, 1950s optimism, 1960s earthiness, and 1970s tones and textures neatly wrapped up in a beautiful homage to Scandinavian simplicity.
Call it a reaction to the extravagance and gilt-accented stuffiness of interior design and architecture from the 1920s to the 1940s, but the mid-century modern decor was a full refutation and restart for the senses at the time of its origin.
With its focus on comfort and practicality wrapped in a stunning design that never goes out of style, the atmosphere is fresh and perky, retro-tinged, and immensely seductive. Mid-century modern décor, unlike previous aesthetic styles, is simplified in design, with form following function and accentuating the materials used rather than making them something they aren’t.
- Mid-century modern design is ideal for individuals who want to incorporate real antique styling into their house without going overboard, as today’s iteration is considerably more subtle in its nostalgia.
- Making mid-century modern homes is a lot of fun, and it’s a terrific way to bring even the tiniest of spaces to life with understated design idiosyncrasies.
- The ideal mid-century modern home has lovely decor, to be sure, but it also has a functional, sturdy, and affordable design that is pleasing to the eye.
- In comparison to minimalism or traditional interior design, the age also provides for more freedom.
Because mid-century modern design has its roots in architecture and its furnishings were designed to accent the era’s design sensibilities, here’s a brief breakdown of the architectural aspects you’ll want to highlight in your home to effortlessly incorporate mid-century modern interior design:
Mid-century modern design, which emerged after WWII, took away the unnecessary to keep things faithful to their original core. Keep everything structured, utilitarian, and long-lasting, with a few design flourishes for added appeal.
Use natural features in a space to bring the outdoors in, such as exposed beams, wood paneling, and unspoiled brick walls. Add personality with abstract prints, patterns, and art that are free of cultural connotations and more easily identified with the era’s arts and crafts movement. One of the primary reasons why people keep praising mid-century modern décor is its general informal, lounge-ready vibe, so have fun with it and keep it comfortable – just don’t go overboard.
MODERN COLORS FROM THE MID-CENTURY
Mid-century modern design, like fashion, tends to reflect the era’s energy and direction, with kitschy, kicky bright hues that play on the optimism of the 1950s while natural woods, greens, oranges, and earthy tones riff on the sophisticated spirit of the 1960s and 1970s.
If you don’t have access to an original mid-century modern home, you can incorporate the design into your own by using your colour scheme as a foundation.
For a clearly mid-century modern living room, think of moodier colours like burned sage, orange, and rust, while every other room allows for more fun take on hues like turquoise, cheerful yellow, brilliant orange, and primary colours dispersed throughout. To keep the blend heady and not oversaturated, make sure each space is grounded with sobering neutrals.
FURNITURE IN THE MODERN STYLE OF THE MID-CENTURY
Clean lines, simplicity, practicality, and luxurious silhouettes are all hallmarks of mid-century modern design. When it comes to furniture materials, think about modern materials like plastic, acrylic, and even Formica.
Hairpin legs, low streamlined seats, plastic shell chairs, cocooning lounges, matte finishes, and consoles with basic surfaces punctured with facades emitting personality via design embellishments are among the other distinguishing features.
MODERN TEXTILES FROM THE MID-CENTURY
Any mid-century modern home decor reference will quickly reveal the obvious: the movement’s main print direction is naive, lively, abstract, full of geometrical graphics, and sadly a touch childlike and overly retro.
To avoid a heavy-handed kitsch approach, source similar to the era fabrications and textiles in tiny doses to bring your mid-century modern home design into the moment. Take the room above, which is nearly print-free except for the statement-making curtains and a single throw pillow, while focusing on just the appropriate, minimal colour scheme to keep everything fresh and ageless.
ACCESSORIES IN A MID-CENTURY MODERN STYLE
Accessories are a great way to incorporate mid-century modern design into your home without taking up too much space or exceeding your budget. Take a look at any of the rooms presented here and you’ll note that they all have a common thread of spare surfaces and simplicity. Bring in a few ornamental objects that are unusual enough to stand alone and follow suit.
browse local flea markets, secondhand shops, and online auction houses like 1st Dibs for rare, one-of-a-kind bargains that are guaranteed to bring your mid-century modern house fantasies to life if you’re looking for advice on how to decorate mid-century modern on a budget.
Source decorative extras that evoke the 1950s and 1960s in saturated colours for a mid-century modern living room and common areas, such as a trio of porcelain vases with naive patterns, sculptures in varying sizes for added drama, and wall hangings and mobiles with graphic shapes in vivid hues for unexpected jolts of colour.
MODERN WINDOW TREATMENTS FROM THE MID-CENTURY
Take use of every window you have and allow the light in, as natural features and an emphasis on the outdoors are hallmarks of mid-century modern architecture. Find sheer solid drapes, shades, and window coverings that can be effortlessly retracted to allow you to take in the scenery outside.
Despite the fact that mid-century modern home decor is all about clean straight lines and playful pops of colour and print, Decor Aid’s interior designers recommend neutral window treatment fabrications that are simple in design and symmetrical for a modern take on mid-century modern home design, as you should never want your decor to be all vintage – it’s all about the mix.
ROOM BY ROOM IN MID-CENTURY MODERN STYLE:
You certainly have a good idea of what makes mid-century modern design so appealing, but how do you bring it to life in your own home from room to room?
We’ll take you from room to room and break down what you’ll need to create a remarkably distinct mid-century modern kitchen, a snazzy living room and dining room featuring highlights of the design movement, and a comfortable oasis of a mid-century modern bedroom to help you master mid-century modern design with aplomb and authority.
When it comes to infusing your house with heady doses of mid-century modern decor, the kitchen might be one of the most difficult areas to finish with an authentic hand. For one thing, updated appliances stand out against mid-century modern design, and new appliances are frequently much larger in scale.
Consider adding bright bursts of colour, modest vintage appliances, and decorative extras throughout to create an up-to-date mid-century modern kitchen that is warm, inviting, full of personality, and practical. And, fortunately for you, there are a host of well-made appliances modeled like vintage kitchen gadgets available at a range of budgets. Choose high-shine or matte finishes, as well as lively primary colours grounded with dark natural wood for added punch, for a mid-century contemporary design kitchen colour palette.
Dining Room in a Mid-Century Modern Style:
We included the Parisian dining room above as a perfect illustration of how you can bring the era into your home no matter what its structural styling is like, even though we did a very excellent job of gathering inspiring photographs that showcase mid-century modern home décor and architecture.
In fact, as demonstrated above, it may create quite a potent concoction. For starters, the solid Danish-inspired dining table and chairs exude a powerful presence that contrasts nicely with the room’s sombre tones and subtly feminine contours. But, most importantly, we enjoy how the room’s overall appeal combines the best of mid-century modern home architecture with a whimsical sense of off-kilter oddity – all while being entirely linked.
Living Room in the Mid-Century Modern Style:
Communal rooms, like any other style, are important meeting and ornamental areas in mid-century modern home interior design. And, as you might expect, for good reason: these are frequently the largest rooms in a home, and they serve as conversation areas where a rich collection of furniture may be shown alongside comfy furnishings and spectacular design.
In fact, as demonstrated above, it may create quite a potent concoction. For starters, the solid Danish-inspired dining table and chairs exude a powerful presence that contrasts nicely with the room’s somber tones and subtly feminine contours. But, most importantly, we enjoy how the room’s overall appeal combines the best of mid-century modern home architecture with a whimsical sense of off-kilter oddity – all while being entirely linked. Bring in unexpected items that aren’t from or dedicated to the era but have a similar look and silhouette, since they’ll help to personalize your space and provide you more freedom.
Any vintage or antique store will have a plethora of classic and handsome nightstands, headboards, and bed frames that seem timeless thanks to their clean, uncomplicated Danish-influenced design and durable construction.
Because the best mid-century modern interior design is all about classics with a decidedly genderless attitude, you should be able to put together a perfectly functional mid-century modern bedroom with confidence and ease. Sticking with simple lines, muted tones, and texture plays is the key here.
Take a look at how the bedroom depicted above accomplishes this while also lavishly mirroring the home’s architecture for a subtly stimulating take on mid-century modern style. To introduce flashes of fun silhouettes in any space of your home, follow suit and go for extras like the enormous chair and multi-arm floor lamp.
Bathroom in the Mid-Century Modern Style:
Though a bathroom isn’t the best place for vintage-inspired enthusiasm and dark woods, there are still plenty of ways to include the style in modest doses for a completely mid-century contemporary home design.
For example, the bathroom above contains minimal marble and sleek lines for a timeless appeal, but a custom vanity with juxtaposed wooden drawers, a basic yet enormous black, and white canvas wall hanging, and a mid-century contemporary seat were brought in for a wonderful, easy-on-the-eye effect. In small spaces in your home, take a similar technique by using even the tiniest of accents and accessories to express the era in flair.