When we talk about mid-century modern we are referring to mid-20th century advances in design, architecture, and urban development from 1933 to 1965. The style emphasises function and form, and the ethos focused on targeting the needs of the average American family. Mid-century modern grew out of the austerity of the Great Depression and the economic hardships of World War Two – families, whilst still hoping to maintain a high-class sense of style, looked to simplify their lives. The classic, sleek lines of mid-century modern became hugely popular. Simplicity, practicality, minimalism, natural form – these are ideas that have never truly gone out of fashion, and with the rise of vintage shops offering high-quality pieces, there’s never been a better time to add some mid-century style to your home.
Bold, eye-catching light fixtures are an important feature of the mid-century modern style – they should never simply fade into the background. Pendant and sputnik (below) lights where particularly popular at the height of this design movement and are a must-have in any mid-century modern home. Scour antiques shops and vintage websites to find that perfectly dramatic centrepiece that will make a stylish statement.
Work With Wood
Mid-century modern furniture is characterised by clean, simple lines. Wood was a commonly used material, and the focus was on the importance of natural beauty. Don’t hide wood details – let them shine – and use wall colours and fabrics that draw attention to your wood items.
Graphic patterns and mid-century modern create the perfect partnership. The slightly kitschy designs of the late fifties and early sixties are really set off against the clean simplicity of mid-century furniture. Play with pattern and texture, contrasting colours, shades, and fabric designs to create a visually interesting room.
Rough-hewn industrial spaces are ten a penny in this age of urban redevelopment. If you live in a renovated factory, or have a home inspired by urban renewal, don’t be afraid to indulge in mid-century modern furnishings. Consider the soft hues of mustard, avocado, and tangerine, which contrast beautifully with the clean lines of fifties furnishings to form the perfect juxtaposition for urban living.
Mid-century modern is all about showcasing quality pieces of furniture, and subtlety and thoughtful craftsmanship are what make this design style timeless. Use a neutral canvas to allow your furnishings, artwork, and accessories to stand out.
Clean and Bright
You don’t have to sacrifice colour in your quest for simple functionality. A bright colour scheme can work well in creating a mid-century modern environment. The kitchen below, with its simple use of red, white, and orange, looks modern and funky, as if lifted from the pages of a sixties interior design magazine.
If you really want to draw attention to a mid-century modern feature, whether it’s some art, a genuine piece of vintage furniture, or a strong graphic pattern, use a white backdrop. It will make that focal point stand out all the more.
A Functional Space
The key idea of mid-century modern is to combine style with functionality. The bedroom below is designed to be clean, purposeful, and utterly eye-catching; a perfect blend of fashion and minimalism.
A Vintage Nursery
Any room in your home can benefit from a mid-century modern makeover, and the nursery is no exception. There’s nothing pink or blue in this space – just gender-neutral, classic lines that nevertheless reflect a warm, fun atmosphere.
Add a truly mid-century modern feel to a space with a piece of vintage art. Invest in graphic wall hangings and paintings that encompass squares, circles, and strong blocky shapes.