The Mid-Century Modern furniture and decor triumphed in the 1950s and 1960s. Those were tough times for people, right after two World Wars. As the old saying goes ‘difficult times produce innovative designs’, so out of practical reasons came the Mid-Century Movement. Even though the resources were drained, the spirits remained high.
People thrived on the new opportunity opening a new path in their lives. Neither lack of substantial capital nor sophisticated materials prevented the pioneers of Mid-Century Modern times. The designers used minimal resources at the same time proving that simple is, therefore, timeless. Some would ask: “Why the designs that were created on that occasion are still influential?” The answer is pure in its form, clean lines, simple materials and natural hues.That is why no matter if you live in a historical building or a newly built one, mid-century style is an everlasting way to personalize your surrounding.’Simplify your life’ – is a credo here, just like people did after World War II. From the economic point of view, we live in hard times, and experience similar difficulties, as back in the 1950s. Therefore, instead of struggling financially with fancy design, choose a fuss-free Mid-Century Modern Style.
To make creating your household a proverbial piece of cake, read the fundamentals of how to build Mid-Century Modern look.
Blending outside world with indoors
Nowadays it might sound odd but back in the ‘50s, it was a revolution to take advantage of having a garden or a patio area. Houses designed in that decade created a natural flow between indoors and outdoors. Designers built households with giant windows, garden areas and floor-to-ceiling sliding doors entering patios. Average men dreamt of a reading nook in a serene spot under the tree or throwing a backyard party for neighbours.
Make it work: Can you picture yourself stretching out on a lounge, in the rear garden, after coming home from a hectic time in your office? Do not hold back from marrying indoor space with the outside. If you have a vision and time, install massive windows that do not obscure the view of the beautiful landscape. Spacious, open plan layout is a grand idea too. Bright, open space appeals to everyone. If tight on the budget, consider a wallpaper with a panoramic view of natural habitat.
Let the wooden furniture shine
Traditional midcentury furnishings were produced in masses by many innovative artists. To name a few: Charles and Ray Eames, Eero Saarinen, Milo Baughman or Arne Jacobsen were the most sought after designers of that era. Even though the time has passed, the mid-century furniture seems not to go out of fashion up to these days. The iconic style of those timeless pieces features clean cut lines with delicate angles. Wood, especially teak, was the most widely used material, as well as fiberglass that occurred from to time. The artists relied on minimalist design with no fancy upholstery or quirky patterns.
Make it work: You can find midcentury pieces of furnishing in vintage stores, pawn shops or thrift stores throughout the country. There is no chance of mistaking that signature furniture. All of them made from a mix of natural and manmade materials, like plastics, resin, metal, laminates or mentioned above, fiberglass. Not to go overboard while creating your home, splurge in some authentic items but the rest of the room complement with modern accents.
Mix of glass and nature
Large-Scale houses of modern midcentury times all feature flat roofs or slightly low angled with a broad use of glass, fireplaces as focal points and large patio doors. You can see closeness with nature and organic style of living. There are no extravagant details, so the pure form is immaculately preserved.
Make it work: You do not need to keep that simple form to a minimum. Splash some pop-art forms on a wall display or add a dash of colour in beautifully tiled kitchen backsplash in a vibrant tone. Use hand blown vase glasses or sculptures made from fiberglass or resin to even the otherwise Mid-Century Modern look.
Iconic Style: Mid-Century Modern Patterns
Bold, geometric lines, and vibrant hues are typical examples of patterns on the walls during that period. The rooms were adorned with large graphic ornaments, sporting whimsical or flowery motifs. People of that era were not shy about textures either. The favourable fabrics, like rayon, wool or burlap gave a luxurious feel and added weight.
Make it work: the best way is to shop online for fabrics suppliers who supply mid/century modern materials with a nowadays look. Tinsmiths or Sanderson are well-known companies where you can order made to measure new takes on fabrics.
Mid-century table, floor and ceiling lamps had curvy lines and bold hues. Rarely they featured wood legs, most often were made of metal. Lightings of that era double acted as sculptures due to its extraordinary artistic form.
Make it work: a motif of artichoke dominated not only the wallpaper’s motif but also came out in lighting. You can buy an imitation of such lamp and bring mid-century modern to your house. The distinctive design of lighting of that decade makes is a very popular choice for today’s homeowners.
Smooth line cooking
In a typical Mid-Century kitchen sat a table made of plexiglass with matching chairs. The countertops were dull looking, with no decorative elements. The cabinets were wood or wood veneer. Kitchens were full of colourful appliances, orange or pink, and a hostess was using chrome toasters or brushed aluminum canisters. There was glazed pottery on site and dinnerware, mostly melamine dishes, came in pastel tones.
Make it work: You can quickly and hassle free remodel your kitchen into a Mid-Century era. Give the countertops a new, sleek line, with no-fuss and ornaments. By choosing a colourful tiled backsplash in a vibrant hue, alongside with swapping to linoleum or cork flooring, there you are transforming your kitchen in Mid-Century Modern living.
The midcentury era was so full of innovative and talented artists. Homeowners took pride in accessorizing their households in real art gems. Geometrical lines, futuristic atomic patterns or starbursts adorned everything, from lamp shades to single deco items or bed covers. Drapery or curtains were using sparingly as not to obscure giant windows. However heavy woven fabrics with tiebacks featured some homes.
Make it work: Car boots and flea markets are terrific sources for affordable art originals. Unless you inherited from a grandfather an original piece from the 1950s, you are on the bargain hunt.Not only cost-effective but stunning on the eye can be reproduction prints.If you browse sites for works reflecting midcentury craftsmen, then you are a winner!
Natural warm palette
To complete the look of Mid-Century Modern house through colour, think carefully of connection with the earth, therefore, choose warm, nature-inspired hues. I have on my mind mustard, blush, salmon, peach, tangerine or cider. Bright and vivid colours, like turquoise, canary, magenta or tiger were used as signature tints to enhance and define designated area. Sometimes a flashback from the 1940s happened and emerald green, mulberry or cobalt were featured in homes.
Make it work: Create art of midcentury influences. There are no strict rules to follow. Want to combo juicy plum with tangerine orange? Go for it! Suit your style and needs in colour composition. Take the best features from Mid-Century Modern color schemes.
Rugs and decor collectibles
Crucial is to identify the classic mid-century patterns. As I listed more than once, mid-century modern decor favoured abstract geometrical designs in any form. From iconic sunburst lamps of the decade to large scale clocks on the walls. Therefore do not hesitate to pick and choose ethnic or floral motifs on deco items.
Make it work: start feeling spontaneous and go over the traditional thinking. Feel courageous enough to opt for rugs, cushions or statues that are not straight from the 50s or 60s. Use your imagination to create a clutter-free though mid-century inspired interiors.
Tips and Ideas: Add Mid-Century Modern Design to your house
- Even though the midcentury modern design is still popular among homeowners, some people are shy on the notion of living, as they say, in traditional interiors. The critical issue is to influence your style with retro 50s and 60s inspirations, but still keep with trendy and fashionable designs of modern times.
- Decorate your flat surfaces with 60’s inspired accessories. Pawn shops are full of real gems from the mid-century. Sculptural vases, hand-blown glasses or fiberglass statues will enhance the beauty of your interiors,
- keep the walls in the neutrall palette to give room for quality art pieces. Finding original Warhol on a car boot sale makes you show him off on the focal wall. A real velvet upholstered chair with sleek wooden legs will stand out on the light background,
- graphic patterns are the iconic style of the Mid-Century Do not be afraid of adding rich textures to existing furnishing. It goes well and is truly inspiring for all your guests. Start imagining textured wallpaper in bold patterns with matching in colors upholstery of the settees and pillowcases in the same pattern as on the walls,
- open plan layout of Mid-Century Modern home allows on throwing garden or cocktail parties. Therefore accessorising in a Bar-Cart is a must these days. Shop for vintage glassware or original drink shakers to complete the look;
Feeling inspired by the mid-century modern look? If so, use my guide when browsing the net for evoking the look of the 50s and 60s photographs, buying vintage accessories at pawn shops or choosing a real Mid-Century Modern Colour Palette.