20 Thing To Know About The Mid Century Modern Design

This post may contain references and links to products from our advertisers. We may receive commissions from certain links you click on our website. As an Amazon Associate Rhythm of the Home earns revenues from qualifying purchases.

1. What Is Mid-Century Modern Design?

Known for mixing organic shapes and innovative materials to put a new spin on traditional pieces, the mid-century modern aesthetic experienced great popularity ever since its inception in the 1930s. The style gets its name from the period when it started to form considering how the design concepts appeared in the middle of the 20th century. Nowadays the style has become more popular than ever and still retains the fundamental influence of that time period.

Mid-century modern homes are designed with organic curves and clean lines while keeping a functional and timeless appearance. As opposed to other styles, there’s a wide variety of materials used in unique ways to create living spaces that feel both simple and sophisticated. Mid-century modern is more than an interior design aesthetic considering how the style also became popular in architecture as well. In this article, we’ll explore the most important aspects worth knowing about the mid-century modern aesthetic as well as provide inspirational examples to bring the look into your home.

2. Characteristics Of The Style

Image: Atmosvisuals

Recognizing mid-century modern design isn’t particularly difficult as long as you take into account its distinguishing features. The furniture in a mid-century modern home is typically minimalist with sleek lines. Chairs and tables show off simple materials and pin-style legs. Despite its apparent elegance, mid-century modern aesthetic is primarily focused on functionality above all else. If you’re looking for a nice mid century pair of chairs click here.

When it comes to the color scheme, the mid-century modern design relies on a background of neutral tones carefully accented by bright pops of color. The natural warm look of wood can take your mind to the outdoors while bright oranges, aquamarine blues, and clay reds can similarly follow this pattern of bringing external vibes into your indoor living space. Mid-century modern aesthetics often attempt to create a stylish fusion of natural elements with manmade structures.

Mid-century modern interiors are pretty difficult to be mistaken for other styles. This is because this kind of understated look is extremely popular and you’re probably already familiar with it. The unique character provided by this aesthetic represents an important reason for its popularity. When considering its origins, mid-century modern tries to embrace the new and modern. It removes the sense of clutter created through overfilled rooms of the past while adding some minimalistic style and functional forms to make the space feel more inviting.

3. Mid-Century Modern Materials

Image: Atmosvisuals

Mid-century modern design is all about making the room appear as uncomplicated as possible. Natural materials take priority in this style because they provide the right colors and patterns necessary for an authentic mid-century vibe. Traditional materials such as wood and leather belong in this kind of design style without leaving out the contrasting effect added through more unusual material choices. Take a look at this mid century modern TV stand on Amazon.

Due to the fact that mid-century modern took shape when newer materials like plastic were just becoming mainstream, designers were heavily inspired by its interesting properties. More innovative uses were also discovered for other materials such as metal, Plexiglass, and vinyl that were incorporated in mid-century modern interior design. The experimentation with different materials gave this style its unique identity. Contrasting pieces are combined together in the same room tastefully so it’s not unusual to see vintage statement furniture adorned with modern accents.

4. History Of Mid-Century Modern Design

The era of mid-century modern design didn’t have a particularly quick start. It’s generally accepted that some of the first defining aspects of the style appeared in the 1930s but only in the late 1940s did mid-century design become fully formed as a distinctive design approach. There was a strong influence from Bauhaus and Danish Modernist movements that encouraged American designers to innovate.

Mid-century modern design started to rise in popularity in the following decades, especially in the 1960s considering the space exploration era. Instead of looking back on the past, the general perspective at the time was more focused on imagining a new future. American style embraced this idea and helped to popularize futuristic shapes and materials into interior design and architecture.

Mid-century modern design is notably centered around functionality. The need for efficiency and reliable functionality in the world of design came from a booming postwar economy. The number of homeowners rose together with an expanded middle-class. Brands and designers took advantage of this and perfected mid-century modern style to suit small-scale homes and apartments that are affordable, attractive in their simplicity, and practical to live in.

5. Mid-Century Modern Architecture

It’s not just the world of interior design that welcomed the appealing visual features of mid-century modern style. This aesthetic took a firm hold in architecture as well. Thanks to advances in construction methods and the arrival of innovative materials, it’s safe to say that many essential characteristics of the style were easy to incorporate in architecture. For example, mid-century modern homes can be designed with organic floor plans and extended stone fireplaces.

Architects embraced many great concepts of the style to develop homes with a mid-century modern style. Bringing more of the outdoors inside the home seems to be a common theme among mid-century modern constructions. This can be achieved through an abundance of natural light by replacing traditional window frames with large glass walls. It’s a particularly popular architectural choice in warmer climates such as California.

6. How The Mid-Century Modern Design Style Thrives Today

Whereas other design styles fell out of favor over time, it seems that mid-century modern still manages to thrive in recent times. In fact, this aesthetic experienced a notable surge in popularity thanks to the hit TV show “Mad Men” as well as movies set in a similar period. It’s not surprising to see a fresh resurgence of mid-century modern design considering that people nowadays live quite often in small homes and apartments. This aesthetic choice blends efficient functionality with stylish looks very well.

The versatility of mid-century modern design makes it one of the most popular styles today. It’s a balanced approach to design while managing to appeal to the masses. Important aspects such as shapes and materials provide timeless characteristics ensuring elegant looks that never seem to appear outdated. Mid-century design works well together with other styles allowing homeowners to decorate their homes in a practical way without compromising on their personal aesthetic.

In the following section, take a look at our selection of mid-century modern design examples that provide some helpful inspiration.

7. Wood Tones

There are many variations of mid-century design but almost all of them feature wood tones. Whether through furniture pieces such as bar cabinets or dining chairs, wood is a must-have material to incorporate into this style. You don’t have to limit yourself to a single wood tone because blending distinctive wood styles can have a solid visual impact to bring some mid-century modern flair into the room.

8. Straight Lines

If you plan on bringing some solid mid-century modern vibes to the bedroom, you can easily do it with the help of stylish furniture. It’s recommended to pay close attention to geometrical patterns. Straight lines work ideally for this aesthetic because they offer a balanced mix of elegance and functionality. A vintage dresser can be a superb mid-century modern piece to include, especially if you’re able to pair it with a sleek bed.

9. Sculptural Decor

When it comes to decorating a mid-century modern room, it’s important to know how to select the right pieces. Simple lines that appear to be flowing harmoniously with other elements of the area will be most successful. This elegant bird sculpture represents a good example of stylish mid-century modern decor. Instead of cluttering the side table, it complements its look as the curved lines seem to create a cohesive picture.

10. Natural Connection

Considering the style’s strong focus on simplicity, it’s not unexpected to find that integrating nature represents an essential aspect of mid-century modern design. If you want to embrace the more recent trend of sustainability, it’s safe to say that a mid-century modern aesthetic can be an excellent fit for your home. Inviting the outdoors inside can be done easily with the help of key architectural choices such as using large windows and avoiding heavy drapery. Plenty of greenery accents and natural materials contribute to establishing a connection to the outside world.

11. Cozy Upholstery

Whereas mid-century modern design relies heavily on a variety of materials, you can still stick to the basics for some furniture pieces. Cozy upholstery can easily belong in a mid-century modern room. Just make sure you keep it sleek and elegant to match the rest of your furniture pieces. Coziness isn’t necessarily a staple of mid-century modern interiors but you can make upholstered pieces feel more practical as long as you focus on clean lines and modern silhouettes.

12. Cheery Entryway

If you’re worried about making your mid-century modern-inspired home too sober and formal-looking, it’s worth remembering that this style isn’t all about neutrals and vintage elements. You can infuse some fresh modern vibes by using bright colors to enhance the look of natural wood pieces. This entryway is a gorgeous example of that. Bold colors make this place eye-catching and more welcoming through the careful layering of vibrant accents. The visual effect is even more impressive when taking into account the clean-lined furniture.

13. Modern Comfort

The practical side of mid-century modern design is worth exploring if you’re interested in making your home both elegant and functional as well. A lounge chair can be considered an essential piece for obtaining that characteristic mid-century modern aesthetic while enjoying great levels of comfort. In this example, we have the classic Eames lounge chair, an expensive piece that first appeared in 1956. However, there are more affordable mid-century modern furniture options that can still make a similar statement in the room.

14. Black And White Contrast

Contrast plays an important role in virtually any type of mid-century modern interior. It’s not always a matter of blending neutrals with flashy colors though. The mid-century modern aesthetic can also incorporate the classic combination of black and white that’s often encountered in other design movements. Considering the appreciation for a stark contrast, it makes sense that black and white elements combine together very well in the mid-century modern style. Gold accents and greenery can help to enhance the elegance of this look and make the place feel livelier.

15. Sophisticated Centerpiece

Mid-century modern rooms can be difficult to plan if you’re not familiar with the style. Before considering various accents and decorations, you should start focusing on a single great furniture element that can act as the room’s centerpiece. In this high-rise apartment, all the attention is immediately drawn towards the elegant sofa whose dark green upholstery and straight lines bring an air of sophistication to the living room. It’s bold and beautiful while also reminding you of the natural world.

16. Wall Of Frames

A wall of frames can have its place in a mid-century modern room, especially one that’s focused on a bolder color scheme. Those white walls can appear too plain so the right set of artworks will provide some much-needed visual interest while reflecting the colors used throughout the room. Large frames arranged in random patterns work ideally for this aesthetic. It’s also recommended to make an off-center wall of artworks to draw the attention even further.

17. Starburst Lighting

There are few more iconic pieces found in mid-century modern homes than starburst lighting fixtures. It’s a very bold accessory that can really elevate the look of the room, especially when used above more functional pieces such as dining tables. The resulting contrast will easily make the entire area stand out. A starburst lighting fixture works just as well when paired with flashy colors and more intricate patterns from other mid-century modern furniture pieces.

18. Open-Concept Floor Plans

The layout of the room is quite important when it comes to designing a mid-century modern room. This is because the style became popular at a time when open-concept floor plans were highly prized for their ease of movement. This kind of room layout can take advantage of mid-century modern aesthetic touches to enhance its airiness and overall functional style. The apartment shown here can be considered a solid example of mid-century modern design in an open floor plan. Notice how the layout and color scheme give a sense of extra spaciousness to the area.

19. Suspended Fireplace

If you like the idea of a futuristic theme for your mid-century home, this is a solid example of this aesthetic done correctly. The living room in this apartment shows off a suspended fireplace that offers an iconic mid-century modern feel. Its visual effect is further elevated thanks to the addition of suitable chairs that complement the curved lines of the fireplace. The presence of a built-in bookcase and vibrant colors make the whole room cozy and welcoming.

20. Leather Textures

Although mid-century modern designers embrace lots of innovative materials, leather still has a firm place in this style. Both dark or light tones of leather can enrich the look of any mid-century modern room. This elegant armchair here is adorned with comfortable leather upholstery in a neutral tone to match the understated look of the rest of the room. It’s beautifully complemented by the addition of a metal side table sitting on a marble base. This kind of unexpected mix of materials is a staple of mid-century modern design.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *