Mid-century modern is a style that’s timeless and sleek. Heavily influenced by the design concept that ‘form follows function’ mid-century homes and furniture are often characterised by their practical designs and beautiful craftsmanship.
Popping up as a new trend shortly after World War II and remaining popular until the 1960s, mid-century style and furniture is characterised by rounded shapes that are inspired by the natural world and simple designs that are functional for the home. Some of the most famous mid-century furniture designers are Charles and Ray Eames, George Nelson and Arne Jacobsen.
Mid-century modern style has found newfound fame once again thanks to television shows such as Mad Men showcasing the designs from the era, but to be honest, mid-century style never really left. The key to getting it right in your own home is by carefully balancing your mid-century inspired furniture with contemporary interior trends.
1. Pick your furniture
Identify authentic or mid-century modern-inspired furniture by looking for peg legs, hardware, and manufacturing tags labelled as from Denmark, Yugoslavia, Japan, Italy or America (if you’re looking for authentic second-hand pieces). Wooden furniture is big for this decade, as is timber veneer. Look for furniture in shades of dark and natural timber finishes, such as walnut, usually with rounded shapes such as rounded chair backs, legs and edges. The timber credenza, rounded dining chairs and the Eames lounger chair are icons of this time.
2. Pick your colours
The mid-century colour palette runs the gamut from the bright colours that were popular in home during the 50s, to the earlier colours that replaced them in the 60s. If you’re going for a traditional look, try olive green or dark red. For those wanting to give their mid-century modern interior scheme a glamorous or contemporary look, pick pastel hues, pale pink, black, white, cream, navy or shades of beige.
3. Pick your accessories
Accessorising your home with the right curtains, cushions, decorative objects and lighting are key to getting mid-century style right. Look for pendant lighting or large architectural lighting fixtures that look more like a work of art than a light source, and don’t be afraid of metallic finished. Candlesticks in traditional shapes, gilded yet simple round mirrors, drinks trolleys and old-fashioned glasses with stylised embossed designs all have the mid-century modern vibe. Finish the look with large, rounded floor and table lamps, indoor plants and patterned rugs. Ceramics were also popular.
4. Arrange your space
It’s important when pulling off any interior design style or trend that you pay close attention to size of your furniture and the heights of your furniture. A balanced space with have a good mix of highs and lows. That is, your eye is draw upwards in some places, and downwards in others. You’ll also need a focal point for every room, such as a large mirror, a painting over a fireplace of furniture all angles towards a statement coffee table, etc. Try putting plants into plant stand to give them extra height, team a low sofa and coffee table with a sky-scraping floor lamp. Pop a credenza that sits snugly ‘in-between’ at medium height for an even keel.
5. Dress your walls right
Most mid-century homes have white walls and open-plan layouts. You can take it one step further with some era-appropriate wallpaper, or by adding a graphic artwork to an empty wall that reflects the colours of your colour scheme.
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