Mid century modern design is all the rage these days, and for good reason. It’s an incredibly chic, stylish look, and this guide will show you how to add it to your home.
Author Cara Greenberg created the phrase “mid century modern” in 1984 when her best-selling book by the same name, set today’s standard for the mid century modern interior design movement. This modern decor contains clean, simple lines that incorporates wooden or metal pieces as table legs or chair arms.
This interior design style is sleek and elegant for any home interior design. And you don’t have to break the bank to be able to give your home this modern feel, either. Follow this guide to see how you can integrate mid century modern decor that compliments your existing look.
History Lesson: The Beginning of the Modern Era
The history of the mid century modern movement began in the late 1940’s in the US right after World War II. The nation’s economy soared as American soldiers returned home from foreign battles. The atmosphere of the nation was hopeful as Americans began to restructure their lives around an optimistic future.
“Tract homes” began to pop up in the suburbs, and anywhere else where vacant land could be found to meet the increase in housing needs.
Tract housing was a simple design that had an open and airy layout so that the units could be built faster. Tract homes brought modern amenities such as an attached garage or carport where homeowners could park their car for the very first time.
As the demand for tract housing’s airy design grew, so did the demand for interior design features that we recognize today.
Drawing on influences from the German art school Bauhaus, mid century modern decor features were simple and functional. Furniture was now made of unconventional materials (i.e., metal, glass, vinyl) and offset with wooden legs and chair arms at 90-degree angles.
Furniture during this time had designs that highlighted geometric shapes, curves, and other angles instead of the baroque styles that were common in the pre-World War II era.
Furniture also began their years of multi-tasking and were not limited to a sole purpose. Tables were not only a place in the kitchen for people to eat, but they also became a place to write in the den or stack magazines in the living room.
Mid-Century Modern Interior Design: Step-By-Step
So you want to modernize your home with some mid century flair, but the task seems daunting. Just remember these two words: baby steps! Consider these categories and you can begin your incremental interior design metamorphosis with confidence.
Walls and Floors
Mid century style homes sported all-white paint covering every wall in the house. This single color provided a great, non-competitive background to showcase the unique metal, plastic and vinyl furnishings.
Floors were hardwood, muted with sandy, desert tones and accented with bright trim colors like orange, yellow and turquoise. The furniture also came in these bright colors to complement the earth tones found in the floor as well.
Mid century designers today often incorporate wood and stone in their designs to highlight these hues in an indoor/outdoor living space.
This is one of the easiest and quickest areas to achieve that 1950’s modern era feel. No need for that Victorian-looking chandelier anymore. Light fixtures were either pendant or bubble lights or round white globes in every room.
You can find retro mid-modern pieces at any flea market or attack and revise the furniture you already have. Tables, desks, and chairs get a modern edge when you exchange their original legs with some clean wooden or metal leg replacements. Consider reupholstering the cushions with fabric that comes in vibrant splashes of mustard and avocado green.
If you’re looking for a unique style to update your kitchen, you have a choice of options, ranging from replacing the entire cabinet door or exchanging out the cupboard handles. If your budget will allow, you can replace ornate kitchen cabinet doors with plain, flat metal or wood ones.
Install stainless steel or marble countertops. Flat, smooth cupboard doors and eating surfaces will keep your kitchen looking simple and uncluttered.
Other Household Furnishings
Don’t forget to modernize all the other little home accessories and knick-knacks that can make you feel that Eisenhower is still in the Oval Office. Some of these other home accessories that can be jazzed up include:
Fireplace – Not sure if Santa could make his way down this mid century modern fireplace, but consider installing a Malm mid century fireplace. These free-standing fireplaces are coated in enamel and usually include a base, fire screen, and flue that can extend to allow for taller ceilings.
Art – Break away from your traditional notion of framed art and mount a modern geometric wall composition or piece of assemblage art. Aim for materials that follow the original materials-of-choice for mid century interior designers such as metal, glass or plastic. If geometric wall compositions aren’t your favorite, consider mounting decorative mirrors as a room focal point or as a splash guard over kitchen counters.
Lamps – Consider your lamp like it’s a piece of sculpture. Choose lamp bases that either come in curvy glass or straight with metallic chrome. Pair these lamp stands with either tall, slim lampshades or bubble-shaped shades to create a showpiece for your room.
So if you are considering a mid century interior design, you’ve made a wise choice. Take inventory of your current furnishings and let the old, tired ones go. Visit the website Room Service 360? to find that 1950’s style keepsake that’s waiting to go home with you.
Consider changing your style slowly as you go. Many of your current pieces may be functional and perfectly fine. The last thing you want to do is completely overhaul your interior design, just to be bored with it less than a year later.
The mid century modern interior design style is a statement of all that is elegant, uncluttered and functional. This retro look is also a timely statement to the attitudes and optimism of the time.
If you’d like to read more about mid century furnishings that might be the right piece for the look you want, just check our site here for giving your home that one-of-a-kind mid century feel.