How to Achieve a Mid-Century Modern Style

During the middle of the 20th century, from the mid-1940s to the 1970s, catalyzed by postwar effects, is the setting for what has come to be known as mid-century modern style. This style is a bridge between old and new, natural and modern. During this time, designers made bold aesthetic leaps with contemporary patterns, geometric shapes, and funky accents. The style embraces the uncomplicated, as ties are made between the natural world and functionally comfortable and chic interiors.

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How does one, decades later, go about re-creating a mid-century modern style? Here are some ideas for fine-tuning the design choices and permeating the style into your own space:

Keep an Indoor-Outdoor Flow.

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Nature was very much a stylistic inspiration during these years, and the mid-century designs keep that fact close. No matter their size, leave your windows visually open and bare to maximize the natural light coming in. Skylights are a great option for maximizing natural light and outdoor views. Of consider using nature-inspired accents or a nature motif wallpaper to give the impression of connection with the great outdoors.

Simple Lines, Pure Forms.

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With a keen eye toward the aesthetic, mid-century designers stripped down furniture to its basic, most essential form. Home floor plans did the same. Anything extra or unnecessary was omitted, so as to keep the style of the time pure and forward-moving. Consider editing your own collections and pieces regularly, keeping only those items that work the best in your mid-century modern space.

Neutrals…with a Bit of Saturated Color.

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A warm neutral palette that takes its inspiration from the gentle earthiness of the woody outdoors is a fundamental component of mid-century modern style. But these colors alone wouldn’t be enough to carry through the vibrant style, so mid-century modern spaces are infused with enough rich, saturated color to lend it vibrancy and presence. No matter the size or scale in which they’re present, you’ll want to keep these accent colors confidently saturated – remember, nothing is done halfway in mid-century modern style.

Iconic Furnishings.

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Designers were making bold changes during this time, and this style more than almost any other has many iconic names and pieces to its credit as a result. Eames and Sarrinen, for starters, are names that enumerate the mid-century modern style. Furniture during this time because almost artwork – functional sculpture (think tulip pedestal, womb chairs). Incorporating an iconic piece into your space successfully will do more to solidify your mid-century modern style than almost anything else.

Graphic, Geometric Patterns.

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Mid-century modern patterns are anything but shy – their existence is to infuse a space with a strong visual focus. Geometrics are bold, curves are strong and unapologetic, themes are quirky and whimsical. Nothing is halfway done in a mid-century modern pattern. Often, heavy textiles full of texture will provide an appropriately substantive medium for such patterns.

Statement Lighting.

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It is because the mid-century modern pieces themselves are essentially pared down, the lines are clean and confident, that lighting for this style is such an important factor. Statement lighting is interesting, unique, and critical to the true mid-century modern style lover. Solid, memorable design in the prominent lighting pieces is as important as the iconic furniture it’s placed beside.

Picture sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.