What is Mid Century Modern Interior Design

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Mid century modern design has been increasing in popularity in recent years. But what is it, and why are people drawn to it? This blog post will explore the origins of mid century modern design, as well as the features that make it so popular. We’ll also take a look at some examples of mid century homes and interiors to see how you can achieve this style in your own home. So, if you’re curious about mid century modern design, keep reading!

Mid-century modern design is an aesthetic that takes its cues from the design movements of the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. Characterized by clean lines, organic forms, and a focus on functionality, mid-century modern design has maintained a devoted following in recent years. 

While the style began to fall out of favor in the 1970s, it has undergone a renaissance in recent years, with designers and homeowners alike drawn to its timeless appeal. Mid-century modern furniture is often characterized by natural materials like wood and leather and its simple yet stylish silhouette. In terms of colors and patterns, mid-century modern design typically favors muted tones, geometric patterns, vibrant colors, and pairings of indoor and outdoor motifs. These elements combine to create a look that is both nostalgic and modern.

what is mid century modern interior design_Jen Dorsey Design

History of Mid Century Modern Design Style

The term “mid-century modern” was first coined by Cara Greenberg in 

her 1984 book Mid-Century Modern: Furniture of the 1950s.

Mid Century Modern Examples_Jen Dorsey Studio_chair and ottoman

Mid-century modern design is often seen as a reaction against the excesses of Victorian design and a response to the International and Bauhaus movements. Many of the most iconic mid-century modern designs are pieces of furniture, like the Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman or the Noguchi coffee table. However, the style is also evident in architecture and product design.

Mid Century Modern Examples_Jen Dorsey Studio

Mid Century Modern Aesthetics

MCM designers sought to create a new aesthetic suitable for the modern world, one that would be different from the ornate styles that were popular at the time. This style particularly became popular after World War II as people moved to urban areas with smaller living spaces and new materials and technologies became available. And because many of these pieces were mass-produced, they were simple, practical, beautiful, accessible, and affordable.

mid century modern design furniture_jen dorsey studio_sofa

Mid Century Modern Examples:

Common elements of mid-century modern design include:

-Eames Chairs: These iconic chairs are characterized by molded plastic seats and steel legs. Designed by the husband and wife team Charles and Ray Eames, they are considered one of the most influential pieces of furniture of the 20th century.

-Sofas: Mid-century modern sofas often have tufted upholstery and tapered wood legs. They tend to be relatively shallow in design, making them perfect for smaller spaces.

-Coffee tables: Mid-century coffee tables are typically made of wood or glass and feature simple, geometric shapes. Pair them with classic Eames chairs for a complete look.

-Lighting: Lighting:  an essential element of any design, but it takes on particular significance in mid-century modern homes. Pendant lights and floor lamps with sleek metal bases are common choices.

mid century modern design furniture_jen dorsey studio_green chairs

Mid Century Modern of Today

Searches for mid-century modern are up nearly 50% year-to-date 

(January to October 2021) – Yelp, 2022’s Home Trend Forecast Report. 

MCM has been one of the most enduring and popular styles of the last hundred years. However, it is much more than a fad – it is a style that is here to stay. And in 2022, as many people yearn for a return to simplicity in an increasingly fast-paced and technologically-driven world, this timeless aesthetic is more popular than ever.  

MCM_jen dorsey studio_dresser

MCM design encapsulates the desire for uncomplicated living as people look to declutter and live more intentionally. The clean lines, organic materials, and focus on “fun and function” make this stripped-down aesthetic very appealing. Additionally, the resurgence of vintage trends (and shows like Mad Men) has also helped to make mid-century modern design more mainstream. As we continue through this decade, it seems likely that the popularity of mid-century modern design will continue to grow.

what is mid century modern_jen. dorsey studio_dining room table

Characteristics of Mid Century Modern

  1. Simple & Sleek:
    • Mid-century modern design is sleek and minimal, emphasizing functionality and simplicity. Chairs and tables often consist of a few simple pieces of material – think teak, plywood, or laminate – supported by wooden or metal legs. Upholstered pieces are likewise kept relatively simple, without too much frill or embellishment. This restraint allows the furniture to speak for itself and creates a refined, uncluttered, and calming look.
  2. Mix & Match Materials:
    • One of the most distinctive features of mid-century modern design is mixed materials. Furniture from this period often incorporates both natural and manufactured materials, creating a unique aesthetic. Wood, glass, metal, and marble are commonly used alongside vinyl, plastic, lucite, and fiberglass. This combination of materials allows for various textures and patterns, adding visual interest to any room. 
  3. Indoor & Outdoor:
    • An element of MCM design is the fusion of indoor and outdoor spaces. This aesthetic is achieved through the use, for example, of large windows, glass doors, and carved wood screens which allow natural light to flood into the home and create a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor living. Plants are also often incorporated into the mid-century decor, adding a touch of nature to the home. Window treatments are another important element of this style and are often used to emphasize the connection between indoors and out. By creating a sense of continuity between these two areas, mid-century modern design encourages a more natural and effortless way of living.
  4. Neutrals & Brights:
    • Mid-century modern decor uses natural hues with pops of color. The color palette is usually rooted in nature, with earthy greens, bright fall oranges and yellows, muddy browns, sea blue-greens such as aquamarine, and deep blues. This combination of cheerful, vibrant accent colors and primary neutral tones creates an overall stylish and inviting effect.
  5. Form & Function:
    • One of the most defining characteristics of mid-century modern design is its focus on function. Every element in a mid-century modern room serves a purpose, whether it’s providing extra storage or simply adding to the aesthetic. This functionality extends to the furniture, which is often designed with multiple uses in mind. For example, many mid-century modern chairs can be easily converted into beds, and many coffee tables have built-in storage. This focus on function extends to the materials used as well. Mid-century Modern Design often incorporates natural materials such as wood and stone, which are beautiful, durable, and long-lasting. 
  6. Rectangles & Squares:
    • MCM Furniture often has geometric shapes such as rectangles and squares. Symmetry is also important, as it creates a sense of balance and order, and since Mid-century modern furniture is typically slimmer and lighter than other styles, it is perfect for small spaces. 
  7. Past & Future:
    • Mid-century modern design is often described as a mix of past and future. The clean lines and organic shapes of the pieces are reminiscent of traditional design, but the use of new materials and methods gives them a futuristic feel. These designs were ahead of their time when first introduced, and they continue to be popular today. 

MCM_jen dorsey studio_dresser and chair

Although MCM furniture has seen a surge in popularity in recent years, what truly sets this furniture style apart is its versatility. Mid Century pieces can be easily refinished and painted to suit any taste, and they work well with a variety of other styles. As a result, mid-century modern furniture has become a popular choice for those who want to add a touch of vintage flair to their home. So whether you’re looking for a new coffee table or a statement piece for your living room, you’ll find something that fits your needs. And regardless of how you choose to incorporate MCM furniture and design into your home, it will add a touch of retro style and sophistication.

Mid century modern design is back in a big way, and if you’re looking to add a touch of this iconic style to your home, we’ve got just what you need. Our collection of repurposed furniture has been hand-selected to provide you with the best pieces available on the market today. Not only will you love the look of our furniture, but you can feel good about buying from us too. All of our pieces are made from repurposed or upcycled materials, so you can be sure that you’re doing your part to help reduce waste.

Shop our studio today and add some mid century magic to your home!