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  • Alex Thorpe

Everything you need to know about the mid-century modern interior design trend.

With the rise in popularity of buying second hand furniture, it is a good time to understand what mid-century modern is and how best to incorporate this into your home.

Image credit: @ercol_uk

Mid-century modern design originated, as the name suggests, during the middle of the 20th century, in response to the post war need for functional homes. Unlike the ornate and glamourous art deco movement prior, mid-century modern design made the most of new technology to celebrate clean lines and organic shapes.

"We want to make the best for the most for the least.” – Charles Eames

What are the key characteristics of mid-century modern design?

#1 Organic and geometric shapes

Mid-century modern design kept things simple, seeing beauty in the clean lines of an armchair or organic curve of a coffee table. Influenced by small living, furniture was designed to enhance the feeling of space in a room and to be multi-functional, which is why many items can be folded or stacked. For this reason, mid-century furniture has stood the test of time.

#2 Function over fashion

Over the top frills and ruffles were swept to the side for a more minimalist look. Top designers of the movement removed unnecessary layers or sections, and created chairs from a single surface using the latest technology.

Image credit: @eamesoffice

#3 Bringing the outside in

The benefits of nature and being outdoors on our mental wellbeing was a key characteristic of midcentury modern design. Just as important today, it is no wonder this design style is still so popular. Midcentury modern design encouraged an appreciation of the natural world, bringing the outside in to promote a healthier life. For this reason, houseplants such as the ever popular Monstera, are often found in many mid-century modern schemes.

Despite new technology at the time introducing brightly coloured plastic moulded furniture, hardwoods and natural materials remained a key characteristic further promoting the feeling of bringing the natural world into the home. Teak became a popular material, adding texture and warmth as well as strength and durability, enabling many to enjoy these key furniture items for many years and many more to come.

Image credit: @tropitecture.studios

#4 A muted colour palette

A traditional mid-century modern colour palette ranged from bright blues and reds in the 1950s to more earthy colours, such as mustard yellows and olive greens in the 1960s. Adding in a pale pink is a great way to make a mid-century modern scheme more contemporary. Too far? Maybe consider adding pops of bold colours through accessories or wall art in a more stripped back, neutral scheme.

So how do I get started incorporating midcentury modern into my home?

If you’re looking to incorporate midcentury modern into your home, firstly identify what style of furniture you need. as mentioned earlier, the item needs to provide a purpose and not simply be purchased for decorative purposes. Staple midcentury modern pieces include sideboards, armchairs or coffee tables. The clean lines of midcentury modern furniture makes it easy to mix with other design trends and styles. Ebay, preloved and facebook marketplace are all great places to find original midcentury pieces. Look out for Ercol, G-plan and Eames, but these may come with a higher price tag. There are also plenty of replicas or lesser known designers that have produced high quality items that have stood the test of time. What to see what's on the highstreet? Many brands such as, Rose & Grey and John Lewis offer their own take on midcentury modern designs.

Image credit: @ercol_uk

For more information on how to incorporate midcentury modern design into your home, Thorpe & Peony is here to help. Get in touch by emailing and let's start turning your ideas a reality.

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