Be Inspired: Mid Century Modern

July 25, 2022

Be Inspired: Mid Century Modern

Combining innovation with simplicity along with comfort and quality, mid-century modern has a cult following and continues to influence designers today. Including me!

It is a design movement that rose to popularity in the 1950s and 60s. Mid-Century Modern originated from a spirit of post-war optimism, when there was a design attitude of ‘Out with the Old and in with New’. Unsurprisingly, the United States led the way. At the time there was a fascination with space-age futurism, with homes being fitted with the latest appliances. Elements of mid-century modern interior design include clean lines, a combination of natural and manmade materials, graphic shapes, vibrant colours, and integrating indoor and outdoor motifs.

The good news is that the era’s use of natural materials and organic, sculptural forms are completely compatible with almost any contemporary home.


11 Ways to get the Mid-Century Modern Look

1. Warm timber is essential: Timber veneer was very commonly used in furniture in the mid-century and you can still find some good quality original pieces around now. Warm-toned woods like walnut, mahogany and cherry are a staple feature of mid-century modern.

2. Mix your materials: Although there is a focus on natural materials in mid-century décor, what really exemplifies the style is a mixture of both natural and man-made options. Wood, marble, glass, leather and stone are often coordinated with vinyl, plastic, clear lucite, and fiberglass.

3. Colour Pops: Mid-century modern homes typically featured a largely neutral colour palette, but also incorporated pops of colour in natural shades like burnt orange, deep clay red, aquamarines, muted yellows, and forest green.

4. Embrace colour and kitsch with your accessories: Think pineapple ice buckets, flying ducks on the wall, atom clocks and Murano glass ashtrays.

5. Colour in the bathroom: The mid-century saw bathroom suites that were produced in colours other than white, this is because of the advent of new plastic materials, that could be coloured easily. To take this into a contemporary setting, you can add to the fun by using coloured grout, bold tapware and patterned towels.

6. Textiles: When choosing textiles, more is more. Pattern and colour are a must. Tropical floral designs, gingham and wool bouclé were all immensely popular. Kip and Co, and Orla Kiely have fabrics, cushions and bedding that feature fun patterns and colour combinations that would be suitable for a contemporary mid-century look.  

7. Stop! All that colour and pattern is too much for me! If bold colour pops are not really your style, try combining wood mid-century shaped furniture with leather, stone, brass accents, soft greens, tans and whites for a more understated aesthetic.

8. Get your green thumb out: Mid-century modern architecture emphasized the fusion of manmade structure and the outdoors, and mid-century interior design does the same. Indoor plants are often incorporated into interior décor, with large cactuses and palms very effective decorative elements.

9. Don’t forget the curtains: Windows and window treatments should also encourage a sense of continuity between indoor and outdoor. Be it breezy sheers, or disappearing blinds that emphasise the beauty of the windows and the view – we can advise the best selection for your space.

10. Furniture should be unfussy: Mid-century modern furniture is often very simple with sleek lines and a focus on functionality. In simple terms, this means that the furniture was designed for its purpose, without any unnecessary features. Iconic furniture from the time includes the still popular Eames lounge chair & Ottoman, Arco floor lamp, Saarinen Dining Table (aka the tulip table), and the Noguchi coffee table.

11. Statement light fittings: Most mid-century homes use lighting that is sculptural and dramatic. The lighting fixtures doesn’t just illuminate the space but are also added decorations. A lot of classic examples of mid-century lighting was influenced by space travel and is futuristic in design. George Nelson’s UFO saucer bubble pendant light and the Sputnik Chandelier are two such examples.

Take a look at our favourite spaces below for inspiration

If you’re feeling inspired and would like to learn more about the Mid-Century Modern style and how it would work in your home please call Bernadette on 0417 088 602 to book a consultation or contact her here.

We collect all our favourite interior design images, including those used in this post, on our Pinterest page.

Take a look here.

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