Guide to Mid Century Modern Design

Mid Century Modern 

Whether you're a seasoned Mid Century Modern design aficionado or a new comer, there are a lot of ways you can incorporate it into a modern day space. The enduring allure of mid-century modern design furniture lies in its timeless aesthetic, functional simplicity, and innovative approach to blending form with function. Mid Century Modern design was birthed out of need for furniture to match the new lifestyles post WWII, it is deeply rooted in the marriage of simplicity and functionality. 

Mid Century Modern designs comes from a belief that good design is paramount to functional living. That philosophy is what carried Mid Century Modern style through decade after decade and what drives its relevance today. Many iconic architects and furniture designers are to thank for what we now know as mid century style; George Nelson, Joseph Eichler, Frank Lloyd Wright, Florence Knoll, Frank Ghery, Charles + Ray Eames and Herman Miller. 



Photo: Scott Van Dyke/Getty Images


Characteristics of Mid Century Modern Desig

    1. Minimalist: Through an emphasis on clean lines, uncluttered spaces, and a functionality forward approach, homes came to life with style and for the first time in American suburbs pieces were being made to work for you.
    2. Mixing Materials and Design: Elements that make mid century stand out are the use of natural materials such as wood (teak is a favorite of this era), sleek lines, and a singular use of a bold color juxtaposed with uniformity of other colors or materials.
    3. Bringing the Outdoor Indoor: An important design element of MCM is incorporating living plants into the space as an homage to the architectural emphasis during this period to build around nature and not over it. Consider how planters and indoor pots can transform a space.
    4. Natural Hues Combined with Accent Colors: Another important characteristic of MCM is using bold colors such as yellow, orange, earthy greens, sea blue greens like teal or aquamarine, and deep clay reds against primary neutral tones such as black, white, or wood. 

Inside the Richard Neutra-designed home on the property of Red Hot Chilli Peppers bassist Flea. Photo: Cameron Carothers

Richard Neutra's Van der Leeuw research house was a living experiment in sustainable building.


You want to look for those qualities when choosing pieces that fall into the umbrella of Mid Century Modern design.

Pictured above the Keanu Chair  is a prime example of MCM design blending together natural materials such as wood and leather. 

 The Kingston Chair is another mid century modern inspired piece that unites natural elements with timeless design.



Tips For Decorating a Mid Century Modern Inspired Room 

    1. Emphasize Statement Pieces: The entire space doesn’t need to be dedicated to Mid Century Modern but start with one to two large pieces to build your design around. It can be a coffee table such as the Boomerang Coffee table or the Knotty Coffee Table. The Lexi or Steen sofa would make great starting points to build a Mid Century Modern inspired room around. The design choices that follow – from color palette to curtains or art work should work to complement and highlight those larger pieces.
    2. Don’t Be Afraid of Color: An important distinguishing feature of Mid Century Modern design is its’ intention to be bold with colors. It could be a choice of a patterned or colored rug, accented dining room chairs, or bold art work choices. Emphasize retro colors that stick to the Mid Century Modern palette, such as sage green, butter yellow, a fall orange, or a deep red clay. 
    3. Natural Elements Are Key: Your choices + your space should be grounded in nature, find ways to bring it inside, to showcase it outside by designing your floor plan around large windows that highlight the landscape. Or bring in some potted or hanging plants to create natural elements that will bring necessary life to a space. 


  Pictured above the Lexi couch in Sonoma black 

 Mid Century Dining inspo



Photo by Claire Thomas. Source

As we've explored the iconic pieces and design principles of this era, it's evident that mid-century modern furniture transcends trends, becoming a perennial source of inspiration for contemporary interiors. 

 Shop more Mid Century Modern inspired pieces here