Style Guide: Mid-Century Modern
Style Guide: Mid-Century Modern
This week on the Eastbrook Homes blog, we are going to revisit our focus on different design trends and how choosing one can make your home reflect your own unique taste and style.
The term Mid-Century Modern is credited to writer Cara Greenberg who, in her 1984 book, described the furniture, architecture, and design trend made popular in the late 1940’s and 1950’s when the troops returning from World War II helped drive a booming economy nationwide.
The housing market saw a surge in demand, leading to the creation of a flood of new homes and subdivisions in rural areas across the country. The demand for furnishings to fill those new homes also drove the use of new technologies, materials, and unique designs focusing on form over function.
Partly defined by the idea of the home as a living machine, the Mid-Century Modern trend included such designers as Ray and Charles Eames, who used new materials such as plywood, plastic, and even fiberglass to create unique and often inexpensive décor.
Furnishings and accessories were often designed with curved shapes and smooth surfaces, but another change was incorporated as well. Furniture was no longer seen as dedicated to one room or a single-use. Instead, tables, chairs, and other furnishings were seen as multi-purpose accessories in the modern home.
Considered a “retro” look today, Mid-Century Modern, with its clean lines and straightforward designs, has seen a resurgence in popularity. Below are some of the ideas and examples you can use to create your own twist on this fun and interesting style.
The rise of Mid-Century Modern design saw the use of a variety of new materials, such as molded plastics with bright colors, veneers, fiberglass, or molded plywood as seen in the famous Eames chairs offered by furniture company, Herman Miller.
Steel, plastic, and wood are often seen together, while clean lines and functional forms often define the trend. Metal and glass used in pieces like nested tables or accessories such as clocks and mirrors can add a modern look and feel to retro pieces.
Mid-Century Modern design is filled with natural browns, soft whites, grays, and other neutral colors, but with splashes of eye-catching reds and other bright colors to accent the room.
Mustard yellow, olive green, and ochre paired with white and brown can set the perfect tone. For an accent, a red painting, gold pillows, or a teal throw will round things out.
Fill the shelves with ceramics, hang brass or wood framed mirrors, and add brightly colored abstract art on the walls. Throw some pillows with geometric patterns on the couch, or include some tweed fabrics or embroidery as warm, natural accents and to bring a splash of color to the space.
The focus on function over form can be seen in much of the furnishings used in Mid-Century Modern design. Furniture often featured clean edges and elegant styles, with gentle curves and organic shapes.
Plastic, metals, and natural or painted wood or veneer matched with smooth surfaces can include warm browns cabinets and clean white tables, with brightly colored chairs that provide both a place to sit and a splash of color to the room.
Whether it’s Mid-Century Modern or any of the other popular styles, your choice of furniture, colors, and accessories creates a look and feel in any space that is uniquely yours. Although it’s always fun to decorate, it’s even more fun to start from scratch in a brand-new home.
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