STYLE FILE: Mid-Century Modern

The 1950's is in, it's hot, and it's not going anywhere (at least for a while, which is fine by me.) An open floor plan is a must for any mid-century modern home. Choose iconic furniture pieces from period designers such as Eames, Saarinen, and Miller. Tie everything together with bright pops of color.


A little history

The term Mid-Century Modern was coined in 1984 by art historian Clara Greenberg. It was used to describe architecture, furniture and product design of the '40's and '60's. It defines a softened modern look, one with organic shapes and elegant designs. Candy colors adorned Mid-Century interiors. Many notable designers came to rise during this period- George Nelson, Charles & Ray Eames, Alvar Aalto, and Eero Saarinen are a few whose designs are still widely reproduced today. 


Mid-Century Modern homes saw a few different color palettes through out their heyday. The 1950's were known for bright candy colors like Harvest Gold, Turquoise Blue, and Chartreuse. The 1960's saw a more refined color palette of olive greens, maroons, and creams. Choosing a few of these colors to incorporate along with fresh, contemporary colors (think Marsala, Pantone's 2015 color of the year) will set the proper backdrop for your decor. 

Mid Century Design Style Red Bear Square

Pattern + Materials

Embracing and refining the kitschy-ness of 1950's patterns is a must.  Patterns like diamonds, funky geometric and abstract prints make bold accents throughout a Mid-Century space. Space designs like half-moons and star bursts fit perfectly, as well. Neutrals like woven linen and boucle fabrics add texture and give a refined, updated look to your home. The key here is to choose a color palette and stick with it throughout your space. 


Natural wood is a staple in any Mid-Century styled space. Teak and Walnut are among the most popular choices. Leather, glass, and smooth, shiny metals all balance out wood-heavy designs. To keep your space from looking like it's stuck in the 1950's, choose quality materials over plastics and plywoods. 



Mid-Century Modern furniture is known for it's union of straight geometric lines blended seamlessly together with organic details. Choosing furniture with tapered legs and strong geometric silhouettes are a great start when picking out furniture. Adding accent pieces, like a sculpted, organic chair (think Saarinen's Womb Chair) helps set apart the Mid-Century style from it's current brother, Contemporary

Decor + Details

Choose Materials Wisely

Materials like teak wood were used in abundance during the height of Mid-Century Modern design. Today it is widely known that teak wood isn't a sustainable choice as it is harvested from dwindling, old-growth forests. To help preserve these natural resources, pick quality vintage peices over new ones. 

Update with Contemporary Touches

Using too many patterns and decorative accents directly from the 1950's is a straight path to a dated space. Making swaps to these items with updated accents inspired by the Mid-Century style is a great way to keep things looking fresh. 

Keep Your Space Open

Homes of the '50's were known for open layouts and wide walls of windows. These architectural features have carried themselves to present day designs, and for good reason. Large, open spaces allow for bright interiors and a welcoming environment to residents and guest alike. 


Get more Mid-Century room inspiration on my Pinterest Page!

Interested in a MCM make over of your own?

Peace & Love,