Mid-Century Modern: The Look That Never Left
Nostalgic, evocative, and transporting, mid-century style encapsulates a variety of elements that have cemented it as a lasting staple of Americana. While designers such as Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen may not be household names, many people easily recognize the unexpected characteristics that made mid-century modern design a timeless, well-loved style for years to come.
Mid-Century Modern – What is it?
While mid-century style was developed in the 1930’s, Mid-century modern as many know it today wasn’t fully formed until the end of the World War II in 1945. Heavily influenced by the Bauhaus movement, Mid-century modern style is grounded in realist functionality but infused with optimism through vivid pops of colors and abstract details . Clean lines, sleek surfaces, and unexpected contrasts are its most easily recognizable features. Furniture from this period is often low to the ground, features geometric designs, and is constructed of natural elements juxtaposed with synthetic materials.
Some of the most influential designers of mid-century modern furniture were husband and wife duo Charles and Raye Eames, who created the famous Eames Lounge Chair. This lounge style chair has influenced the design of a variety of other styles including Stressless ®, which produces industry-leading ergonomic luxury chairs. Another well-known name of the time was Eero Saarinen, who was responsible for developing the now-iconic tulip table and chairs. Many designers of this period opted for looks that were artful, fresh, and comfortable and these became pillars of mid-century style.
What’s the appeal?
So, what explains the enduring popularity of mid-century modern style? Simply put, versatile, and sophisticated craftsmanship. The designs of the mid 20th century have long represented lasting elegance, and Mid-century modern walks a fine line between being clean, functional, and streamlined without being harsh, dull, or characterless.
While nostalgia consistently guides popular design choices, there has been a recent emerging trend towards more eclectic spaces filled with pieces from different eras. Mid-century modern furniture is an ideal choice to add into a retro space. Because of its eclectic nature, its elements are easily blended into contemporary, natural, coastal, or even bohemian spaces. It’s clean, character-driven simplicity offers a versatility that pairs well with a variety of styles.
What to look for
If you’re looking for a way to incorporate mid-century modern styles into your home but are wary of adopting an entirely new look, consider pieces with mid-century elements. Here’s a few examples.
Aside from being one of our comfiest pieces, this Draper Sectional features a myriad of mid-century modern details. From its dark tapered wood legs to its cozy, deep seating and tufted tight back, it’s ultra-clean look balances mid-century elements with a high-style, polished contemporary look.
Norway Accent Sideboard
Sideboards became very popular in the mid 20th century due to their inherent functionality. This Norway Accent Sideboard reflects the organic influences of mid-century style with a boxy, streamlined design and woven cane door fronts. Cane was well-loved in mid-century design because of its versatility and natural appeal, but its light, warm look has also made it a staple in coastal and Scandinavian minimalist styles.
This Walden Chair has all the key elements of a mid-century modern chair. Low seating, angled legs, and sweeping, sharp lines combine for a decidedly mid-century silhouette. However, a gray finish and muted light upholstery offers a more contemporary twist on this classic style, making for a look that balances retro and modern elements for a more versatile appeal.
Mid-century style has surpassed trends and rooted itself firmly in the culture of American design. It’s connection to modern art and daring, surprising pieces have delighted many for years, and will continue to do so for years to come. If you’re interested in capturing the look, or simply learning more about the style, our team of design experts are here to help.
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