You know the old saying "never say never". Well it certainly applies to me when it comes to Mid-Century Modern design style. I grew up with this style in the 60's when it was in all the fashionable homes. In my hometown most interiors were a mix of traditional and modern but one of my best friends house resembled a Frank Lloyd Wright style home and it was totally furnished in what we called "modern" furnishings.
I have always been drawn to classic interiors, antiques and art. Even in my teens I hated this look and have not been too fond of it since. That was until I started researching for this blog post. Last week I decided to bite the bullet, be a good interior designer, and post about this style that is now recognized by scholars worldwide as a significant design movement. And much to my surprise I was able to find some images of Mid-Century Modern interiors that I actually like. This is a style that when done well is quite visually appealing. Don't get me wrong, there are some really bad Mid-Century interiors out there but that is true of all styles. Let us focus on the elements of this style that I have only recently come to appreciate.
In the postwar America of the 1950's there was a strong desire to push home design into the modern era where clean, pared down interiors would prevail and new technology would be close at our fingertips. By 1963 we were regularly visiting the ultra modern home of the Jetsons as we got our first glimpse into the future.
There in the Jetson home was furniture resembling cloud sofas, tulip chairs, and Eames lounge chairs. I remember our first "shag" carpet and my mother's sunburst clock as she attempted to add some of the modern accessories to our home.
Chimay Bleue on Flicker
A fresh aesthetic had arrived on the scene and we were looking at design in a whole new way.
Modern homeowners had a passion for bringing the outdoors in through the use of window walls, sliding doors, and patios. Today's Mid-Century Modern home still adheres to the idea of creating a seamless flow with nature.
As I began researching I have come to see the potential of Mid-Century Modern furniture wedded to classical interiors. This would be my favorite use of the design style.
Mid-century modern furniture is best demonstrated by the iconic pieces that showcase beautiful lines, such as this white Eames Lounger. I can see myself doing something like this in an 18th century French home with beautiful white carved paneling. I like the element of the clean lines of Mid-Century Modern meets heavy ornamentation.
The Eames Lounger, created by Charles and Ray Eames for the Herman Miller furniture company was released in 1956 and is one ofthose quintessential pieces associated with Mid-Century Modern design. The lounger is known for it's luxury, exquisite design, and comfort (permanently angled at 15 degrees to provide the most comfort for your body). If you have your mind set on an authentic Eames, look for the Vitra logo stamped on the lounger.
Another iconic star is the Barcelona chair created by Mies van der Rohe and his partner Lilly Reich. This chair would look fabulous used with other Mid-Century Modern furnishings in a classical setting..........
..........or more modern spaces. Either way this chair is perfect for the Mid-Century Modern home.
The Saarinen Tulip chair is thought to be one of the most recognizable pieces of Mid-Century Modern furniture.
The Tulip chair was designed by Eero Saarinen in 1955 and 1956 for the Knoll company of New York City. It was designed with a tulip-shaped pedestal base, and was used to match the complementary dining table. The chair and its modern lines and was often considered "space age" because of its futuristic use of curves and artificial materials. There are good reproductions on the market but if you must have an original Mid-Century Modern Saarinen Tulip chair be sure to look for the Knoll logo on the base.
A touch of Mid-Century Modern can freshen up a traditional interior. Color was a big part of the look in the 60's and you saw alot of orange, yellow and green. Today's Mid-Century room also makes use of color.....like hot pink.
Loving the crisp black and white and the clean lines of the furniture in this living room. Today a Mid-Century Modern space will often have pops of bright color.Toss in a circular shag rug, fun lamps, and a zebra chair and you have a great look.
Shag rugs are a must for your Mid-Century Modern home. Also, as you can see, aqua and orange are great accent colors for this look.
Remember that the space race was in full swing during the 50's and 60's and when the Soviet Union's Sputnik became the first satellite to ever orbit the earth, the Sputnik light became the must have accessory. Today they have regained popularity for use in Mid-Century Modern interiors. This room also features a Mid-Century style dresser.
Design Within Reach
Phillip K. Erickson, photo credit
Wood took center stage in the high-quality furnishings of the 50’s. These mid-century pieces had clean lines and were make of of teak, walnut, oak and rosewood. In the Mid-Century Modern home furniture is simply finished, showing off the true beauty of the wood.
Eliminating walls in order to achieve the open, airy floor plan that a Mid-Century Modern home would boast is a great idea
Originally Mid-Century Modern furniture and floor plans were stripped down to their essential forms, with no excess detailing or unnecessary flourishes. But today the look is both functional AND decorative.
Mid-Century Modern kitchens were intended to represent the wave of the future. This kitchen really evokes the look and is how I remember them in the 60's and 70's. Reminds me of my friend Robyn's home with its big modern kitchen with a huge mosaic mural above the cabinets.
Remember to keep the lines in your Mid-Century Modern kitchen clean, simple, and uncluttered. Replace curved, ornate kitchen cabinets with sleek paneled cabinet doors, or even install frame-less models. Add stainless steel and marble to countertop surfaces, and consider laminate flooring. If you choose to paper, go bold.
A light, airy room with Mid-Century Modern accents.
A rare Mid-Century “Cloud" sofa and ottoman set, by Isamu Noguchi came to market with an estimate of $500,000 to $700,000. Only a handful of these sets are known to exist.
The Noguchi coffee table, an iconic Mid-Century piece.
Another Noguchi coffee table in natural cherry by Herman Miller.
To add a touch of glamour to a Mid-Century Modern dining room, simply paper one wall in a bold graphic design. And there is the sunburst clock. All our mothers had some form of it hanging on the wall.
Graham and Brown Trippy Wallpaper
Have fun with designs that play with form, vibrant colors and fun patterns. Mid-Century is about cool furniture and groovy (didn't think I would ever use that word again) wallpaper.
Brass and glass chandelier by Stilnova, Italy 1965
Mid-Century Modern design featured unique pendant lights and fixtures that were not only functional but were also pieces of sculptural art.
A Jonathan Adler Mid-Century Modern Living Room
Geometrics are center stage in this room. Also look for great room dividers in cool modern designs.
To take your home back in time to this artistic era, bold lighting is another must-have accessory for your Mid-Century Modern interiors.
For an authentic Mid-Century Modern look use bold designs and geometrics if you choose to paper a wall.
There is also the all neutral Mid-Century Modern interior which I think is very classy and elegant.
Retro-style hanging fireplaces have made a comeback! They were very popular in the ’60s and ’70s and are surely in style again. These iconic design pieces actually heat up your home faster than traditional fireplaces because they radiate heat in all directions.
Warm and earthy colors, largely through the woods and other natural elements that predominate, are central to the Mid-Century palette.
These colors are still warm and earthy but updated as well.
In a Mid-Century homes, the more windows the better. This room is perfection with it's shag carpet, great furniture, stone floors, and floor to ceiling windows.
For more on the Barcelona chair click http://eyefordesignlfd.blogspot.com/2014/09/decoraing-with-barcelona-chair.html
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This blog post was published by Lisa Farmer