What is Mid-Century Modern Design?

In today’s Style Series, we’re talking about one of my all-time favorite design styles, Mid-Century Modern Design. With its many different style mashups you may be wondering, “what IS mid-century modern design?” Today, I’m giving you an inside look at this popular design style.

Make sure to read to the end to check out some great options for furniture and accessories to ‘get the look.’

What is Mid-Century Modern Design?

Mid-Century Modern (also known as MCM) Design refers to the interior design style period around 1945-mid-1970s. During this time, a design trend towards a modern, functional approach became popular in contrast to the Victorian and colonial styles of the past.   It was heavily influenced by the German Bauhaus design movement in the early twentieth century, which emphasized clean lines, functionality, and a futuristic look.

MCM Design elements include graphic shapes, vibrant colors, clean lines, and a fusion of manmade and natural materials. 

How Has Mid-Century Design Changed and How is it Used Today?

MCM Design has had a huge influence on design styles over the past few decades.  While the retro style with bold colors; shag carpets and busy patterns might come to mind, today, Mid-Century Modern design comes to life in a more refined aesthetic. MCM can be seen in subtle ways in just about every furniture retailer through the addition of tapered legs, walnut wood finishes and curved lines. 

Via Etsy

Key Characteristics of Mid-Century Modern Design

Clean lines, organic curves, high functionality statement pieces

Mid-Century Modern Design focuses on using key furniture pieces that make a statement.  Furniture often has sleek or curved lines, includes tapered or hairpin legs with a focus on simple, quality, eye-catching function. 

Bright hues to earthy colors

Mid-century modern design uses bright accent colors against primary neutral tones of white, black, and wood tones. The mid-century color palette includes earthy greens, bright oranges and yellows, browns, blues and greens such as teal and turquoise.

Mixing materials for versatile design

MCM Design mixes manmade materials (like vinyl, plastic, lucite, and fiberglass) and natural materials (like wood, glass, metal, and marble). These create a versatile and playful take on design.  

Graphic shapes

MCM art and textiles often include interesting, bold shapes such as half-moons, sunbursts and other patterns.  You can see these shapes in lighting designs such as the famous sputnik style chandelier.

Indoor and outdoor fusion

As seen with Mid-century modern architecture, there is an emphasis on bringing the outdoors in through large windows.  With interiors, adding plants throughout the space and some natural materials is key.

The best part is that you can mix and match different types of furniture pieces. Each piece can be unique and authentic. Playing with different types of materials and shapes leads to the most interesting combination.

Get the Look: Mid-Century Modern Living Room

We’ve taken the time to curate some mid-century design pieces to help you ‘get the look’ at home! Click the links below to shop!


Love this Look?

Let us put together a custom design for your home! Take a look at our Design Services. From E-Design to Full Service Design, we have 3 tiers of flexible design services to accommodate a range of budgets and needs. Book a call today!

Via pufikhomes.com | Designer Agnes Rudzite 

Mid-Century Design Mashups

These days, you may see a combination of the style with many other design styles.                                   

Mid-Century Modern and Eclectic Design

MCM furniture pieces blend well with the fun textiles, shapes and patterns of Eclectic Design.  The MCM pieces provide a strong structure for a fun palette to accessorize.  

Via OldBrandNew – Designer: Dabito

Mid-Century Modern Design and Modern Design

Looking for a modern and minimal version of the classic MCM style? You can start with a statement sofa, incorporate a few subtle patterns, layer a bit of texture and add some wood for interest.

Mid-Century Design and Boho

The layers, mix of patterns and warm tones associated with the Boho style makes for a great combo with mid century design.

What are your thoughts on mid-century design? 

Do you lean towards the retro mid century modern designs or are you more into these modern trends? Share your thoughts in the comments below! 

Personally, I love how this style looks in homes with the out-of-the-box elements, vibrant accent walls, and different shapes. It’s a style that screams unique, and I’m here for it!

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