Just as the name implies, this style spanned a period of roughly thirty years in the middle of the 20th century, from the mid-1940s to 1970. This fresh aesthetic developed after the Second World War when there was a desire to recast earlier design to be more in keeping with the bold new world that was expected.
Mid century modern took from the simplicity of Scandinavian design and gained inspiration from the earlier Bauhaus style in Germany. During that period of time architects like Frank Lloyd Wright were designing using organic, natural shapes and bringing a whole new aesthetic to design. This was also the era of mass production of furniture and accessories which made them more accessible to the average family.
The elements of MCM I like best are the pared-down forms, contemporary patterns and natural materials.
I like to pick and choose aspects from this design era and mix them with contemporary pieces. The 50's space age look - metal and mesh chairs, sunburst clocks, bubble lamps and pole tension lights- is not to my personal taste, but I love to see it paired in someone else's decor.
If you want to reference a mid century modern look in your decor consider the following:
Choose round and sleek
by Gary Hutton
Saarinen Executive Chairs, a Florence Knoll table and a PH Pendant create the ultimate mid-century dining area. The MCM look is about spaciousness and light. Think lots of windows, minimal walls, clean and sparse styling with eye-catching elements. The rounded lines and monochromatic colour scheme here produces a very calming look. I particularly like the tone of green which is similar to the wall colour in the room below. Versions of George Nelson's bubble fixtures are still found in today's decor.
Even mid century styled rectangular furniture often had slightly rounded edges as seen in this hand crafted dining room furniture.
Explore Medium Toned Wooden Furniture
As this era was about embracing nature, lighter woods such as teak, oak and fir made their way into living rooms.
Use mid century modern materials
While the use of wood was a prominent feature of mid century modern decor, man made materials were just as prominent. Plastic including Bakelite on table tops, along with Plexiglass and Lucite, were all the rage.Other common materials wer molded plywood and wire mesh. A good example of how plastic was molded and is still popular today is the tulip chair by Saaranin.