The mid-century modern design became popular around 1945 to 1969 during the United States post-world war II period. It is a design movement that is typically characterized by clean simple lines, organic elements, geometric shapes, and iconic design pieces. What makes mid-century modern unique and significant, is because it symbolizes a democratic movement from the oppressions of world war II. It emphasizes practicality and function in design, completely dismissing traditional ornamentation. The style took shape from early design movements such as the Bauhaus style and share similarities with Scandinavian designs. Mid-century modern introduced a completely new and essential way of designing interior spaces that embraces the modern way of living which explains why the design is wildly popular even up to this day.

Creating the mid-century modern design look in your interiors isn’t always easy. That is why we’re here to show you the 6 distinguishing features that make a home mid-century modern.

Minimal Décor

Since mid-century-modern is all about clean sleek lines, simple geometry, and a hint of organic elements and materials, the décor pieces are also kept at a minimum quantity. Decorate with era-inspired light fixtures and table accessories. Incorporate potted plants, stylish vases, patterned throw pillows as well as rugs but make sure to arrange these items in a streamlined manner. Use the straight geometry and layout as a guide. Take note that the overall composition should be organized and clutter-free.

Sleek Lines and Geometry

Clean, sleek lines and simple geometrical shapes are some of the distinguishing characteristics of a mid-century modern interior design. Leaning on modernist principles and contemporary style, the architectural features, layout, and décor pieces are modest and streamlined. Furniture for example is rectangular and is often elevated with tapered legs. There are little to no embellishments on walls and are usually kept neutral or stylized with simple shapes and patterns.

Contrasting Materials

Another defining feature of a mid-century modern interior is the play of contrast in materials and furniture pieces. It’s best to achieve visual balance and hierarchy by incorporating contrasting elements. A low coffee table and sofa set paired with an arc lamp would add contrast in height which would create a ton of interest and personality to the living space. Contrasting walls make a statement. Show off textured walls or wooden panels by keeping the backdrop crisp and neutral.

Form Follows Function

Taking an emphasis on practicality, mid-century modern is basically the marriage of form and function. Designers were focused on the integration of functionality and efficiency hence the birth of furniture pieces that were designed with simple geometry to fit limited spaces and compact homes. Open layout, large windows, low ceilings, and flat roofs became a common sight.

Iconic Furniture Style and Craftmanship

Mid-century furniture is often characterized by tapered or angled legs. Some look stylishly modern with hairpin legs, thin wired legs, and subtly curved forms. Charles and Ray Eames are some of the famous furniture designers that were associated with this style. their work is widely copied and became synonymous with mid-century modern design. Materials that are often used to make these iconic furniture pieces are solid wood, metal, glossy plastic, fiberglass, and marble. The mid-century modern design gave rise to iconic furniture designers like Knoll, Herman Miller, and George Nelson. Their designs rose to popularity in the 1950s and never went out of production since then.

Color Palette

The mid-century modern style works with a variety of shades. However, the most common and trendy colors that defined the design include pumpkin orange, yellow gold, greens like apple, olive, warm reds, earth tone colors, light hues, and pastels. For a design that is more minimal and contemporary, earth tone colors, as well as neutrals, are more likely seen. Another way of integrating mid-century vibe with colors is by using bright hues to accentuate a neutral backdrop. Adding this pop of color can be in a form of décor pieces, paintings, furnishings, and other design elements that adds color and interest to the room.

Mid-century modern design by no means, the only design style that still serves relevance to our modern lifestyle. With its unique and functional qualities that resemble the past, and at the same time creates possibilities for the future, it’s definitely here to stay.

Related: Modern vs. Contemporary Design: What’s the Difference?