Mid-century modern interior design is the 1950s expressed through your favorite furniture and decor. Think furniture featuring natural timber and bold tones and furniture designs encompassing organic shapes, tapering legs, and whimsy all around.
In a word, mid-century modern interior design is about comfort. Place yourself in a seat of this style and prepare to put your feet up and engage in lazy conversation.
If you want to know more about this particular style, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, we’ll discuss mid-century modern interior design and present examples of furniture that give a more visual reference for this style.
Let’s get started!
A history in mid-century modern interior design
Before we talk about now, let’s go back to how it all began. In the 1950s, American interior designers created decor and DIY furniture from materials they’d never before used.
They played around with plastic, wire, fiberglass, and aluminum. Interestingly, these whimsical interior experiments were a hit and soon rose to popularity. As a result, mid-century interior design became the preferred aesthetic of men’s bachelor pads!
Just as this style gained momentum, Danish and Scandinavian modernism developed a similar following throughout Europe. In 1954, Scandinavian interior design was all the rage, thanks to the Design in Scandinavia Exhibition.
Despite shared similarities, such as geometric shapes and clean lines, the Scandinavian design differs from American mid-century design. It emphasizes the organic and relies more on natural materials.
Mid-century modern interior design at home
If you want to bring this style into your home, take note of our tips below!
Lean on wood where possible
As established earlier, timber is a cornerstone of mid-century modern interior design. It follows, then, that you should incorporate wood or woody tones wherever possible. For example, in the lounge room, your couches should have tapered wooden legs.
Likewise, in the dining room, you should have a wooden dining table. To complement this aesthetic, you can color-match your walls, floors, decor, and non-timber furniture in similar timber tones.
An easy way to do this is to bare your wooden floorboards instead of using carpet. Then, pair the floorboards with a neutral-toned rug to insulate your lounge room.
The Nova Leaning Shelf: turning ‘leaning on wood’ on its head. Image: 1825 Interiors
Choose a suitable color scheme
When it comes to color theming, mid-century modern interior design is flexible. During its infancy in the 1950s, mid-century interiors often came with a backdrop of cheerful colors such as pink, teal, or yellow.
However, this color scheme later darkened to earthier tones of burnt orange, mustard yellow, and olive. Nowadays, the color scheme tends to trend towards neutral, winking back to its past life with licks of bright-colored accents.
If you want a retro feel, such accent colors are a marvelous choice. Otherwise, to play modernism straight, stick to monochromatic color schemes and allow the room to speak through the furniture’s outlines or shapes.
This table setting, featuring the Nova 1800 Timber Dining Table, is primarily neutral with licks of baby blue. Image: 1825 Interiors
Use clean lines
In the spirit of modernism, clean lines are another cross-over point between the two styles. Clean lines are also standard in minimalist interior design. Why clean lines?
The minimalist philosophy that ‘form follows function means that you can let the furniture’s natural shape lead the design rather than adding more decor. Choose furniture that speaks through distinctive, clean lines rather than bright colors or excessive embellishments.
Those tapered legs, combined with the white outline, emphasize the Nova’s Sideboard’snatural, clean-cut shape. Image: 1825 Interiors
Use accent patterns
For a retro vibe, use the occasional burst of boomerang, diamond, or starburst patterns reminiscent of those associated with the 1950s variant of mid-century interior design.
Geometric patterns also work, although they are a less literal interpretation of the style. Use these patterns sparingly as accent touches; otherwise, you risk crowding the space with competing patterns.
Image: Spacejoy from Unsplash
Wrapping it up
Mid-century modern interior design has evolved over the many decades it’s spanned. What began as an experimental aesthetic boasting bright colors evolved to something more minimalist, consisting of neutral tones and occasional pops of color.
However, one feature it has steadfastly upheld is its devotion to timber. Even in its modern incarnation, it just ain’t mid-century without wooden furniture.
So, if you want to create such a space, invest foremost in your wooden base. To get started, you may wish to browse 1825 Interiors’ mid-century modern furniture in their Nova collection. Take a look and see if anything inspires you. As much as this style loves timber, there’s nothing wooden about its delivery.