Everything You Need to Know About Mid-Century Modern Design | AllModern (2024)

Looking for a quick intro to mid-century modern design? We've got you covered.

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You're busy, so we'll keep it brief. In less than five minutes, learn everything you need to know about mid-century modern design. Keep reading for design basics and simple swaps you can make to update your space.

Everything You Need to Know About Mid-Century Modern Design | AllModern (2)

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There's something about mid-century modern design that outlasts simple trends. Think sleek lines, natural lighting, and furniture with a focus on function. Mid-century modern decor is geometric and often features a bold pop of color.

There are many similarities between modern design and mid-century modern design, but you will find that mid-century design is full of new textures and colors. Even though it has been around for decades, the popularity of both vintage and new mid-century modern pieces shows that this style is here to stay.

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Function Over Form

Mid-century modern design is all about function. Choose furniture and decor that has a clear purpose and can easily be used for more than one function. For example, a C-shaped table has slim, sleek, angled legs that scream mid-century modern design while giving you a cozy space on the couch to enjoy a cup of coffee (or a glass of wine).

Uncluttered Look + Sleek Lines

Mid-century modern design is all about eliminating visual clutter for a clean, fresh look. Goodbye, oversized sofas and frilly curtains. Hello, slim legs and simple upholstery. Think clean lines, elongated proportions, and curved corners. Opt for geometric shapes and slim, sleek designs.

Natural Materials

Mid-century modern design mixes earthy fabrics and walnut-finished wood with modern materials like molded plastic, acrylic, and vinyl for an interesting look.

Neutral Base + Pops of Color

Mid-century modern design is all about neutrals with a pop of color. White and beige are go-to colors because they act as a neutral backdrop. For a pop of color, try out olive, mustard, orange, yellow, pink, grey, turquoise, or black

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When designing your home, let your creativity run wild. We know you want a unique space but may not know how to get it. These are our go-to, easy tips to get your space feeling more mid-century modern.

Go Slim

A quick way to feature mid-century modern design in your home is by swapping your furniture for something with clean, simple lines. Remember, slim and sleek are your go-to looks.

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Pro Tip:

Your furniture doesn’t have to match exactly. As long as the colors and designs complement each other, they’ll look cohesive while feeling unique and eclectic.

Keep Layout in Mind

Keep the layout of your home in mind when choosing your furniture. To keep it feeling minimal, let negative space be a part of the design in your office. Don’t feel like you need to have something occupying every space in the room.

Showcase a Focal Point

We know you love the simple and minimal look, but try creating a focal point in your space with one of your favorite pieces. Treat yourself to a geometric chandelier or that retro wall art you’ve been eyeing – your productivity levels will thank you.

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Neutral with a Pop of Color

Embrace color and patterns through abstract paintings, throw pillows, and accessories while keeping the rest of the space more neutral and simplistic, letting the color pop. For a subtle look, choose a more saturated or muted tone.

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Want to know more about where the design came from? We’ll make this quick. Mid-century modern design started in the mid-to-late 1940s and continued into the late 1960s, particularly popular in the 1950s to 1960s. After World War II, new technologies helped manufacture new fabrics and colors, making the mid-century modern design possibilities endless and allowing the style to take off. It is heavily inspired by the Bauhaus, an art school in Germany that was running until 1933.

The term mid-century modern design was coined in 1984 by author Cara Greenberg. She wrote about mid-century modern design in her book, Mid-Century Modern: Furniture of the 1950s, where she codified the signature looks of the style.

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Everything You Need to Know About Mid-Century Modern Design | AllModern (2024)
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