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Mid-Century Modern Style

The world was racing to explore space, Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry rocked the radio, while Marilyn Monroe and James Dean graced the silver screen. Slim legs and crushed velvet gave design a new allure that rivaled the stars of the time. The 1950’s and 60’s brought mid-century modern into full swing. The war was over and design was more avant-garde than ever before. Designers and architects such as Arne Jacobsen, husband and wife duo Charles and Ray Eames, and Verner Panton set the stage with essential period pieces.
Mid-Century Modern style makes use of clean lines, geometric shapes, and furniture with tapered legs to bring a more lived-in look to traditional modern style. It also incorporates wood and tweed elements while drawing attention to specific pieces of furniture and decor. Pieces like the Egg Chair, the Eames Lounge Chair, and the Panton Chair changed what it meant to have comfortable furniture with aesthetic perfection. Ergonomic furniture and simple decor live within a Mid-Century Modern home. Not only were design elements beautiful and well-structured, but they also created a livable feel in any space.

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Mid-Century Modern Color Palette

To start your Mid-Century Modern redesign, imagine a sterile modern style and slowly add in pieces that are adorned in shades of pumpkin orange, avocado green, and mustard yellow. Pick smoky greys for walls to showcase pops of Mad Men-inspired shades, be brave in choosing more intense accent hues. On the other hand, if you leave your walls lighter, you give yourself the freedom to be daring with your Mid-Century Modern furniture and accessories.

Mid-Century Modern Style Elements

An indoor plant common in Mid-Century Modern style elements

Nature

Mid-Century Modern design became iconic because it successfully combines urban decor with natural materials. Exposed wood, earth-tone palettes, and natural light are all key components. Pull in plants and chic terrariums to breathe life into any space.

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A wood Mid-Century Modern accent table

Wood

Although there are many materials that make up a Mid-Century Modern home, wood may be the most prominent. Both elementary and polished, exposed wood brings nature’s best decor inside the home. Wood surfaces and details take the edge off Mid-Century’s sharp lines and teak takes center stage in many pieces of furniture.

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A metal sputnik wall clock, metal is very common to find in Mid-Century Modern style elements

Metal

Of course, every space needs a little shine. Sharpen your home’s look with metallic accents in light fixtures, mirrors, and other accessories. Space race-inspired metals — think brass and chrome — take flight! Starburst clocks and Sputnik style light fixtures are important for a curated Mid-Century Modern design.

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A tweed Mid-Century Modern sofa common in Mid-Century modern style elements

Tweed

Don’t judge this book by its cover. Tweed and wood combine their powers to pull playful patterns and chic accessories down to Earth. Tweed may look rough and scratchy, however it can be quite soft and is an ideal way to add a textured touch to the clean lines that dominate this design aesthetic.

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Mid-Century Modern Patterns

An abstract Mid-Century Modern pattern

Abstract

For a Mid-Century Modern home, incorporating abstract patterns is a must. Find patterns that feature neutrals and bursts of secondary colors, such as orange and green. Think Pollock and de Kooning as you choose art for your Mid-Century Modern design.

A geometric Mid-Century Modern pattern

Geometric

Found in abstract, atomic, and deco patterns, geometric is the crowning jewel for Mid-Century Modern. Rounded geometrics soften patterns and help pull multiple colors together in accessories like throw pillows, lamp shades, and picture frames.

An atomic Mid-Century Modern pattern

Atomic

These explosive, star-like patterns are a reaction to America joining the atomic age at the height of Mid-Century style. With molecule-like structures branching off a central point, atomic patterns add a burst of excitement, featuring stylized versions of rockets and bombs in bright and muted colors.

A modern deco Mid-Century Modern pattern

Modern Deco

Channeling retro vibes, this pattern is a graphic approach to Mid-Century design. Modern deco is a nod to Scandinavian design, from which much of Mid-Century Modern drew its inspiration. There are many variations of this pattern.