When Mid-century modern started making waves a few years back, the instant reaction was to dismiss it as an aberration. Obviously those people read the trends wrong, as we are into the second half of 2014, and the popularity of this design style only seems to be on the up each day. So much so that contemporary designers are turning towards midcentury modern decor to reinvent these classic furnishings with a new twist. Saarinen, Eames, Noguchi and Nelson – midcentury masters currently rule the interior design world with an inimitable flourish of their own!
Obviously popular shows like Mad Men and the minimal aesthetics of modern gadget makes like Apple are pushing us towards the sleek and unfussy appeal of midcentury modern. With midcentury modern infiltrating the interior design world, there are many avid Decoist readers who constantly want to know how they can incorporate this style as well. So, here is how you can bring this indomitable and timeless style home with panache –
1. Simplicity That Is Hard to Mimic
Let us make no mistake about it; the midcentury modern era was the time when the world first started moving towards the idea of minimalism. At the time, it was a style statement dictated by aesthetics and visual simplicity. It seems that after six decades, that cycle has come full circle! This time though, the quest for minimalism is defined by our lack or resources and the global financial crunch. Midcentury modern style is all about doing away with the unnecessary while highlighting clean-lined furniture, pure sculptural forms and sexy, smooth curves.
by Coop 15 Architecture
Ger rid of the excesses to ensure that your interior is ready to embrace the midcentury modern look. If you already have a semi-minimal style going in your home, then the stage is already perfectly set. Give each room a distinct focal point and let those stunning decor pieces or wall art shine through.
by Kimberley Bryan Photographers
2. Sculptural Decor
Speaking of stunning decor additions, modern midcentury style is all about adding a few timeless pieces to the modern living room, bedroom or dining space. This allows you to usher in a tinge of midcentury modern without undertaking an extensive renovation that completely changes the vibe of the interior. Buying an iconic decor piece like the ever-popular Eames Lounger or the stunningly minimal Noguchi coffee table is an investment that will serve you well for decades, if not generations, to come!
If you do not have the budget to spare for these high-end decor pieces, then visit the local flea market for some authentic midcentury modern finds. From vases and coffee tables to artwork and simple side tables, pick out what you really love and let it become the star of the room. Modern replicas also work well and are far more affordable. But be sure that you buy them from a reputable maker or you could find yourself with a cheap replica that breaks down within just a few months.
3. Geometric Patterns and Bold Wallpaper
One of the easiest picks that fits well with a midcentury modern look is the classic Moroccan rug in black and white. Bold geometric patterns and intricate designs are an integral part of the midcentury modern style, and you can usher them in using drapes, rugs and audacious wallpaper. Remember, though, that these bold geometric patterns must complement the clean look of the room and should add contrast to the space. Too much pattern can turn the interior into a cluttered and cramped space. So ensure that this balance between pattern and the neutral backdrop is always skewed towards the latter.
by Kropat Interior Design
by Supon Phornirunlit / Naked Decor
4. A Neutral Backdrop and Saturated Color
A warm neutral color palette is generally the best choice for a room with the midcentury modern vibe. But the key aspect here is to celebrate different natural textures instead of just painting the room in gray, beige or cream. Exposed brick walls might not be a classic in the midcentury modern style, but they work pretty well when coupled with unassuming and sculptural decor. Wood is another must in the room, and you can use wood panels both for the walls and the ceiling to create that cozy and almost nostalgic appeal. One you have this earthy backdrop done, add layers of decor in vivid, saturated hues to give the room a distinct identity of its own.
by Jeni Lee
by Amy Lynne Vogel Photographers
by Nest Modern
5. An indoor-Outdoor Interplay
Even though contemporary design sees the seamless connectivity between the interior and the world outside as almost ‘a given’, midcentury modern architecture first introduced it to the world in the 1940s. One of the fundamental ideas here was to enjoy life with a bare minimum while rediscovering that lost connection with nature. With sustainable design practices holding sway in the last decade or two, it seems only natural that this approach has once again gained popularity. Add tall windows and floor-to-ceiling glass walls and embrace the open floor plan to achieve this look.
by Jeffers Design Group
by Amy Lau Design
6. Curated Art and Collectibles
One look at the amazing array of George Nelson clocks and you will quickly realize that the period offers plenty of artistic additions and accessories to choose from. Colorful art additions also are a perfect way to enliven the earthy backdrop that you already have going. You need not always spend a fortune on period artwork, though, and all you need to do is keep an eye out for both online vendors and local fares where you can make some really good bargain buys. Use potted plants and colorful abstract art as well, since both of these perfectly complement the aesthetics of the period.
by Mark Lohman
by Gary Hutton Design / Photography by Matthew Millman
7. Lighting that Defines Space
When it comes to sculptural lighting additions, the midcentury modern period has produced the most iconic fixtures that have withstood the test of time. From the incredibly famous Arco floor lamp to the beautiful Isamu Noguchi light sculptures, you have some amazing options to choose from. Modern masters like Tom Dixon also offer brilliant pendants that seem to be inspired by this time period. Picking the right lighting fixture is incredibly important in capping off the midcentury modern style perfectly. Remember that the lamps here offer a lot more than just illumination.
by Sarah Greenman
They say that every generation rebels against its parents makes friends with its grandparents! Interior design seems to be headed in a similar direction as well. The need of the times, our changing sense of aesthetics, the constant quest for multi-tasking and smaller, sleeker gadgets also seem to be shaping our tastes. Irrespective of the reason, midcentury modern is here to stay.