How To Add Some Mid-Century Modern Style To Your Home

6th Jan 2023
How To Add Some Mid-Century Modern Style To Your Home

Mid-Century Modern (MCM) is one of the most fashionable interior design styles right now. It’s hardly surprising as it ticks so many boxes: it’s pleasingly retro and nostalgic, yet also chic and elegant. Here’s a look at the history of MCM and how you can introduce some elements into your home. 

The MCM movement refers to the period after World War II, up until the late 1960s. It saw a move away from the chintz and somewhat fussy style of the interwar period, and moved towards a sleeker and more minimalist aesthetic. 

MCM furniture

For the first time, mass-produced furniture that was good quality but affordable was within reach of the average householder. From a 21st century perspective, this style now has a timeless appeal. 

Furniture pieces were designed to be both practical and aesthetically pleasing, without any excessive decorative details. Wooden furniture made from mahogany, oak, or walnut with slim tapered legs defined the look. Chairs and sideboards which are lifted off the ground can help to give the illusion of more space in a room.

Furniture was designed to be less bulky and easier to handle, making it easier to transport between homes and to take up less space in a room. For the first time, open-plan designs were introduced in the home, giving them a light airy feel. Classic examples of houses built in this era have wall to ceiling windows to maximise the flow of natural light. 

MCM colour schemes

After the drab interwar period, MCM made full use of colour. Warm earthy tones were popular, such as oranges and yellows, in ochre, mustard, gold, and amber tones. These were contrasted with earthy shades of green such as moss and avocado. In contrast, bright bold jewel colours, such as emerald, ruby, and sapphire, were also a feature from this era. 

It is possible to introduce some of these colours in more subtle ways if you are wary of decorating your whole house in bold shades. For example, you could stick to more neutral shades for larger areas such as walls and floors, and save stronger colours for accessories such as blankets and throws.

Other ways of introducing pops of colour include wall art, rugs, cushion covers, or lampshades. Pick out an accent colour which you particularly like, and use it consistently in your accessories and textiles to create a sense of harmony in the room. 

MCM materials

In the mid 20th century, a range of different materials became more widely available, such as plexiglass, plastic, and metals. Fibreglass and plywood were also created for the first time as supplies of natural wood became scarcer in the post-war period. Therefore, designers got creative with combining different materials in pieces of furniture. 

Leading MCM designers

Charles and Ray Eames were an American couple who were considered to be the preeminent MCM designers. They were among the first designers to use lighter materials such as plywood, fibreglass and plastic to home furnishings, and introduced to the world to the simple but enduring moulded plastic chair.

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