Style Guide: Mid-Century Modern

Style Guide: Mid-Century Modern

Characterized by the styles made popular from the 1930s to mid-1960s with an influence from World War II, mid-century modern is still popular today. Seeing a revival in recent years, this style is complementary to the minimalist and natural style sought after today but adds a twist of geometric shapes, splashes of colour, and rich textured fabrics.

Bright coloured rug with wood furniture an bright decor

Source: 204 Park

Organic clean lines, simplicity, and rooted in functionality, this style seeks to achieve integration with nature. A nostalgia that is transmitted through decades, mid-century modern is a reminder of the turn of the century, and the styles that defined generations of homes. A reaction to the overly ornate and detailed décor found in the prior century, this style aimed to offer a clean, sleek modern design. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was a pioneer in this style, being famously known for making modern architecture popular during the 20th century. Taking a brief backseat through the late 20th century, this style has come back in full swing as of late, so let’s explore how to achieve this classic style in your home.

Mid-century modern bedroom with round mirror and wood chair

Source: Scout & Nimble

A stark contrast to our previous discussion on Modern Farmhouse, which bases its style around neutrals, mid-century modern embraces a wide array of colours. From striking contrasts of black and white to the bright mixing of retro colours, the spectrum is expansive. Commonly featured are mustard yellows, burnt oranges, and olive greens, with compliments of neutrals in each space. This style works opposite to most common designs today, where the walls remain neutral, and instead, colour is incorporated through the furniture and décor.

The most defining characteristic of any mid-century modern space is retro furniture. Structure, durability, and comfort are the basis. Vintage features of slender legs, square edge couches, a few distinct curvatures and striking fabrics characterize the space all coming together to create what is known as mid-century modern furniture.

Finding the perfect balance between vintage and modernity is the key to achieving this design. Leaning too far into the retro style can quickly date your home, whereas featuring too much modern style can lose the mid-century era being featured. There are a few ways this can be achieved and we're going to explore them. For an interior designer's perspective and understanding of the Mid-Century Modern interior design style, check out Michelle Murphy Design's blog.

Add depth through opposites

A variety of different shapes, heights and colours help to achieve the uniqueness of this style. Contrasting colours and a variety of textures in décor and furniture are easy ways to create that depth that is crucial in mid-century styling.  This style does not like the eye to settle. With varying pieces of furniture, artwork, and paint colours, this style could be defined as organized, yet busy. Picture a living space with mustard yellow velvet seating options, in addition to a red leather ottoman, and a wood sidebar. This is the typical sort of variety that can be found in this design. Don't be afraid to be out there with the colour palette. Find tones that complement each other, and incorporate them through various artworks, décor pieces and textiles. 

Mixing fabrics

Adding a mixture of textiles into your home is an easy way to incorporate this design into your space. Patterned fabrics, velvets, and wool, all in differing colours, break up the room and bring in the designs of those previous decades. Using a variety of throw pillows, blankets, and various patterned and coloured furniture, these different fabrics come together to create a space filled with contrast, colour, and texture.

Integration with Nature

Calling back to the integration with nature, adding greenery to the room is the best way to achieve this incorporation. Using a variety of heights and different plants is another great way to add depth to your space as well. Commonly paired with a palm plant, and some smaller greenery, this pairs as a nod to the 50s and 60s style that reigned ever popular in California and coastal areas at the time. 


Wood dresser with large round wood mirror and plants surrounding

Source: Lonny

Mid-Century Modern Cabinet Hardware

Ensuring your style is featured in every aspect of your room is a way to pull the room together and have each piece of your space communicate. Upgrading your hardware can be an easy way to transform an existing piece of furniture into a new style. Designer cabinet hardware is complimentary to this style. Featuring luxurious and bold designs, rich colours, and unique styles, this hardware steps out of the standard mould, and transforms your cabinetry into an art piece. 

Cabinet hardware has come leaps and bounds in recent years. With more options than ever, there is something for every style and design. We think of decorative hardware as the jewellery of the home. A way to dress up cabinetry, and give it a new life. It provides an opportunity to further communicate your style throughout your home.


Our choices for Decorative Hardware:

Source: Top Knobs & Belwith Keeler

Find your perfect Mid-Century Modern hardware, explore all our cabinet drawer pulls and cabinet knobs to find unique cabinet hardware to suit your style. 


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