Mid Century Modern Furniture
The phrase “mid-century modern” refers to the decor, architecture, and furniture of the middle of the 20th century, from 1933 to 1965. The term first came into use in the early 1950s, and was popularized again in 1983 by Cara Greenberg’s book “Mid-Century Modern: Furniture of the 1950s”. Many of these pieces are as much art as they are furniture. The mid-century modern design style is now recognized as a significant movement in the area of home decor and architecture. The unique characteristics and innovative style of mid-century modern furniture make it still relevant to use in today’s homes.
One common feature of mid-century modern furniture is its use of clean, sweeping lines. Practical simplicity is the name of the game. Much mid-century modern furniture is designed to be streamlined and sleek. This design was intended to invoke a mindset of futuristic design in the viewer. Mid-century modern furniture is intended to be fitted for the “modern lifestyle”, whatever that may mean in the eyes of the designer. The simplicity and elegance of mid-century modern furniture makes it a beautiful addition to any home.
The mid-century modern period saw the advent of new and non-traditional materials being used in home decor. Plastic became common in furniture and home design for the first time. Tabletops and countertops were made of Lucite, Plexiglass, and Bakelite, instead of the traditional marble, tile or wood. Other even more outlandish materials, such as fiberglass, even made their way inside the home. The use of modern materials makes these pieces innovative, while their simple design makes them timeless.
Mid-century modern furniture is also known for its fusion of colors and textures. For example, many homes decorated in this style will combine bright reds, yellows, and oranges, creating a rainbow of warm colors. Other designs combine both old and new materials, such as using both Plexiglass and teak or other wood in the same piece. These fusion pieces can then be paired with smooth white furniture, to provide a familiar and calming base for the whole room.
Designers of the mid-century modern era wanted their furniture to be forward-looking and modern. They believed the future could be shaped by their designs. The prevalent use of glass in mid-century modern furniture and architecture was intended to remind the viewer that life should be transparent and open, not hidden behind closed doors. Homes designed in the mid-century modern style were made so that the residents felt more like they were living in nature than living in a home, with floor to ceiling windows, natural lighting, and large balconies and patios. The furniture in these homes was also designed with an eye towards a “natural” feeling, made to fit the natural contours of the human body or to mimic some comfortable natural position, such as the famous “Womb Chair”.
Mid-century modern furniture is a bit of a paradox. It is both retro and futuristic. It is made with simple, elegant designs…often in plastic and fiberglass. Clashing colors are brought together with plain white cloth. Modern materials are placed in conjunction with ancient hardwoods. All of these things create a style that is innovative, fresh, and perfect for any contemporary or modern home.
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