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What is Mid-Century Interior Design?

Posted on 28 Jun, 2022

As the name suggests, Mid-century Modern is an interior design movement that sprung up in the middle of the 20th century, during the post-War years. While it was popular for a span of about thirty years between 1945-1975, it hit its peak in the mid-1950s. However, you can’t keep a good design style down. Like so many other trends, what was popular once will become so again, with sufficient passage of time. That’s exactly what has happened with Mid-century Modern, as many contemporary designers begin taking on its aesthetic.

So what is Mid-century Modern, in practical terms? What is its aesthetic? Its theme? Its feel? More importantly, how can you replicate it in now in 2022?

Origins of Mid-century Modern Design

Mid-century Modern is a minimalist design style, one that marks a natural progression in aesthetic from the German Bauhaus movement, through the International Style that followed. It originated in America following World War II, as artists and designers from Europe emigrated there to flee the wholesale destruction of the war on the continent. The influx of foreign refugees led to a demand for new houses in urban centres across the States. Thanks to the European influence, those new houses were often designed and decorated using minimalist techniques combined with a contemporary style.

How to replicate the Mid-century Modern look

Mid-century Modern is defined by simplicity – clean lines, neat finishes, little in the way of ornamentation. In the 1950s, this was as much a matter of necessity as it was a stylistic choice, with new houses being built cheaply and efficiently using new, cost-effective materials. Many of the owners/tenants of those properties did not have a lot of ornaments or personal effects to display. Nowadays, of course, the lack of decorative items is often more an aesthetic choice.

Minimalist furniture

Mid-century Modern uses furniture as the focal point of any given room. Large, vintage pieces of simple design tend to dominate the room. Whether that’s a mahogany table in the dining room, a large armoire or wardrobe in the bedroom, or – these days – an entertainment unit in the living room.

Greenery for scenery

The current trend for biophilic design can be said to have its roots in Mid-century Modern. Plants and other greenery were often used to bring a touch of the natural world into this stark and minimalist environment.

Colour and contrast

In traditional Mid-century Modern, it is not usual to paint the walls or furniture to achieve contrast in a room. Instead, this effect was pulled off by introducing contradictory materials. Marble worktops on dark wood units, was a popular choice, though you could reverse the look by choosing pine units and a granite worktop.

No matter what design style you favour, Careers in Design can help you find your next interior design job right here. Register your CV with our site today to find all the latest industry vacancies.

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