A Touch of Midcentury Modern

I’ve always been interested in design and decorating (like most of the internet) but I’ve never had a formal tutorial in what the different styles of design are and how they relate. This is meant to serve as an introduction, a chance to initiate a dialogue about design. My “history” comes from Wikipedia, my style summary from dwelling in the depths of Google Images for hours. I’m starting with Mid-century modern because I had an art teacher in college who loved it and I spent hours googling it to try to be able to impress her.

Design: “purpose, planning, or intention that exists or is thought to exist behind an action, fact, or material object.”

Midcentury modern emerged in the United States in 1933. It is often associated with the architect Frank Lloyd Wright. His “organic architecture” blended with the International and Bauhaus styles of the time to create the American interpretation, mid-century modern. The goal was to bring modernism into everyday life in post-war America which is how it came to be found in the suburbs. I’m unclear why this was the goal; perhaps to convince people the world was ready for a new direction? The style remained predominant in the US until 1965. In 1983, Cara Greenberg, an architectural and design writer, made the phrasing “mid-century modern” popular with her book, Mid-Century Modern: Furniture of the 1950’s. 

Style attributes:


-Open floor plans let the sunshine in

-Post and beam support allows for more open space since no support walls needed   


-Natural materials lots of wood alongside marble and copper 

-Clean, simple lines only the things that are necessary are featured


-Focus on form and function there is a purpose to every line

-Sculptural lighting generally metal with some sort of radiant design


-Geometric patterns on pillows, walls, furniture, carpets, and art

-Earthy colors mixed with bright colors tangerine, avocado, and mustard according to HGTV

Summary: American design style. 1933-1965. Reemerging in popularity. Inspired by Scandinavian design. Frank Lloyd Wright. Clean, simple lines; natural materials; geometric patterns; open spaces; brings the outdoors in.

images via (1, 2, 3, 4)


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