Mid-Century Modern Furniture: Key Pieces You Can't Do Without
If you're looking to rejuvenate your living space, mid-century modern design is a great option. If you want to embrace this consistently popular interior style, in this guide we'll discuss key pieces of mid-century modern furniture that your space can't live without. We'll also provide tips on how to integrate these pieces into your home décor.
What is mid-century modern design?
Mid-century modern design is a style that emerged in the middle of the 20th century. It is characterized by clean lines, simple forms, and a focus on function. Mid-century modern design is often credited to architects such as Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier, who eschewed ornamentation in favour of geometric forms. This style was influential in the development of both residential and commercial architecture, as well as furniture and product design.
In recent years, there has been a renewed interest in mid-century modern design, as people seek out simpler, more functional pieces for their homes. Whether you're looking for a stylish sofa or a timeless dining table, mid-century modern design offers a beautiful and functional option for your home.
Materials used in mid-century modern
Homes embracing mid-century modern make use of a variety of different materials, with the majority being natural. This includes wool, leather, glass and, of course, wood. Colours, therefore, tend to be muted, with a particular emphasis on browns, blacks, greys, whites and warm tones of red, orange and yellow.
Brown isn't just present in wood furniture and fittings. Another way homeowners can incorporate brown into a mid-century design is through brown tiles. Tiles are easier to clean and maintain than wood, and they still hold that warm, earthy look that is perfect for mid-century homes.
Key design principles in mid-century modern
Some of the key design principles in mid-century modernism include functionality, simplicity, and naturalism. These elements are often reflected in furniture design from this era, which is typified by clean lines and a focus on function over form. The emphasis on functionality is especially evident in chairs and other seating items, which are often designed to be comfortable and ergonomic.
Meanwhile, the use of natural materials such as wood, ceramic and stone is another hallmark of mid-century modern design. This aesthetic helps to create a sense of harmony with the surrounding environment, while also lending a feeling of warmth to a space. By utilising these key design principles, mid-century modernism was able to create a timeless style that is still popular today.
Essential mid-century modern furniture:
1) Mid-century sideboards
Mid-century sideboards are one of the most popular pieces of furniture from the mid-20th century. Often made of walnut or teak, these beautiful and functional pieces were designed to add storage and style to any home. Sideboards typically feature two or three cabinets with doors, as well as a series of drawers and shelves. Many also have stunning details like turned legs or brass hardware. Today, mid-century sideboards are highly sought-after by collectors and design enthusiasts alike. Whether you use it to store linens in the dining room or books in the living room, a mid-century sideboard is a timeless piece that adds both function and style to your home.
2) Mid-century sofas
The sofa is one of the most important pieces of furniture in any home. It's where we relax after a long day, where we watch TV, entertain guests, and take naps. So it's no surprise that mid-century sofas are some of the most popular pieces of furniture on the market today. Mid-century sofas are characterized by their simple, sleek lines and minimal design. They are often made from high-quality materials like leather or wool, and they come in a variety of colours and sizes to suit any space.
Whether you're looking for a traditional two-seater or a more modern sectional, there's a mid-century sofa to fit your needs. And because they're so timeless, mid-century sofas can easily become the focal point of any room. If you're looking for a piece of furniture that will make a statement and last for decades, then a mid-century sofa is a perfect choice.
3) Mid-century TV stands
One of the most essential pieces of mid-century modern furniture is the TV stand. Unlike traditional TV cabinets, which were often heavy and cluttered, mid-century TV stands are minimalist, with plenty of space to store your TV and other electronics. They also tend to be very versatile, with many models featuring adjustable shelves and removable doors. Whether you're looking for a place to put your new flat-screen TV or you're hoping to add a touch of retro style to your home, a mid-century TV stand is a great choice.
4) Mid-century armchairs
Mid-century armchairs are essential pieces of furniture for any mid-century modern home. They are comfortable, stylish, and versatile, and can be used in a variety of different ways. Mid-century armchairs can be placed in living rooms, bedrooms, offices, or even kitchens. They can be used as accent chairs, or they can be used as primary seating in a room. Mid-century armchairs are available in a variety of different styles, including Danish Modern, Bauhaus, and De Stijl.
5) Mid-century coffee table
A mid-century coffee table is the perfect finishing touch to any mid-century modern living room. Sleek, simple, and often featuring interesting details like tapered legs or a floating top, a mid-century coffee table is both stylish and functional. Mid-century coffee tables are usually made of wood, with a variety of different finishes available to suit any décor. Whether you’re looking for a classic walnut finish or something more unique, there’s sure to be a mid-century coffee table that’s perfect for your home.
In addition to being a stylish focal point, a mid-century coffee table is also highly functional. The large surface area is perfect for holding books, magazines, snacks, and even cups of coffee. And, because they’re typically lower to the ground than other types of tables, they’re also easy to access from a seated position. If you’re looking for a piece of furniture that combines form and function, a mid-century coffee table is a great choice.
6) Mid-century desks
Mid-century desks are essential pieces of furniture for any lover of mid-century modern design. Sleek, simple, and functional, these desks epitomize the aesthetic of the mid-20th century. Mid-century desks are typically made of wood, with clean lines and minimal ornamentation. They often feature tapered legs and integrated storage, making them perfect for small spaces. Whether used as a writing desk or a workstation, a mid-century desk is sure to add style and functionality to any room.
7) Mid-century modern textiles & art
Mid-century design has a clear focus on minimalism, however muted colour palettes and open floor plans can look sterile if not layered with textiles and artwork. Use rugs, throws and cushions to create texture, tactility and comfort. If your space is crying out for a pop of colour, this is the perfect place to add it. Artwork can also be a clever way to add depth to a space. Opt for 1 or 2 statement pieces in direct eyeliner of entryways to build interest. Avoid using gallery walls as the clutter can compromise the mid-century look.
Famous mid-century modern designers
The mid-century modern movement was a time when function and form came together to create some of the most iconic designs of the 20th century. Designers like Eames, Saarinen, and Noguchi pushed the boundaries of what was possible, creating furniture, lighting, and architecture that was both beautiful and functional. Their work was influential in shaping the aesthetic of the post-war era, and their legacy continues to inspire designers today. If you're looking for a taste of mid-century modern design, here are a few famous designers to check out.
Mid-century modern furniture is the perfect way to add a touch of retro style to your home. From mid-century sofas and armchairs to coffee tables and desks, there are a variety of pieces that can help you create the perfect mid-century modern look. And, because mid-century furniture is so durable and long-lasting, it's a great investment that will last for years to come. So, if you're looking for a way to add some vintage style to your home, mid-century modern furniture is the perfect place to start.
Feeling inspired? Check out our other mid-century guides:
Mid-Century Modern: A Beginner's Guide
Mid-Century Modern Living Rooms