I guess the first thing to do is to understand how the style originated. It was mostly influenced by the post war economy and the lack of materials available at the time. It also coordinated with the arrived of new manufacturing processes, opening up the possibilities of what could be mass produced for market. Mid Century design was simple, clean, uncluttered. It took a lot of influence from Scandinavian style, which brought with it an appreciation for natural light and he desire to bring the outside in. Mid Century design allowed people to personalise their homes and introduce colour and pattern.
Why is it back?
Like most things in life, design is cyclical. Themes come back around, usually with slight tweaks and variations to accommodate progress. Minimalism has been with us for some time now and like with the ‘minimal imposed’ post war period, people began to embellish their home a little further, usually with key pieces and accents that allow us to show our personalities. Mid Century has crept into our lives in just this way…
But why that style? Why are we trawling charity shops and antique halls for teak units, German pottery and colourfully upholstered chairs? Who knows! Maybe it’s because we remember a resurgence back in the 80s and it’s some kind of reminiscence that brings us back… maybe it’s the natural progression from flat pack and Ikea-mainstream-ness that called us to look for something more… or maybe someone just did it once and the whole world started to follow. Whatever it was, it’s here and it looks like it’s here to stay a little longer…
What does it look like?
When I think for Mid Century design I think if some big list names: Ercol, G Plan, Eames, Macintosh. Most of these names have been around since the start of mid century (1940’s) but most ceased production in the 60’s or at the very latest he early 80’s. However some have been going the whole time – Eames for example have never stopped manufacture. Ercol is back in our high street stores after decades of going it alone.
When it come to the materials it has to be natural. Teak is definitely the wood of choice for Mid Century style. Solid wood ideally, but also some veneers that don’t try too hard and acceptable. It’s the fixtures that make them too – the unique looking handles and drawers pulls, usually coordinated to the same wood at the item.
Legs are also important. The more they lean out on an angle the better! Ideally they thin and round at the ends: what we know as ‘atomic’ style.
Mid Century is all about natural colour. Embracing natural tones and adding greenery and texture to compliment. Mustard yellows, mossy greens and duck egg blues are all popular. Our current mid century modern trend is increasingly about adding even more colour: hot pinks, vibrant yellows and pops of orange.
It’s all about texture and/or pattern. Bold prints are fabulous and it’s better to have some depth with textures than to go for plain flat styles. Twills, velvets, furs and leather are all popular in the mid Century style.
Feature pieces! West German pottery vases and lamps, fluted colour glass, tassles and Pom poms, cane, bamboo and rattan.
How to create your mid modern Century style
It must be an expression of you! Get some key pieces that set the style and then add items that make your heart smile. Mine are my geometrical plant pots, my bevelled mirrors, brightly coloured cushions and my patterned lamp shades. Don’t be afraid of colour, but don’t add to many.
Good luck! Don’t forget to share…