Why is Mid Century Modern Still a Thing?

Today, the midcentury look is just about everywhere - and I’d bet that most of the time you don’t even notice it.  The recent TV show Mad Men is a bit more obvious of an example, but just about any living space on TV or in the movies from college dorm rooms to suburban living rooms and penthouse apartments will have a Womb Chair by Saarinen or a classic fiberglass Eames rocker (don’t even get me started on how college students can afford these treasures #jealous).  Commercials use fun, multi-colored Eames molded side chairs to lend the ease of clean lines and a sense of familiarity to their spots.  Flip through design magazines or scroll through interior design photos on Pinterest and hints of midcentury are everywhere.  Retailers like West Elm and Thrive Furniture are playing with midcentury looks too - opening the design style to a whole new generation of consumers.

Mid Century Modern Furniture

Photo Thrive Furniture

So, what does “Mid Century Modern” actually mean?  The simple definition is furniture, architecture, and graphic design created from 1933 to 1965.  The phrase “midcentury modern” was coined in 1984 by Cara Greenberg in her book, Midcentury Modern: Furniture of the 1950s.  The style’s design elements include clean lines, geometric designs, natural curves, wood, metal, and bright colors.

Eames Lounge Chair

Photo: Casa Abril

So, why is midcentury still so popular and familiar?  After all, it’s been over 60 years since the era was in full swing.  In short, midcentury pieces are clean-lined, well-designed, and have a timeless look, so they can easily be peppered into lots of spaces.  They still feel modern today.  With the trend toward urban living we can only expect midcentury to stay around.  The designs are perfect for smaller spaces, are generally lightweight for those who move frequently, and lend a sense of familiarity to every space they’re in.

Womb Chair
Photo: Ranch54

Nicole Hodsdon
Nicole Hodsdon

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