Why the Mid-Century Modern Aesthetic Is Taking Over and How to Bring It Into Your Home
BY ROXY ALLNUTT
A tribute to Emma Chamberlain's recent Architectural Digest tour
26 OCT - 2022
What about this style draws us back after more than a half-century?
Mid-century modern design, as you may have put together, began in the middle of the twentieth century. However, the essence of the style still serves us the same satisfaction today over 50 years after its origin. Functionality and simplicity are at the heart of mid-century modern design principles. The style is also very linear and tends to be family centred for ultimate conversation hubs and a comforting presence.
The simplicity of mid century modern furniture is striking. Defined by clean lines, organic forms, minimal ornamentation, and high practicality, the style has an undeniably timeless appeal. The necessity for efficient, simplistic furniture and décor in our houses was a reaction against the extravagant styles from decades before. As a result, the homes that embodied the style were classed in a more modern and organic space.
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To be clear, we are not talking about the shamelessly bright and highly energetic accents in home decor deemed retro. While yes, from the same period, we are talking about modern design. Industrial, understated, neutral, minimalist and functional – you get the picture?
The realm of interior design is not immune to the cyclical nature of fashion, hence why mid-century modernism isn't classed in the old-fashioned pile. Mid-century modern is making its revival, we've seen it in the homes of Troye Sivan and Emma Chamberlain, and we think they've got the right idea. The best part is that anyone can easily infuse this look into their living rooms with a few simple tweaks. We dive into some easy substitutions and favourite home moments to inspire you.
Why is it so popular at the mo?
This week, Emma Chamberlian opened her doors to Architectural Digest, and the internet has been frothing over it. Mid-century modernism qualities are gorgeously seen in Chamberlain's new home in Los Angeles. Designed by Ashley Drost and Marie Trohman of Proem Studio, the house does a fine job of reflecting its owner's chill, laid-back vibe and exciting taste, favouring the unexpected and unique over predictable design trophies and tired signs of luxury. Chamberlain says, "I work from home, so I wanted to make something that was completely mine and comfortable…I used references from many different eras and decades of design, and I tried to combine them into something that fits together and feels new.”
How to Bring Mid-Century Modernism Into Your Home
Mid-century modern is one of the most popular design trends, but you don't have to spend a fortune replicating the style in your own house. As this era’s furniture is often defined by its legs, you can easily replace the legs on your existing furniture! Kristen Reyes of Sey Interiors says replacing the legs on your chairs is a simple method to produce a mid-century modern aesthetic. Those famous table peg and cabinet hairpin legs are commonly distinguished by mid-century style.
I did a tribute piece to Troye Sivan's mid-century modern home with 20 pieces that truly define the era and his incredible taste in furnishings.
Read more here. (link the article)
Instead of buying vintage chairs, look for replicas. Most well-known dining chair models from the 1950’s and 1960’s have inexpensive reproductions from furniture outlets. For example, the famous Eames lounge Chair flourished in the 50s and has hundreds of replicas on the market. You can also look at the Eiffel chair or wishbone chairs for your dining room as a sure way to integrate mid-century charm at an inexpensive cost. Mid-century contemporary dining chairs feature curving, organic backs and slender legs, so keep this in mind when hunting.
Make a statement wall with bold wallpaper.
Using bold wallpaper to create a feature wall is a simple and inexpensive way to bring vintage emotions into a living room. Abstract flowers, vibrant greens, and yellow instantly scream mid-century modern. This feature wall in Emma's living room with geometric greenery is exceptional in the way that its eclectic pattern, although striking on its own, has found a way to smoothly transition into the backdrop of the outdoors.
Add throw cushions and blankets in complementary hues.
Adding throw pillows and blankets in the right colours is the cheapest method to give your area a mid-century vibe. Do be careful that you’re not buying terrible quality items from fast homeware stores and instead are investing in pieces made from long-lasting natural fibres. From our Pinterest board below, you'll see just a couple of pillows effortlessly styled with their surroundings for ultimate effect. My favourite shades from this mood board are the navy blue hues, terracotta orange, emerald/sage green and dusty red. It's not hard to picture these hues in your space as a starting point for re-styling your area.
One great feature piece
Instead of investing in a room of mid-century modern furniture, focus on a single statement item. You will feel so fulfilled by investing in one memorable and conforming piece. A decent credenza or high-quality coffee table can establish the decor tone for your whole space. If you want to search from the second-hand market, you can revamp and give a second life to an actual vintage piece. Replace the legs, give 'em a lick of paint and get a kick out of your incredible find.