Holly Ghent of Pash Classics explains the various rules to follow when looking to bring the classically suave and stylish Mid-Century Modern look back to life, in any room or space
It’s an interior style that is almost 100 years old, but since it first emerged in the 1930s, Mid-Century Modern style has rarely been out of fashion. Now, as it hurtles towards its centenary, consumer interest in the movement has never been higher.
Typified by clean lines, enticing curves and a striking use of mixed materials, the movement was born out of a desire for functional furniture that not only looked great but could be easily mass produced, ensuring affordable style was available to all.
It made household names out of designers Charles & Ray Eames, Arne Jacobsen, Harry Bertoia and Eero Saarinen, and their iconic designs –although decades old – remain at the heart of many family homes.
On-screen, Mid-Century styling has become a staple of the TV and film industry. Setting the scene in everything from James Bond and Hitchcock’s North by Northwest to The Big Lebowski, it’s even the look of choice for animated families with the Jetsons and the Incredibles both inhabiting homes that are instantly recognisable as Mid-Century.
Like every classic design trend, getting ‘the look’ is part science, and part art. So what are the unbreakable rules and styles you need to follow to get the Mid-Century vibe in your own home?
The Mid-Century movement emphasised the importance of function and form, so before you make a move, decide what the space needs to achieve. Is it a space for curling up with your favourite book or something more specific; a home office or dining area perhaps? Once you have decided how you want to use your space, finding the perfect furnishings is a lot easier.
CHOOSE A STATEMENT PIECE
Pick correctly, and a single statement piece of furniture will set the mood and tone for the rest of your space, perhaps even the rest of the home. And when it comes to ‘standalone stunners,’ there are plenty of Mid-Century pieces to choose from. Sophistication oozes from every curve of Charles & Ray Eames’ iconic Lounge Chair and Ottoman. Resplendent in moulded plywood and leather, when it’s not being used as a seat, it doubles as a piece of art. There is also Eero Saarinen’s Tulip Dining Table. With its streamlined and seamless style, it slots into any existing interior and instantly adds an element of laid-back luxury. Versatile and practical, it’s just as at home being used for family dinners as it is swanky suppers.
GO POP WITH COLOURS
The Mid-Century colour scheme is dominated by neutrals and natural fabrics, browns, oranges and blues. Combining these with bright pops of primary colours is a classic interior design hack of the Mid-Century school. Feeling particularly bold? Add some brightly coloured Tolix-inspired bistro chairs around your dining table. Don’t worry about sticking to one colour either – mix and max for impactful interiors. If you want something a little more subtle, but just as fabulous, consider a coat rack – something similar to the Eames Hang It All – in the entrance hall. Practical and fun, instead of traditional clothes pegs, it has multi-coloured bobbles from which to hang coats and has become something of a firm pop culture favourite. If you want to go all out, consider an Arne Jacobsen- inspired Egg Chair in bright pink or electric blue.
BE BRAVE WITH WALLS
It might be tempting to let your furnishings do the talking and leave your walls relatively neutral, but if you really want to seal the Mid-Century look, be brave and go big. There are no half measures here. Geometrics in muted non- primary colours are the go-to. Think striking graphic patterns in those classic Mid-Century shades such as orange or brown, with perhaps a touch of lime for interest. There are plenty of options out there right now. Today’s wallpaper design houses have taken inspiration from the original Mid-Century masters but thanks to advancements in digital printing can create striking designs in punchy colours that will really make your interior pop.
GO BIG WITH PLANTS, OR GO HOME
It’s the movement that gave us the mighty Swiss Cheese plant, the Fiddle Leaf Fig and the Snake Plant – big leaved statement plants whose nature contrasts with the rigid lines of the furniture and geometrics of the wall. It’s all about function, colour and contrast, and while house plants bring a luscious and luxurious touch to your interior scheme, they are also favoured by Mid-Century fans thanks to their biophilic benefits. It is said that house plants, whether real or faux, can help boost productivity, aid sleep and reduce stress, as well as, of course, looking great.
Stick to these golden rules of Mid-Century styling and you won’t go wrong when recreating one of the most iconic interior fashions of all time.
Holly Ghent is marketing coordinator at Pash Classics