Design Aspects of Mid-Century Furniture

If you thought mid-century furniture designs were merely a product for its time, think again! Today vintage mid-century pieces are as popular as ever. Their 1950s flair is ideal for today’s contemporary styles that favor a sleek and functional appearance. Because so many great vintage pieces have stood the test of time, it’s still quite easy to incorporate signature furniture examples throughout your home for a hip and modern look.

Great Functionality

There aren’t too many mid-century pieces that contain overtly superfluous design elements or features. You want see ornate carving or appliqued pieces that are more reminiscent of pre-Art Deco periods. Mid-century furniture is designed to work with a design style that doesn’t compete or try to show up the item’s functionality. The style is evident, of course, but it enhances the functionality of the item without upstaging it.

Regarding Shape

Many pieces take their design inspiration from the Art Deco period when geometric shapes were all the rage from furniture pieces to jewelry items. A boomerang shaped couch while novel and whimsical in some aspects actually function quite well to hug the coffee table and allow occupants to better engage with one another. Rectangular, circular, and square-shaped items are also characteristic of the era.

Fashionably Sleek and Thin

There isn’t a lot of heft when one things of mid-century. Over-stuffed sofas and chairs better belong to other eras. The furniture items tend to be trim and sleek. You won’t see an overabundance of fabric hanging or draped from pieces; you won’t see a busyness reflected by other styles. The styles pay homage to the shape of the item by celebrating–not masking it. For today’s urban looks, the style is quite suited to the modern look that continues to remain popular.

Novel Materials

The mid-century style ushered in all sorts of materials that hadn’t been used in furniture before like vinyl, chrome, and plastic. These unconventional materials might then be paired with wood, but light woods that were highly processed and rendered to be sleek. You’ll find remnants of these alternative materials in today’s 1950’s style diners that employ the same style with their chrome and vinyl bar-stools and colorful decorative schemes.

Sophisticated and Playful

While sleek designs demonstrate a modern sophistication, many other mid-century designs convey a playfulness that is evident in shape of color. Sun-burst shaped clocks, for instance, in colors like avocado show a light-heartedness that may have been a response to emerging from the Depression and war years of the two previous eras. The boomerang, of course, is certainly more playful than the sedate sedans of earlier living room d├ęcor.

Today it’s possible to mix and match these playful and sophisticated styles to achieve a modern look that celebrates the design aesthetic. You’ll enjoy the adding various mid-century pieces to complement your overall modern decorative plan. Of course, not only were these items built with style, they were made to last which is why so many wonderful examples remain around today!

Mary J. Gibson

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