Hello World! Welcome Friends! Today, please help me welcome Christine to the blog. She shares some tips to add the ever popular Midcentury Modern look to your existing decor.
“Midcentury Modern” seems to be the hottest interior design buzzword today. In fact, it’s gotten to the point that some of us are totally over the trend. It is, after all, very distinctive, and anything distinctive and omnipresent can get old.
However, there are solid reasons that the Midcentury Modern style has taken off in such a big way. In fact, by some accounts, it’s never really gone out of style since it got rolling in the 40’s. It endures because we’re still living in a modern world with those same underlying values. We love the impression of space, a lack of fussiness, and integration of convenient technology.
Have you flirted with the idea of adopting Midcentury Modern in your home, but hesitated? After all, most of us don’t want our living room to look exactly like a set from Mad Men, and very few of us are ready to spend our retirement on an authentic 1950’s Eames. Here’s the background about the style, along with practical (and inexpensive) ways to incorporate the best parts of it into your own home.
The History of Midcentury Modern
The Midcentury Modern movement was actually a continuation of the Bauhaus style and modern design movement started before WWI, which was further a progression of utilitarian and industrial style. All of these movements shared the trend of shaving off unnecessary decoration and instead embracing the underlying frame and function of a space or item. Modern design turns function into a design element instead of using design to cover the function.
Midcentury modern, however, adds some elements to this legacy of minimalism; namely, the technology and materials that weren’t present in 1910. Midcentury modern is characterized by its eclectic incorporation of plastic, vinyl, and fiberglass. It also features the whimsy of the space age with vast open-plan spaces, and bold geometric shapes ( think “Jetsons”).
Fundamental Characteristics of the Style
- Clean, minimal lines
- Organic and subtle curves
- Confluence of fabricated materials like plastic, lucite, and other acrylics with natural wooden elements and traditional materials like glass and metal.
- Function and utilitarianism ahead of form
- Unique colors; not just bright tones but also the classic palette of avocado, mustard, and tangerine
How to Incorporate It
While many people would like to adopt the Midcentury Modern look, it might seem impractical. Some of those authentic furniture pieces go for tens of thousands of dollars! And it often feels like making it work for you calls for a complete overhaul of your entire house.
But there are plenty of ways to nod to Midcentury Modern and get little tastes of it in your home in a practical way. Here are some ideas:
Add More Space
Midcentury Modern is famous for open floor plans, vaulted ceilings and picture windows. If you can’t get more space, get the illusion of it:
- Open up a passe-plat between kitchen and dining room/living space.
- Get rid of window coverings, or opt for a sleek way to cover, like a roll-screen.
- Install hardwood or linoleum instead of carpet, and make it consistent throughout living spaces so they look more united.
- Make the walls plain white and opt for just a few large statement art pieces instead of a lot of smaller pieces.
Get Distinctive Accessories
There are some pieces that can shout “Midcentury Modern!” and dominate a room. These pieces should be few, but they can be a really fun way to incorporate the style without a complete home makeover. Look into sunburst mirrors on the walls, a geometric vase, groovy bowl, clock, or lamp.
Choose an Accent Piece
The key to making the room adopt a certain style without overhauling the whole area is to emphasize some key design elements. Make sure that your room’s staples (the couches and perhaps tables) are neutral, and then invest in one or two interesting accents, like a colorful, creative chair, or a sunburst clock.
You can also make the accent be the walls. Although white walls and blank space is a classic of modern design, you can also create a contrasting effect with a geometric print on the wall, or a statement wall of wooden paneling. It might seem like a big undertaking, but it’s actually really easy if you opt for removable wallpaper or vinyl stickers. Read here for more ways to make dramatic (but easily temporary) changes in your home.
Have Fun with Lighting
Changing up your lighting choices and fixtures is a great way to change the look a lot with just a little effort on your part. Midcentury Modern was really into the lighting, which is why you’ll find fascinating chandeliers and fixtures in the signature style. Adding more light in general can also make the space feel bigger, which will continue the Modern theme.
Look for hanging light fixtures that attract the eye, like a chandelier or bubble lamp. Consider sconces on the wall as well, which were big in the 60’s. Add pops of color by coating the metal and consider what each light fixture is highlighting in your room. Make the lighting draw attention to the Midcentury accents that you’ve added to get more bang for your buck.
Bring It Outside
Magazines like Dwell make us swoon over bold architectural design that looks straight out of the Twilight Zone. However, you’re probably not about to completely tear down your house and rebuild it in order to get that edgy look. That being said, it’s easier than you think to get some of those elements on your house’s facade.
- Eliminate any fussiness in your yard and get the cleanest lines you can with green materials. Consider topiaries and bushes where you can play with organic and geometric shapes in the yard. Or, look into succulents and desert-dwelling plants that will give you more dramatic lines.
- Put a glass door on your garage, which will give the whole facade a modern look without you having to live in an impractical glass house.
- Reduce the amount of foliage and instead opt for more industrial materials, like concrete and stone done in an artful way. Play with contrast and texture with these materials so that it doesn’t look parking-lot boring.
- Use oversized potted plants throughout.
Thank you, Christine for such wonderful information!
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