How to Furnish And Accessorize a Mid-Century Modern Home
Design tip from Terri Parsons, Allied Member ASID, NKBA
Principal interior designer
Anne Parsons Interiors
Rather than aiming for a singular style, Anne Parsons Interiors focuses on each client’s lifestyle and personality to tell their story and to create a style that uniquely reflects them. This approach, along with considerations for the architecture and home surroundings, produces a timeless and authentic living environment.
Mid-century Modern refers to the time period between 1930 and 1965 when designers and architects began focusing on simple, yet creative, design. It was during this period that famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright experimented with organic architecture, building some of his most well-known homes and using scenery to inspire innovative designs. Some of the most recognizable furniture was also designed during this time period from the Eames lounge chair to the slender Tulip and Womb chairs designed by Eero Saarinen and the Egg chair designed by Arne Jacobsen. The mid-century movement produced pieces that are still staples in modern homes.
Some essential Mid-century Modern items to consider for your home of the same style are:
- An egg-shaped chair: Mid-century Modern furniture favors curved shapes and bright colors, so look for chairs with rounded seats or wings that mimic an egg shape in colors like rusty orange, lime green or bright red. If you’re trying to create a fusion of futuristic modern and Mid-century Modern styles, pick an egg-shaped Arne Jacobsen-style chair or an Eames-style chair with a molded plywood base and leather cushions.
- A shag rug: A solid-colored shag rug is a good base layer to build on for Mid-century Modern style. Since your furniture and accessories will be bright, stick to a cream or grey shag rug. The goal of your area rug when modeling your home after Mid-century design should be to make the other decorative accessories stand out and not to detract from them — unless your rug is the artwork of the space; in that case, go all out!
- A retro wall clock: For an Art Deco vibe that is prominent in most Mid-century decor, look for retro clocks that also can be considered art. The starburst clock is an iconic accessory and ideal for completing the look of your Mid-century living room, dining room or bedroom. Look for styles with a wood point of star and colorful balls at each hour marker (like the Nelson Ball clock) or a sleek chrome version made from unusual materials (such as the Nelson Sunflower clock).
- Big lamps and vases: Because Mid-century style relies heavily on solid wood furniture and chrome accents, you’ll need to add color with items like lamps and vases. Don’t be afraid to pair a large porcelain lamp base with an even bigger drum lampshade or place a curvaceous vase right on the center of your media console. Matching these items to a bright chair or throw pillows gives your room the right amount of color while keeping it retrtro.