Whilst originally driven by a pioneering period of post-war progress, mid-century (1945 – 1965) style is very much hot and happening, right here, right now.
This is the era which made household names of designers including George Nelson (if you don’t own a George Nelson clock, go…get…one….now!), Charles and Ray Eames, Eero Sarrinen and more, and which was so beautifully captured in recent years on the set of Mad Men…may it rest in peace.
Question is – how to reproduce it at your place? What are the essential elements of decorating in a mid-century mood? Never fear, that’s why we’re here. Whether you want to replicate the entire look, or just incorporate key pieces for a simple by stylish update, here’s our go-to-guide to inject some mid-century magic at yours….
Signature pieces & sculptural style
Even one or two signature mid-century pieces will anchor your space, and pay homage to the era. In fact, restraint is critical in nailing this style, which values function over frivolity and focuses on solid, quality construction and fundamental form using natural materials, such as timber.
A rectangular sofa on splayed timber legs with bold fabric or leather cushions, an earthy wooden credenza and a classic accessory, such as an Eames Hang-It-All will go a long way towards making your home a model of mid-century style.
Warm and wonderful timber, texture & tones
Mid-century is all about warmth, created through the use of earthy timbers and warm tones. Use timber together with leather to add texture, mix in some matte gold and brass as your metallic of choice and curate a colour palette using solids such as teal, red, burgundy, orange, mustard and olive green to hit the mid-century mark.
Gregarious geometrics & offbeat art
Go bold or go home should have been the mid-century catch-cry for textiles and art. For an era which was about form, function and restraint when it comes to furniture, the opposite is true of its favoured textiles and wall décor.
Abstract, graphic and pop art add an element of surprise in walls which were never left bare, while brave geometric prints and heavier textured fabrics create the ideal contrast in soft furnishings and upholstery against the more sculptural lines of major furniture pieces.
Swanky statement lighting
In contrast to pared-back mid-century furniture, lighting is sculptural and dramatic, with pendants and floor lamps often the focal point of an entire room. Just by adding an enormous floor lamp or flash pendant light, changing your rug, plonking a couple of on-trend pics on the wall and investing in one major mid-century furniture item you’ll be known for your mid-century decorating moxie in no time.
Replica Achille Castiglioni Arco lamp