An ever popular interior style reflecting the design movement born at the turn of the 20th century, the modern interior style – also known as mid-century modern – brings together a tasteful blend of clean lines, uncluttered spaces, and sophistication.
Modern design style’s elegant, yet functional vibe, means it works well in any space. Influenced by Scandinavian and German design and architecture, you’ll find modern mid-century design boasts clean lines, natural materials, simple, yet beautiful statement pieces, monochromatic colours, and functional furnishings.
Loved by many for it’s modern, yet classic design, it brings beauty and charisma to any home. Our guidelines below should help you start designing a space in the modern interior design style.
When designing a space to create a mid-century modern look, choose furniture pieces where the form follows function, furniture which reflects its intended purpose, without extensive decorations or detailing elements.
You’ll find clean lines, sharp edges, minimal design touches, and a sense of simplicity in every element of a modern furniture piece.
Additionally, space is key when designing with furniture. Avoid cluttering items or placing items too close to one another. A mid-century modern design requires room to breath, so one can appreciate the functional, yet aesthetically-pleasing design of the space.
Chairs often make a Modern Design Style look, the movement is responsible for some of the most iconic chairs which remain instantly recognisable today. The designs were influenced by new technologies in manufacturing and the form of other objects.
Marcel Breuer was inspired by the metal frame of his bicycle when creating his iconic Wassily chair, a club chair constructed from non-reinforced steel bent to create a tubular frame with canvas or leather strips creating the back, seat and arm rests. His later Cesca chair, named after his daughter Francesa, is another icon in Modern design, the tubular steel frame is bent into a continuous flowing form and paired with a woven seat. The use of a cantilever design with no back legs, instead relying on the tensile properties of the steel, remains revolutionary.
Ray and Charles Eames were said to be influenced by a baseball mitt when designing their lounge chair and ottoman, the molded plywood underneath sits in contrast to the soft comfortable leather seat, mounted on a cast aluminium swivel base.
Use a statement chair to complete the look, or take your inspiration from one of the iconic modern chairs: the Wassily chair, the Eames lounge chair, the Cesca chair, Egg chair and ball chair.
When enriching your home with a mid-century modern design, choose curtain fabrics or upholstery textiles which boast graphic patterns and motifs in browns, forest greens, and/or dusky oranges. Widely recognized as modern style, blending a simple, yet functional design with pops of subtle colors enhances a sophisticated and elegant design.
As far as lighting inspirations and sources go, unique lighting is all the rage in a modern design scheme. Lighting in mid-century modern homes plays with fun shapes and lines, blending together clean curves and pristine circles. Although, keep in mind natural light becomes a modern styled room, adding a touch of organic and earthiness.
Mid century modern homes often featured plain white or neutral walls but wallpapers with strong graphic patterns, clean lines and geometric simplicity can be incorporated. Create a feature wall with a bold geometric print or with a printed artwork and then compliment the look with a rug, cushions or curtains.
Draw in the attention of guests with simple ceramic statement pieces. Display a ceramic tea sets or a few storage jars from the 1950s-1970s. Go out of your way to find them at thrift stores, retro junk stalls, or charity drives.
Additionally, to bring in a touch of organized charisma with a group of ceramic pots from a particular era in the past century. Gather them together as a statement piece and enjoy their varying shapes, sizes, and forms.
Rugs and Flooring
For an uncluttered and minimal look, sleek, hard flooring or modern wooden flooring is a must-have in any mid-century modern styled room. When picking out rugs, go with boldly colored graphic patterns to bring in a touch of warmth and cheerfulness.
In addition to wood, chrome, and steel, the natural feel of glass accessories also makes a feature appearance in any modern interior design. Glassware like apothecary-style glass vials, 1960s flat glass ashtrays, and bulbous vases make for stunning display. When choosing glass pieces, use bold colours like purple, blue, and turquoise to bring in a touch of “wow”.
Chrome and Steel
While an essential part of a mid-century modern design is natural elements like wood and leather, chrome, nickel and steel accessories sprinkle in a smooth, clean look. The metal may be used in the legs of a chair, the body of a lamp, or in a lighting structure. Additionally, choose shiny steel vases to tie together the entire wood-chrome scheme.
When it comes to furniture, lighting, and design pieces, we can confidently say that the modern interior style is greatly influenced by Scandinavian designers. The modern design style aims for overall functionality, unclutteredness, and unnecessary detailing.
Additionally, simple and practical wood-framed furniture and lighting pieces are all persuaded by the Danish modern style, where wood is the key material for producing larger statement pieces, like a dining table, to smaller decorative items, like a candle holder.
When searching for mid-century modern inspiration, a good place to look is 20th century design museums, or to look for key designers and let their particular styles influence your design ideas.
For further inspiration check out our ‘Get the Look’ articles, or for the perfect look, why not use our interior design service, our designers will work with you to create the perfect mid-century modern look for your home sourcing products from all over the world.