If you grew up watching the classic TV shows of the ‘50s and ‘60s (and who hasn’t?), you no doubt admired the clean, sleek style of the characters’ mid-century modern homes. Whether it was the simple design of Rob and Laura Petrie’s furniture, or the natural wood and modern lines of the Brady house, the look was open and spacious. These mid-century modern homes exuded an appealing mix of modern sophistication and post-war optimism. The furniture was simple, the décor basic and brightly colored. If you’d like to replicate this sleek, happy look in your own home, good news: it’s simple, and it can be economical.
Think Frank Lloyd Wright. Knock out walls to open up the floor plan, and maximize every inch of window space – combine windows, if you can. Mid-century modern home are always open, airy and awash in light. Mid-century modern design often uses white wall paint and mirrors to amplify all the available illumination. Natural elements, such as stone, brick and solid wood are also heavily utilized. The background elements should provide a simple, neutral, uncluttered canvas, so that the furniture can really pop.
The furniture: mid-century modern pieces are a marvel of modern elegance. They exude sophistication through simplicity: no embellishments, no extraneous detail. Furniture lines are straight, almost severe, and yet these pieces also manage to convey exuberance, because they are often upholstered in bright, cheerful fabrics with bold designs. If a brand-new mid-century modern living room suite is out of your price range, you can often score what you’re looking for at an estate sale or thrift shop. There are still plenty of good mid-century modern pieces out there, and with expert repair and reupholstery, they can be customized to your tastes, and end up looking better than new. When choosing upholstery, think solid color, nubby fabrics, or smooth linens and silks in bold geometric patterns. If you choose a fabric like linen or silk, be sure to shield it with fabric protection treatment to extend the life of your furniture.
Mid-century modern décor is decidedly uncluttered, so this is not the style to display collections or to pile on furniture. A few simple, striking pieces are the norm. You can do mid-century modern with muted neutrals, such as sage green, brown and beige, or white, gray and black. You can also do it with bold, vibrant color, although usually, strong colors are confined to accent pieces, lest they overpower the overall theme. You might paint one wall in a bold color, for example, or allow a vibrant abstract painting to be the focus of a room, but beware of going too far. Mid-century modern should feel serene.
There are some great furniture movers in NYC who will help you bring these pieces home economically, and without hassle. Try the mid-century modern look in your own home – these pieces are beautiful, sophisticated, and coming back into style!