Clean lines, gentle curves and a mix of different materials. This is one of the most popular and accepted definitions of the mid-century modern style of interior design. It is based on the Bauhaus style that came to the US from Germany when those architects and designers moved after World War II. After that, there was an expansion of cities that led to a growth in the demand for quick and newly built modern homes. A new range of materials were used to make newer textures and interpret colors in a different way.
Do’s and Don’ts: How to Spot Mid-century Modern Designs
Despite suburbanization in the US, the beauty of this classic and understated look of mid-century architecture which puts functionality above everything was not lost on the world. But a few tweaks were made to accommodate it to the modern house. And here’s how you spot the mid-century modern style of interior design.
- You will see sleek lines in the form of organic and geometric shapes.
- There is very little decoration.
- The usage of traditional materials like wood and non-traditional materials like metal, glass, Plexiglass and Lucite. Sometimes they are juxtaposed against each other to create a contrasting look. Vinyl and plywood were also liberally used.
- When materials like plastic were used for their own qualities instead of imitating wood.
- Black and white are used rather boldly.
The designs were powerful, evocative and continue to inspire designers even today. The furniture designed by them makes for some of the most sought after pieces. To get a glimpse of that, check out Knoll which is popular for its classic mid-century modern furniture pieces.
So, it is safe to say that introducing the new-age mid-century design to your space is a bit of an art form. But no pressure. With a little help, you can get this glorious look in your home or corporate setting. Let’s start by looking at a few standard tips and tricks.
- Don’t feel compelled to recreate landscapes or furniture or architecture from that time period. This adds pressure and frankly, it can get quite expensive too.
- Look at the features of the furniture and try to find modern pieces that reflect your style.
- Many pieces from that era have been replicated endlessly. So you might just be able to find them in your budget.
- Instead of chasing vintage pieces, find a large piece of furniture that reflects the design and let it set the tone of the room.
- Stay away from many different colors and patterns, especially if you’re picking wooden pieces.
Mid-Century Modern Wall Decor Ideas
When it comes to decorating a house, wall art has been one of the last things we think about. But this is a defining element that gives the room a certain aesthetic. It requires thinking that brings multiple pieces together to join and intersect. When we talk about doing this in the mid-century modern style, we are talking about bringing regular geometric shapes and turning them into curves and waves.
Some designers prefer mid-century modern Etsy wall art that is usually an amalgamation of different pieces with sharp protruding corners. Some others go for kitsch with modernist imagery. With mid-century items growing in popularity, it is a tad difficult to drive a bargain. There is a specific setting in which each of these styles works. Let’s explore some of those ideas.
The color palette of mid-century modern wall decor ranges from bright hues to earthy shades. If you don’t like the olives and bright reds, go with pastels and neutral colors. Mid-century modern gives you plenty of options.
So start with the colors of the room and match it with your wall decor. The mid-century modern style typically sticks to one color scheme. Take a look at the predominant colors of the walls and synchronize them with the decor. But that doesn’t mean you have to play matching. If you want to mix it up, pick the dominant color of a contrasting palette. This will give you visibility and a sense of prominence.
If you want to complement the furniture, you must break away from traditional pieces like paintings, posters and photographs. If you are going to get many pieces, get them in small sizes. You will find mid-century modern wall art in all forms. Think of a theme that would make for a great ensemble and arrange them in a trendy shape. This theme could be creative, color or design.
If you go for one big piece of art, you have the option of going a little wild. Mid-century modern abstract art prints are very popular. Some might say they are made with this design in mind. However, if the room has limited floor space, do not get a large piece. This messes up the entire aesthetic by making it look cluttered.
Where you hang these pieces is just as important as the color, shape and number of pieces. Remember that the piece is an extension of the wall. So empty spaces are important too. Whether it is an amalgamation of pieces or one large piece of art, lighting plays an important role. Their distance of the furniture should also be taken into consideration. Mid-century modern art is vibrant but not cluttered.
The Different Styles
Mid-century modern wall art can be done in so many ways. So, if you choose the pieces well, this might just be the most dominating part of the room. It can also make your room look larger if done right. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind while picking wall art, whatever the design style.
You must measure the width of the wall. Multiply that number by 0.57 which will give you the perfect art to wall ratio. Then pick the art piece whose standard size is closest to your magic number.
Typically, frames are available in a few standard sizes. If you are not sure, start with A1, A2 and A3 which are the most common sizes. This makes it easier to find a piece too. That’s 59.4 x 84.1 cm or A1, 42 x 59.4 cm or A2 and 29.7 x 42cm or A3.
You will also find art pieces in 50 x 70 cm, 50 x 40 cm and 50 x 50 cm sizes.
Mid-century Modern Wooden Wall Art
This American interior design style has great influence on wooden pieces. When dealing with this material, color and material are crucial. Rosewood, walnut and teak are regularly used in mid-century modern art. Carnation and flamingo pink or mustard and canary yellow are also quite popular. Chartreuse, avocado and pale turquoise fit right into the quintessential mid-century color palette. Remember that these are also popular colors for walls and hence a color scheme for the room takes birth.
Mid-century Modern Metal Wall Art
One way to do this is to incorporate mid-century modern metal wall art. These pieces come in different shapes, sizes and designs. You could even pick something in 3D. They can add character and level up the style of the room. This is a great way to introduce texture to the room. Metal wall art gives the room an eclectic feel without overpowering the rest of the decor. And it goes well with classic chairs of the same style.
Mid-century Modern Wall Mirror
Mirrors can be a bit risky but if you are looking to make a bold statement, they are a fantastic accessory. They give the room an airy look and are popularly used to make a space look bigger or reflect light. When placed near large windows or garden doors, they can also be used to highlight a landscape on the outside.
The most popular artifact is the sunburst mirror. It is a must-have accessory for mid-century fans. And you need not raid antique shops for these items. There are many replicas of such designs both online and offline. So, you can find replicas that fit your budget.
Now, this might seem a tad bit unusual but try picturing a mirror as part of the mid-century modern kitchen wall decor. A mirror that is added to the kitchen backsplash lends a certain nostalgic vibe making the design across the house consistent and complete.
The Bottom Line
There are a lot of things that can be called mid-century modern wall art. From color to material to size, you have plenty of options if you pick this interior design theme. The distinctive way of spotting it is to look for large pieces that evoke nostalgia. This is mostly about adapting style from the 1930s to 1960s. So, it ranges from highly classic to humble kitsch. But most of them are extremely functional.
From paintings to textural hangings, a lot of abstract art with vibrant colors (and some pastels) is classified as mid-century modern. Artists like Henri Matisse and Wassily Kandinsky continue to inspire designers even today. The likes of Andy Warhol and Jackson Pollock also fall in this category. Next time you’re at an estate sale, try to identify these pieces.