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What Is Mid Century Modern Decor?

By: Jennifer Bailey
What Is Mid Century Modern Style 5

People’s lifestyle and preferences are developing, following the dynamic of the universe and the development of technology, no doubts.

Architecture style, design or interior is always improving as the era develop.

Moreover, the existence and development of technology also make it dynamic.

Recently, people tend to use mid-modern style in their housings if they want to have a simple and naturally integrated design character.

This is one of the most preferable styles for many people to decorate or build their house.

Mid Century Modern is a style of architecture, interior, products, and graphical design in which generally portrays the development of 20th century in a modern design and city development.

This terminology is used to describe design style in the middle of 1950’s and it was then emphasized back in 1983 by Cara Greenberg in a book titled Mid-Century Modern: Furniture of The 1950s (Random House).

Mid Century Modern is an architecture idea created by the people who believe design style that look developed and futuristic can be a platform for the creation of social change to create better society.

The housing styles built around 1945 until 1980s have naturally integrated and simple features.

The architecture of Mid Century modern have several characteristics such as flat roof or ceilings and asymmetric appearance.

The use of wide glass and an open room is also what people usually highlight from this housing style. Mid Century modern style design provides the outdoor atmosphere to get into the inside.

Mid Century modern style itself is created by modern generation, like Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer, who were moving to America due to the existence of Nazi from Germany.

World War II triggered the appearance of technological experiment and new materials like metals and wood in which those are utilized for the building after the world war.

John Entenza, a publisher from one of the most influencing magazines California Arts and Architectures, started the program of The Case Study in 1945 to make and create a kind of after-war housing prototype that was intended to be icon of that era.

Characteristics of Mid Century Modern

Houses with this kind of style have open and large room with big sliding doors which ‘push’ the member of the house to live healthy life.

Big glass doors or windows are going to make someone involved to the outside world with open minded because of the environment outside the house.

So, here are some important elements of Mid Century Modern style you need to know:

1. Flat Plane

Mid Century Modern Style

Several parts of the house might be asymmetric; however, the straight line in the ceilings or roof is the main characteristics in Mid Century Modern style for your house.

Maybe you can put the real material of the wood elements in making this flat plane. Good quality of the wood such as oak wood, plywood, walnut, or rosewood is going to make perfect lining in your house to create straight line in the ceilings or roof.

This is going to maximize the characteristics of Mid Century Modern for your housing style. So you must pay attention in this character to maximize the nuance of Mid Century modern style that you desire.

2. Big Window

Mid Century Modern Decor

One of the things that were there in the housing style of the Mid Century is the big windows at house.

This big window makes the sunlight comes to your house in which that would make your house and the people inside your house live healthier.

We can also see this part, big window, in several movies with the background of Mid Century.

3. Naturally Integrated

What Is Mid Century Modern Style

Usually, Mid Century Modern style is naturally integrated in which the house is directly linked to the elements of nature like trees, woods, or even water.

Nowadays, it is difficult for us to find natural elements around our residence.

Therefore you can still put an idea in having pod or fountain in your backyard or front part of your house with several shaped bushes in order to integrate your house in this kind of style with the nature.

4. Warm and Natural Color

What Is Mid Century Modern

Central color in Mid Century Modern style is natural and warm color like a transition f wood color. Other colors that are usually used are olive green, mustard, orange, yellow, or even pink, grey, turquoise, and black.

Those colors match the integrity of nature and aesthetic value of Mid Century Modern Style.

However, many people argue that the color looks very stiff and it makes the house looks boring.

In today’s practicalities, it is very possible for you to have good house staging so even with those colors your house still can be look interesting, and of course welcoming in the style of Mid Century Modern.

5. Efficient Size of Bedroom

What Is Mid Century Modern

It does not have to be small, but this kind of style usually have an efficient size of the bedroom instead of having huge and large size for the bedroom like a super deluxe hotel room size.

Inside the room there is usually furniture with antique atmosphere starting from the smallest thing like accessories until the main one, the bed itself.

Do not worry, because you can still make illusion of having a wide room by putting several magic colors, like white for instance.

That is going to make your bedroom look wider even if maybe that is not as wide as that may look.

6. Lamp Statement

Mid Century Modern Decor

You need to pay attention at the lamp that is commonly used in the house with Mid Century Modern style.

A kind of lamp like chandelier or Arco standing floor lamp is typical in this housing style which gives dramatic impression in the room.

Although lamps have unique shape and the value of art, but you can never ignore the function of the lamp in the first place. Those styles and kinds of lamp must also fit the function of the light inside the room.

Do not stuck in the style and makes the lighting in your room become not effectively lights.

Lamp design at the era of Mid Century is pretty much standing and somehow quirky so it usually is able to give particular accent in the room.

However, the hanging style for the lamp is also match the Mid Century modern style in your house. Getting your lamp hung in several rooms would be just okay for this kind of style.

7. Graphic Pattern

Mid Century Modern Decor

An impression of brave, strong and other unique motive of geometrical pattern is going to give graphic impression in the room.

Heavy cloth and textured one in a form of knit work is going to also give additional values to the theme of Mid Century Modern in your room.

In the practicalities, you can add this pattern, or find one, to many of your furniture in the room such as rug, cupboard, or even maybe several relevant wallpaper as long as that does not mismatch the Mid Century modern housing style.

8. Minimalist Kitchen

What Is Mid Century Modern Style

Kitchen in the house with the concept of the Mid Century modern is commonly minimalist but it is usually full of antique furniture and kitchen tools.

That is why even the kitchen and the utensils in it must also include in consideration of having the house theme Mid Century Modern style.

Mid Century Modern Series:

Mid Century Modern Houses

1. Stahl House

Mid Century Modern Style

Talking about Mid Century modern style of the house, one of the most famous houses with that kind of design is Stahl House. Located in Hollywood Hills, this house is designed by Pierre Koenig in 1960.

This house turned out to be famous thanks to iconic photo by Julius Shulman in 1960 in which that portrayed two women drinking cocktails in that house.

This house is one of several houses that was built for “Case Study” house.

2. The Fallingwater

What Is Mid Century Modern

Discussing Mid Century Modern house style seems not complete without mentioning the most iconic example, which is the Fallingwater.

The house is located in the highlands of Pennsylvania and this is probably the best example of Mid Century modern house that is integrated with the surrounding nature.

This house is designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, the most famous American architect.

The name of Fallingwater came from the Bear Run waterfall that is flowing beneath the house. The design on brave floating canopy as if it is against gravitation above the waterfall makes this house even more standing.

This house has ever become Time magazine cover in 1938. This house is currently open for public as a tourism destination.

Well, modern and minimalist design refers to the room function which supports the need and life style of the owner. The concept of open-plan gives flexibility in a framework and comfort of the flowing room as well as the access to each room.

Those design concept have been applied since the Mid Century and it is still relevant even as the era goes by until today. The mix of this concept is known as what we have talked, Mid Century Modern style of housings.

Besides having such a modern style, Mid Century Modern is not as modern as it may sound.

Mid Century Modern Style’s Simplicity

There are several simplicities that this style actually has, they are:

1. Open-plan Room

Mid Century Modern Style

The concept of open-plan room becomes the strongest characteristic of Mid Century modern style for the housing concept.

This is simple since you do not have to think more about the walls that divide each room in your house. You can make sunken living room or such.

You can just put several antique or vintage furniture in the room as an iconic style of Mid Century modern since there were many iconic antiques from several artists which they turned out becoming an icon of some interval times in Mid Century era.

The application of open-plan concept can be done through real consideration on which rooms can be linked together and separate those rooms with the room where you need privacy for that.

You can do it by observing the structure of the building before doing the decoration.

2. Widen the Visibility

Mid Century Modern Style

The image above is an example of exterior and interior transition in a house with Mid Century Modern design by Richard Neutra.

The concept of open-plan previously is going to need a maximally well functioned interior.

The interior design in the Mid Century house must be functional and also aesthetic. Finding a balance between comfort and the wide of visibility in your own house is going to be in the hand of the one who did the decoration, mostly architect.

We can see form the image that glass wall and wooden deck between exterior and interior give a clear room dividing with wide visibility and the open-plan concept that is well realized.

3. Clear Separation with the Openness

What Is Mid Century Modern Style

The appearance of house’s exterior in Mid Century modern style is created by the balance between an open and massive walls.

Massive walls give protection from the street in front of the house with balanced composition. Massive walls are the key of the success of aesthetic for the exterior and this also divides the privacy of the house and the outside clearer.

Besides, expensive glass wall makes massive wall is great and more economical idea. The application of contrast color and the mixing of horizontal and vertical lines in the walls and cube of the roof as well as the garage is going to give a beautiful and natural balance.

4. All in Order

Mid Century Modern Decor

Wardrobe and the shelves must be well created to make small house be able to be stayed by comfort. Minimalist concept needs to be applied in the design of the shelf that is put between rooms.

What is becoming the simplicity in here is that this Mid Century modern ask you to just use anything that is going to be used as how it is supposed to be based in its function.

Do not over putting something that you are not going to use it otherwise the Mid Century modern style is not going to work at its best.

Besides, stairs can also be used as an open limit between rooms as well as closing the distance with the ceilings to make better eating atmosphere.

5. Clear Function for Each Elements

What Is Mid Century Modern

Innovative room must be able to use all elements in it functionally, beautifully functional and functional where it can give comfort. The realization of those two different thoughts is what is going to make optimal house for its owner.

The image above is one of the examples of the bedroom in Mid Century modern styles, taken from Nefsi Suret. Big window in the side walls of the bed is well functioned as an enough and proper natural lighting as well as widen the visibility.

Big mirror right there can be used to ‘widen’ the narrow room by doubling the vision of the room by the people looking at it.

At the end of the day, just think simple and honest to fulfill all the needs of your housing design. It is also the same to create stylish house design in Mid Century Modern one.

Go use all the simplicities and the characteristics of all the elements of the function fulfillment to create the most honest, clearest, and most beautiful architecture work, naturally.


Concluding this discussion, Mid Century modern housing style is one of the most preferable house design in today’s era. The impression of glamour and natural in such a modern and simple way is probably the reason why people still like this old style of house design.

The characteristics of Mid Century modern style is on the glass elements like in the sliding doors or big windows as well as its architecture.

The elements with certain motives are also supporting the value of Mid Century modern, such as graphic pattern in rug or carpet or any other furniture in the house.

One of the main things that many experts argue about Mid Century modern housing style is the connection and also link part between inside part of the house and the openness of the outside world in order to get better visualization and great light from the surrounding environment, just like the condition in the Mid Century.