Be inspired by iconic designs from the 1940s and 1950s, as we show you how the mid-century modern look can work in your bedroom now
Above Robin king bed, £720; Agatha bench, £190; Caroline chest of seven drawers, £680; Catalina pendant light, £70, all from Perch & Parrow
One of the things that is so interesting and fun about interiors is seeing trends come and go and design and products evolving. Mid-century modern is a style that we can’t get enough of, and we’ve seen so many furniture pieces for the bedroom that have definitely been inspired by this time period. But what exactly does mid-century modern mean? We’re here to clarify the term and give you plenty of inspiration for your own bedroom project in the process.
The phrase ‘mid-century modern’ was first coined by writer and art historian Cara Greenberg in 1984. It refers to a movement of design around 1940s-50s which was a post-war era that naturally led to change and a new wave of architecture and design that was based around clean lines and functionality. This was modern design that was meant to be for the everyday homeowner – furniture that looked sleek but was also practical and affordable. So many iconic designers emerged from this era, including the likes of Charles and Ray Eames, Hans Wegner, Eero Saarinen and Finn Juhl. While you can find designs that originated from this time period – we recommend browsing Vitra and Knoll – there is also plenty of amazing new furniture, lighting and accessories that are coming through now that can help you to achieve the mid-century modern look.
Lyndsey Goodger, director of Rose & Grey, says: ‘Mid-century design is all about simplicity. You can go for a full-on 1950s modern space or just hint towards the trend with the addition of a chair, sideboard or accessories. The streamlined silhouettes, neutral wooden frames and classic designs allow the style to work seamlessly alongside other trends. You can easily add one or two pieces to your room without having to completely rethink the entire space. The design process considers function of as much importance as form, meaning that these are items that are useful but also look great, creating instant appeal.’ Think sleek, wooden furniture with angled legs, graphic-print rugs and statement lighting and you will be capturing the essence of this look in your own home.
Below Left This vibrant mustard yellow velvet fabric breathes new life into a mid-century inspired chair. The Calvin armchair is £399, from Atkin & Thyme
Above Right For a working space that oozes style, the Adler Antibes desk, £1,495 from Jonathan Adler, is a winner. Also shown is the Amsterdam armchair, £595, and Reform table lamp, £2,495
Q & A with Victoria Atkin, co-founder of Atkin & Thyme
Why is mid-century design such a trend in interiors now?
Harking up the allure of Palm Springs at its heyday and Mad Men-style interior design, the scheme boasts of opulence and escapism, and its versatile, elegant forms offer something that will fit into any home and instantly add a touch of glamour.
How can this style be incorporated into bedrooms?
It is best introduced through well-chosen furniture, featuring elegant legs and a beautifully chic, Scandi silhouette. You can add it simply, with a pair of bedside tables; subtly, with an accent chair placed in the corner of the room, or you can completely transform the décor with an eclectic set of mid-century inspired pieces.
What elements of furniture now are heavily influenced by the original mid-century designs?
Upholstery has continued to be influenced by this design scheme, and linen remains a hugely popular choice for sofas and armchairs. You can update this look by adding other textures, such as velvet, for a contemporary twist. Clean lines and simple shapes are also prolific in modern design, and the mid-century silhouette, such as that of our Calvin armchair, continually appears in new collections.
What is it about these designs that are so appealing and stand the test of time?
The utility of the simple, evocative scheme makes it both a stylish and practical choice for the home. A penchant for solid wood, breathable fabrics and organic shapes rooted the scheme to the natural world, and we expect its popularity will continue to grow as designers turn increasingly to nature for inspiration.
Above Fergus linen and cotton bed, £459; Portobello solid oak vintage double chest of drawers, around £700; Isis round mirror, £115, all from Maisons du Monde
Article by: Lucy Macdonald