Mid-Century Modern Furniture & Decor - Traits, Inspiration & More
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Colliers Hill News & Events

Mid-Century Modern Inspiration

Mid-Century Modern is a term coined by author Cara Greenberg in the title of her book about 1950s furniture: Mid-Century Modern: Furniture of the 1950s.  It’s now used to describe architecture, home furnishings and graphic design inspired by the work of architect Frank Lloyd Wright and several Bauhaus artists. 

The furniture created in the 50s and considered dated by the 80s, enjoyed a resurgence beginning in the mid 90s. According to Curbed collectors drove up prices of mid-century designs created by the well-known purveyors of the theme: Charles and his wife Ray Eames, George Nelson, George Nakashima, Edward Wormley, Eero Saarinen, Arne Jacobsen, Isamu Noguchi, Herman Miller, Harry Bertoia, Eileen Gray and Verner Panton.

Pricey Originals and Reproductions

A George Nelson “marshmallow sofa” once sold for an unprecedented $66,000, and is now available for $5,000. George Nelson “pretzel” armchairs have been advertised for upwards of $3,000, while a 1965 George Nakashima cabinet sold for $20,000+.

Knock-offs, or “contemporary reproductions” are everywhere, from West Elm and All Modern to Modern In Designs and Overstock.com. And if you’re after the originals, know that not everything labeled mid-century modern is authentic. So, if this style that combines crafts and fine arts, aesthetics and daily functionality appeals to you, here are a few distinctives and sources of inspiration!

Key Traits of Mid-Century Modern

Haus Architecture

Bloggers at Iris Abbey and Vintage Home Boutique point out several key characteristics of Mid-Century Modern furniture. 

  • Clean lines and simple designs. Furniture was stripped of ornamentation in favor of a sleek aesthetic with curves and smooth surfaces. In the post-war era, furniture was slimmed down and open spaces became more open, light and airy.
  • Wood with natural finishes – teak being especially popular – characterized this style, with international -– Scandinavian and Brazilian –influences.
  • Tapered legs and “floating” furniture like the boutique’s teak credenza.
  • Bold, explosive colors in fabric, graphics and artwork.
  • Quality construction for lasting ownership.

Get Inspired by MCM!

For inspiration, check out these seven living room ideas from The Spruce, or these Pinterest posts which include furnishings for every room of the house, as well as graphic designs that and individual retro pieces of furniture from secretary cabinets and built-ins to accessories like shelves, lamps, clocks, pillows and flooring.

Houzz has its own collection of images depicting what seems like a bygone vintage design aesthetic, but which enjoys popularity around the world, and HGTV offers elementary tips on integrating MCM style into your own.

Francis Amland

The gallery of 40 slides with contemporary and vintage examples of mid-century modern interior décor at Elle Décor offers a slew of examples and arrangements in mostly open floor plans – characteristic of the architecture of the age. You’ll see lots of space, windows, indoor/outdoor integration with iconic furnishings that you’ll swear you’ve seen in an old Rock Hudson/Doris Day movie, or an episode of Mad Men!

Life in Colliers Hill

The brand new homes in the master-planned community of Colliers Hill are built by some of Colorado’s top builder-craftspeople. This fast-growing Erie community features amazing amenities, plus design-conscious floor plans from Richmond American Homes, KB Home and Boulder Creek. You can stop by for an in-person tour of ranch or two-story models — priced from the $500s.