Image Source | Meridiani
As the saying goes, what’s old is new again - and that’s definitely the case when it comes to mid-century furniture. From bold colours to mixing fabric types, mid-century furniture is still a popular staple today. Whether you’re looking for new pieces for your home, or need some inspiration on how to revamp the vintage furniture you have lying around, here’s everything you need to know about styling your mid-century furniture.
What is mid-century furniture?
Image Source | Camille Charriere
Mid-century furniture is a style of design that arose from the 1930s-1960s. Created in the aftermath of World War II, mid-century design is all about functionality and form, with sleek lines and simplicity at the forefront. Common features of mid-century furniture include:
Simple, sleek lines and the use of geometric shapes
Bold colours paired with blacks and whites
Mixing and matching different materials like plastic, leather, fabric, metal and timber
Nowadays, mid-century design can refer to vintage pieces from the period itself, or modern pieces created in mid-century style - the options are endless! So, let’s take a look at some style options…
Up-cycling and repurposing
Image Source | Icon By Design
While I love seeing vintage pieces kept in their original condition, sometimes furniture needs a facelift, especially when it comes to wooden items. You’ve probably seen the chalk-paint craze that hit social media in the last few years, with every woman with a paintbrush taking old timber dressers and tables and painting them in an assortment of colours, often stripping back the paint for a ‘worn’ look. Taking a similar approach, a new lick of paint and some selected hardware could be all you need to turn a dusty heirloom into a bespoke mid-century piece.
Image Source | Elizabeth Dot Design
I personally LOVE this sideboard from Elizabeth Dot Design. The fresh coat of pink paint is feminine but sophisticated, and is the perfect shade to seem both neutral and colourful at the same time - remember that juxtaposition is a hallmark of mid-century design, so colour choice is really important. Next, the tapered legs are another mid-century staple, and very a-la-50s. This is a really great way to turn any piece of furniture into a mid-century piece - simply take off any exisiting feet and screw on a new tapered pair! Finally, the gold handles on the drawers is what really makes this look. The diamond shape is perfect for mid-century style, and makes that final mix of materials (raw timber, painted timber and metal) shine.
Book nooks are in
Image Source | Rose Uniacke
Have you ever watched a show set in the 1950s and noticed the man’s study? Stylish bookshelves, a power desk and, of course, a brass lamp, are the standout features of any husband’s business retreat. While we might not all have a full room set aside for our books (just me?), book nooks are definitely in vogue, and definitely not just for the husbands anymore - hello, boss babe retreat!
For me, book nooks are the perfect mid-century set up because they encapsulate the functionality that the period was all about. Turn your regular book-corner into a mid-century space by carefully arranging any picture frames in a linear fashion, and then adding a metal lamp - naked bulbs or simple shades are the best choice here, and overhanging styles are a must!
Image Source | Woodies Rustic Workshop
The final piece of the puzzle for your book retreat? The perfect chair. From linen wingbacks to leather ball chairs, there’s so many options when it comes to single-seater book nook seats. My personal favourite is an Eames Lounge Chair with a matching Ottoman. The Eames Lounge and Ottoman was designed in 1956 by the husband and wife design power couple, Charles and Ray Eames. Thanks to its comfort, functionality and timeless aesthetic, 60 years later it remains the epitome of mid-century sophistication.
Image Source | Pinterest
While we’re talking about chairs, check out this beauty! If you’re lucky to snag one of these vintage chairs, it will likely need some upholstery TLC. If so, don’t be afraid to play with pattern. Like the Eames Lounge and Ottoman above reupholstered in plaid, its form is strong enough to handle most anything you throw at it. Pair it with neutral tones like natural timber and a cream rug, and the whole space is elevated to a super chic oasis.
Image Source: Consort | Photography: Reid Rolls
The other thing when it comes to your furnishings is to not be afraid of unconventional or ‘outdated’ fabric options for your sofas and armchairs. From suede to velvet, corduroy to linen, there’s no end of materials that you can explore for your living room or sitting area. Remember too, that colours are in, so if you have your eye on a plum or pumpkin coloured couch, go for it!
Are you a fan of mid-century furniture? Let me know your favourite style choices below and any pieces you have in your home!
Krista Collard Interiors is a full service design-build firm focusing on creating timeless spaces that honour sustainability and functionality across the Greater Sydney area.
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