The Mid-Century Modern design style (also known as MidMod and MCM) is a significant design movement from the mid 20th century characterized by minimal sleek lines, mixing of organic & geometric shapes, surprising uses of materials, and dramatic textures. Mid-Century Modern interior designs embrace the ideology of simple luxury and state-of-the-art design focusing on functionality that enhances comfort or adds convenience in a simplistic manner.
The History of Mid-Century Modern Style
From the end of WWII through 1960s, it was a booming time for America. From the vastly growing population to the booming economy to the major advancements in technology and expansion of interstates and highway systems, the real estate market hit new heights. Many young families were purchasing their first homes and the American suburbs expanded with newly constructed houses that featured new architectural designs that reflected the optimistic outlook of the country.
Homeowners’ had new aspirations for their homes. They wanted family-oriented spaces, they tired of old fashioned design styles and wanted a fresh modern look, and they wanted to enjoy their surroundings in comfort. The great room began to emerge, family rooms became a focus, windows became larger, and conveniences became musts.
The demand to integrate new technology and scientific advancements throughout the home was a major player in the iconic look of Mid-Century design. Now that practically every home was being powered by electricity it became a necessity for homes to now have space for a television, a microwave, refrigerators, blenders, toasters, mixers, etc.. Convenience, ergonomics, and comfort were at the heart of this design revolution. This is a time when new materials emerged into the furniture market. Plexiglass, fiberboard, plywood molding, plastics, plated metal, vinyl, and more hit the scenes. The combination of these new advances in technology and the population’s desire to look toward the future gave birth to the iconic look now known as Mid-Century Modern. It wasn’t until 1984 when writer and art historian, Cara Greenberg, coined the phrase ‘Mid-Century Modern’ that the design style earned its name.
Come to today, a century later, this look is making a strong comeback!
The Mid-Century Modern Color Palette
The Mid-Century Modern color palette has morphed over the years. The classic color palette of the mid 20th century was very vibrant and warm with Orange, Mustard Yellow, Rich Browns, Olive Greens, and earthy hues. Sometimes even pinks and bright sky blues were used.
Today, some fans of retro Mid-Century Modern design are still using similar color palettes while others are choosing a more modernized Mid-Century Modern palette. Many of today’s MidMod kitchen designs feature hues that are less vibrant and more monochromatic. They still center around warm hues and rich woods, but you’ll see them contrasted by a cool gray or another neutral color. Luscious wood cabinetry is prominent over painted cabinets and typically makes a statement featuring a warm or true-brown stain. Consider Red Oak, Cherry, Rustic Hickory, or Quarter-Sawn White Oak materials. Mid-Century Modern kitchen cabinetry will commonly have an artistic contrast of color typically featuring two tones of cabinet finishes throughout the design.
Selecting Mid-Century Modern Styled Cabinetry
When deciding the styles and details for your Mid-Century Modern kitchen cabinetry, consider slab doors or modern shaker doors with a slab drawer front. Including Dura Supreme’s Integrated pulls that are recessed into the cabinet is also a sought-after look for MidMod cabinetry.
Accent doors could feature a metal insert with a geometric mesh pattern, plain glass, or sleek and modern aluminum framed door. Or add a surprising material like mirror inserts, or a vibrant splash of colorful cabinets to create a dramatic feature to the design.
Design Elements of a Mid-Century Modern Interior Design
Less is more! Mid-Century Modern is all about keeping things simple. Avoid intricate details like ornate turned posts or corbels, and keep moldings as minimal as possible. Choose design elements that have clear geometric shapes or patterns and play with organic shapes to add a surprising break to the many straight, clean lines that make up the majority of the space. Consider a geometric tile or light fixture, or naturally curvy wooden bar stools, or luscious house plant to help top off the look.
To craft the perfect Mid-Century Modern interior design, pay close attention to the shapes and style of any furnishings used in the room and adjacent spaces. Mid-Century Modern furniture is a staple to this design. Having a large traditional styled furniture piece within your mid-century modern design could throw off the whole look. Luckily, mid-century modern furniture designs are still heavily prevalent in the furniture industry and easy to find, in fact, some original MidMod furniture never stopped being manufactured.
Is Mid-Century Modern Your Interior Design Style?
To discover more inspiration for your Mid-Century Modern style kitchen or bathroom remodel, browse the gallery carousel below featuring several MidMod styled Dura Supreme Cabinetry projects.