The mid-century modern movement’s impact on design reaches far and wide. Whether it’s graphic design, architecture, interior design, product development or elsewhere, we see traces of its influence in countless aspects of everyday life today. Mid-century modern homes are known for their signature look and stylistic appeal. Here’s a short guide to understanding the characteristics behind mid-century modern architecture.
Mid-Century Modern Design
Yes, mid-century modern interior design and mid-century modern architecture are two separate things. The interior design style emphasizes clean lines and minimal decoration, the use of natural elements as accents, and a base of neutral colors for decorating. MCM interior design can exist in any type of home regardless of its architectural style, and is often a popular source of inspiration for decorators fond of vintage elements and popular mid-century furniture pieces such as credenzas, teak desks, Eames chairs, etc.
What is Mid-Century Modern Architecture?
Mid-century modern architecture is the exterior counterpart of its interior design branch. Fueled by a massive need for suburban homes throughout the Unites States in the post-World War II era, the stage was set for mid-century modern’s introduction to the masses. Some of the greatest minds in modern architectural history helped develop and proliferate its presence in society, including Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Frank Lloyd Wright. Though you’ll find unique variations within mid-century modern, there are certain tenets of the architectural style.
- Mid-century modern homes have flat roofs with straight lines. This clean geometric approach in roof design is part of a larger philosophical ideal that these homes should blend in with their outdoor environments, thereby working in harmony with nature.
- Glass is used heavily, and floor-to-ceiling windows are a common feature, especially in the living room.
- The minimalist approach to exterior design is showcased in the easy access to outdoor spaces and the fact that mid-century modern homes are often one-story buildings.
- The open spaces created by this architectural style allow for intentional decorating and the use of color splashes to bring energy into them. Mid-century modern interiors often incorporate vibrant, warm colors on top of a calmer, neutral foundation.
For more information on home design, read our guide to industrial design:
What is Industrial Design?