Design Ideas > Make Room For Retro Style

Make Room For Retro Style


Dining Sets | Mid-Century Modern Marvelous | Jordan's Furniture Life&Style Blog

Mid-Century Modern Marvelous || This enduring style brings streamlined retro appeal to your space

Few design styles live up to the term “iconic” more than mid-century modern, sometimes shortened to MCM. Its signifying characteristics include simple, sleek lines with minimal ornamentation, organic shapes and curves, whimsical atomic age symbols like boomerangs, stars, constellations, and diamonds, and a mix of materials like metal with plastic. Colors such as turquoise, chartreuse, orange, pink, and red appear often – and weave in silver or gold threads if you’re talking about upholstery. From pedestal tables to leather lounge chairs, the rage for mid-century continues with many of these now classic pieces still being manufactured today. The key to getting the most from this style is to have fun blending it with contemporary or traditional styles, and because most mid-century pieces were mass produced, vintage styles are also easy to find at many different price points.

Mixing Styles | Mid-Century Modern Marvelous | Jordan's Furniture Life&Style Blog

Chairs | Mid-Century Modern Marvelous | Jordan's Furniture Life&Style Blog
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Historical Context || In general, mid-century modern style covers the period from mid-1930s to mid-1960s, though we most often associate it with the 1950s when it reached its highest popularity. During the post-WWII boom, with the increase in new suburban construction, home owners desired new furniture and décor to fill their spaces, and designers and manufacturers eagerly complied. Numerous design stars emerged, and mid-century style was embraced globally, with versions of it identified throughout European countries, Brazil, and the U.S. In addition, an entire mid-century subgenre called tiki also took hold, in conjunction with newly available trips to Hawaii. Carved wooden tiki figures, tropical drinks in tiki mugs, textured bamboo screens, woven mats, and A-frame buildings with thatched roofs exemplified the exotic look.

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Characteristics || In addition to simple lines and organic shapes, mid-century modern style is also known for open space planning, where homes happily embraced indoor-outdoor living. Depending on the architecture, horizontal windows might be used, and even entire walls of glass on iconic homes like Philip Johnson’s Glass House in New Canaan, CT. Newer materials like plastic, fiberglass, vinyl, Lucite acrylic, and aluminum were readily available, easy to work with, and cost effective. Wood was still widely popular, with walnut, teak, and various types of blond wood used frequently. In addition, textiles in abstract patterns and bright colors gave the style increased life, especially on textured bark cloth. Today, many of these looks are being updated in similar patterns on more durable fabrics like Sunbrella, which has the added benefit of being fade- and stain-resistant.

21st Century Updates || More than just embracing nostalgia, mid-century style complements many contemporary interiors beautifully. If you need to declutter or downsize, the modest size of pieces in this style won’t overwhelm your space, and will enhance the look of most contemporary artwork. As an example, a track arm sofa with button-tufted back cushions looks just as unfussy in today’s living rooms as it did during the 50s and 60s, with, arguably, more comfortable and durable upholstery. The starburst sputnik chandelier is wildly popular again, and appears today in just about every room, from living room to game room, to bedroom or bathroom. Its retro appeal is on display in new interpretations of every size and configuration, some with Edison bulbs or LED lights. How retro cool is that?

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