Mid Century Modern is a style that has been around almost 100 years and is always evolving with a "modern feel" to today's modern decor trends
Today, more than ever, the mid century modern look is everywhere. DVRs are set to capture Mad Men's final season playing out on AMC. Flip through the April issue of Elle Décor, and you'll find that more than half of the featured homes prominently include mid century furniture pieces.
Turn on The Daily Show and you'll see the guests sitting in classic Knoll office chairs. If you dine in a contemporary restaurant tonight, there's a good chance you'll be seated in a chair that was designed in the 1950s—whether it is an Eames, Bertoia, Cherner, or Saarinen. A few years back, you could stamp your mail with an Eames Postage Stamp.
Meanwhile, type the words "mid century" and "modern" into any furniture retailer's search pane, and you'll likely come up with dozens of pieces labeled with these design-world buzzwords—despite the fact that there is nothing "midcentury" about the items they describe. Over the past two decades, a term describing a specific period of design has become the marketing descriptor du jour.
"Mid century modern" itself is a difficult term to define. It broadly describes architecture, furniture, and graphic design from the middle of the 20th century (roughly 1933 to 1965, though some would argue the period is specifically limited to 1947 to 1957). The timeframe is a modifier for the larger modernist movement, which has roots in the Industrial Revolution at the end of the 19th century and also in the post-World War I period.
Will Mid Century Modern ever go away?
At this point, we don't believe it will go away but only evolve like it has over the past 85 years. Modsy, an online interior design service that lets you virtually “try on” your furniture before purchasing, MCM is still their customers top-ranked style, but the brand has noticing the aforementioned shift towards a version of the style that’s more organic and collected. “We’re seeing a softer, earthier side of the MCM look come out to play with bohemian, collected elements and organic shapes and forms,” says Alessandra Wood, VP of Style at Modsy. “It feels more eclectic because people are mixing in worldly patterns, pops of colors, natural colors and lots of plants.
So where does that leave us, then? Mid-century modern seems to be sticking around, but it looks a little softer and less minimal. We’re now in the era of “Mid-Century Boho,” if you want a new term for it. So don’t sell your Eames chairs yet—just throw a sheepskin over the backs of each of them and add a bunch of houseplants to your bookshelves. If you think you’re seeing less and less of MCM on Instagram and in magazines, look a little closer. It’s still there—it’s just getting a little more chill.