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What is Mid-Century Modern Style? Here’s Everything You Need to Know

  • October 30, 2023

A quick lesson on mid-century modern style, including its advent, evolution, and defining traits.

<p>Scott Van Dyke/Getty Images</p>

Scott Van Dyke/Getty Images

At first glance, a mid-century modern home or building may seem fairly straightforward with its simple lines and low profile. Look closer, though, and you’ll quickly see that this style has a way of seamlessly connecting to nature and infusing playful touches throughout. There’s also great appeal in its timelessness, versatility, and strong functionality.

“Mid-century modern’s minimal look and clean lines allow for the design to transcend time,” says interior designer Adriana Hoyos. “It also allows for the design, whether it’s a building, an interior design concept or a furniture piece, to blend well in different places and with different personalities.”

Below, we’re offering a quick history lesson on mid-century modern design and architecture, how it’s changed over the years, and what characteristics set it apart from other types of design.

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History & Evolution of Mid-Century Modern Style

Perhaps one of the most interesting facts about mid-century modern architecture and design is that it didn’t truly originate in the “mid-century.” The style actually dates back to Germany’s Bauhaus era, which was founded by architect Walter Gropius in the late 1910s.

This newfangled “modern style” emerging from Germany slowly began catching on. Scandinavian designers helped catapult it to greater fame in the ‘30s and ‘40s, and by the time the true mid-century hit it was wildly popular across the world.

“Both mid-century modern architecture and interior design became popular during the mid-20th century,” says Hoyos. “They share similar aesthetic goals and traits, characterized by minimalistic designs, and a focus on functionality. They both also emphasize the use of natural materials like wood and an integration with the surrounding environment.”

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