Particularly celebrated for its American designs, which were closely related to the Bauhaus and International design movements, mid-century modern style dominated the design and architecture scene in the 1950s, and is referenced right from the 30s through to the 60s. Organic clean lines and light open spaces made possible by new building technologies and materials are typical of this style. Here, we’ll explore some of the key elements of mid-century modern style.

Frank Sinatra House

Frank Sinatra House (1946) was designed by E. Stewart Williams and is the epitome of mid-century modern luxury living, full of poolside glamour. Check out the lengths of glazing giving uninterrupted views of the pool, connecting the inside with the outside. The main space is low level and open plan to capture maximum light and space:

Organic lines

Mid-century furniture is full of elegant organic lines in either woods or moulded plastics. Arne Jacobsen’s Egg Chair is a perfect example. and is still sought after today by designers wishing to add a sophisticated touch to a modern interior:

egg chairPhoto by designmilk on flickr [CC BY-SA 2.0]

Classic colors, natural materials

Interior wall claddings such as stone and wood mixed with splashes of color in mustards, browns, oranges, and turquoises on a neutral base color are typical of this style. This modern take on mid-century is a great example:

Sculptural lighting

Lighting really got exciting during this period, when some of the most timeless design pieces were created. Poul Henningsen’s PH Lamp and its later variations are typical examples of amazing lit sculptural forms that can give a plain interior a magical touch:

mid century lampPH-Lampan 2, by Holger.Ellgaard, from Wikimedia Commons [CC BY-SA 4.0]


Interiors designed in this style are perfect for relaxation. The emphasis is on spaces that invite socializing and lounging. With this in mind, a must for every mid-century interior is a perfectly placed period bar cabinet like this one:

What is Mid-Century Modern Style? was last modified: December 3rd, 2019 by Lucy Attwood