Why Midcentury Modern Design Is Still So Popular

Photo courtesy of Herman Miller.

Photo courtesy of Herman Miller.

Design elements are often fleeting, with certain styles rising in popularity for a few years only to eventually be replaced by others. One that has risen significantly in popularity over the last few years and will likely continue to do so is midcentury modern. This look is everywhere today, from TV shows like Mad Men to the latest furniture offerings in your favorite catalogs. Even contemporary restaurants are incorporating the design into their décor.

Before we take a look at what has helped make this design style so popular, it’s important to understand just what it is. Midcentury modern is a design definition that can include furniture, graphic design, and architecture. There are two general schools of thought as to the specific time period most closely associated with these designs:

• Between 1933 and 1965

• Between 1947 and 1957

Either way, the broadest definition is simply that midcentury modern design includes any designs that come from the middle of the 20th century. Today, vintage items are fetching high prices while modern designers are repurposing the designs from these time periods for their own pieces.

So just why is it so popular? After all, most of these designs vanished by the late 60s only to gradually begin returning to the public’s eye in the mid-eighties. A lot of the appeal stems from the book “Mid Century Modern: Furniture of the 1950s”, a book from Cara Greenberg. In it, she helps highlight the imagination and outright zaniness that is so apparent in many of the designs from the era.

Once the late 90s were in full effect, collectors had started to seek out vintage original pieces from the fifties – sofas sold for as much as $66,000 while basic armchairs were selling for more than $2,500 each. As companies began to take note of the interest in midcentury modern designs, they began to copy those old styles. The vintage look was something at once old and new, and features stylistic contours and designs that helped them capture the imagination of consumers.

Midcentury modern began to appear in numerous design and decorating magazines, and the style was even mentioned in the New York Times with increasing frequency. As a result, the designs were quickly ingrained in the public consciousness and today they’re more popular than they were during their original heyday.

The right decor can make a huge change in your home, and there’s a good chance that a few pieces of midcentury modern furniture could have a huge impact on your property’s vibe. It’s well worth looking into further.


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