A Guide to Mid-Century Furniture: What it is and how to style it

A Guide to Mid-Century Furniture: What it is and how to style it

We love Mid-Century, retro-inspired furniture here at Rose & Grey. Our 366 chairs are perfect for adding a retro touch to your home, while fitting in perfectly with more contemporary pieces. Although the Mid-Century Modern aesthetic comes in and out of fashion, this is not a fleeting fad. This furniture is designed to stand the test of time and will be a focal point in your home for years to come. Read on to discover more about Mid-Century furniture and our top tips for how to style it in your home.

Jozef chair

What is Mid-Century furniture?

‘Mid-Century modern furniture’ generally refers to designs which were made between the mid-1920s and mid-1960s, although the movement really took off post-war. The movement was a stark contrast to the more ornate furniture of the past, as families were keen to embrace a more modern way of living. Nowadays, the term is used to describe the aesthetic of this time, as well as for referencing classic designs from the era, such as Josef Chierowski’s 366 chairs.

The general characteristics of Mid-Century design are the use of warm woods, clean lines and simple silhouettes. High quality, durable wood such as oak, teak, rosewood and walnut were favoured. Practicality and style go hand in hand, with functionality just as considered as great design. These are pieces of furniture that look great in your home but are made to last.

Mid-Century pieces are perfect for contemporary homes for many reasons. Whether you’re buying original vintage pieces or modern replicas, the sleek lines and practicalities of these designs make them work well in small living spaces. They also tend to complement many different styles of décor. You can pair a wooden-framed chair and antique G-Plan sideboard with a squishy sofa and more modern furnishings and accessories for a well-curated, eclectic look.

Yellow rocking chair

How to Style Mid-Century furniture in your home

Mid-Century modern furniture is easy to add into your home, as it so easily complements your existing décor. Below, our stylist has outlined four ways for you to incorporate a Mid-Century piece, such as a H.Lis Fox rocking chair or vintage shelving unit into your home.

Mix with contemporary pieces

Try mixing retro-inspired designs with contemporary pieces and actual antiques for a more balanced look. You don’t want your home to feel like a stuffy museum exhibit, but you also want to avoid everything looking brand new. Choose one or two Mid-Century pieces for your room, like a 366 chair and vintage sideboard, and style these alongside some more contemporary pieces such as our Chorlton sofa and a modern coffee table. You can then play around with lighting and accessories to add personality, styling new items with vintage finds.

Avoid replicas

Look for reissues such as our 366 chairs, or search for original pieces online and at antique fairs. Try to avoid cheap replicas of popular Mid-Century styles. Our 366 chairs are a design classic from the 1960’s – they are being remade today with the same design in a choice of bold and neutral fabrics and colours. A chance to own a piece of design history but with a fun update with our selection of bold upholstery fabrics.

White rocking chair

Add a modern twist

Mid-Century furniture looks great styled with modern accessories. You don’t need to fill your Ladderax shelves with vases and accessories of the same era, you can create a more contemporary look by mixing one or two vintage pieces with new vases and perhaps a few items made by local or small makers. I love to add a couple of pieces of West German pottery to reference the design era of a piece of furniture, but then style with twisted candles, a fun plant pot and a bold lamp.

Add bold colour

Bold flashes of red, green, blue and yellow were popular in Mid-Century design. Reference this bright colour palette by pairing your Mid-Century modern furniture with colourful items. An antique teak sideboard looks great placed against a sage green wall, our 366 chairs are available in a wide selection of bright fabrics, and a colourful sofa will instantly make vintage furniture feel more modern.

Mid-century furniture guide

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