Chat with us, powered by LiveChat

Get The Look: A Contemporary Take On Mid-Century Modern

Midcentury modern interiors are generally characterized by big, open windows and a whole lot of wood. The goal of the style – at least when it comes to the architecture – is to create more organic indoor spaces that integrate natural materials (and even the outdoor landscape) into the home. Over the years, this timeless look has gained a more contemporary twist, with the same wide-open floor plans, but a more streamlined, minimalist feel and a subtly more industrial aesthetic. This style is often dubbed “organic modern,” and this living room by thirdstone inc. is a great example of how to pull off the look.

Midcentury modern design has always been forward-looking and futuristic, so it doesn't take much to give the look a sleek contemporary feel (by thirdstone inc.)
Midcentury modern design has always been forward-looking and futuristic, so it doesn’t take much to give the look a sleek contemporary feel (by thirdstone inc.)

Get the Look: The simplest way to get a mid-century modern style that leans a little more contemporary is to opt for midcentury style furniture that has metal accents rather than wood ones, and is upholstered with leather rather than a textile fabric, like this Fortress Sofa, and matching Pavillion Accent Chairs and Ottomans. A chrome Arc Lamp will add a nice, space-age feel to the room, while a Ventless Fireplace puts a modern twist on a traditional, cozy log fire for that subtle organic touch.

Architecturally, midcentury modern and modern organic styles are very similar, with a focus on barrier-free spaces with large picture windows, but rather than visible planks or noticeable wood grain on the floor or wall panels, you want smoother, sleeker wood surfaces – unbroken sheets that feel a little more polished and less rustic. Similarly, instead of wood floors, you want something a little more industrial, like poured concrete or something like this glossy gray laminate flooring. While midcentury modern style homes hearken back to an American Craftsman style that’s very homey and just slightly rugged, a modern organic home should have lots of natural elements, but all in a more refined, processed form. To keep the inviting, natural feel, you want to make sure the space gets lots and lots of natural light (and that the colors you use are light enough to help catch it), and maybe add in a few live plants, especially if those big picture windows have an urban rather than a rural view.

The exact balance you want to strike between natural and industrial, or between midcentury and contemporary, is of course up to you. Lighter wood tones and more organic textiles will create an airier, more natural feel, while darker woods, high gloss surfaces, metal, and leather will play up the sleek, contemporary aspect of the style. But the biggest distinction between the two styles is that organic modern spaces are simple and uncluttered, without a lot of excess decoration or many accents. Midcentury designs tend toward accumulating knick-knacks, art pieces, and decorative lighting, but a modern organic style lets the seamless wood surfaces speak for themselves and act as the stars of the space.

Shop Sofas and Sectionals: