The midcentury modern design was first coined by Cara Greenburg in her book Mid-Century Modern: Furniture of the 1950s. The style used to be known as “California modern style” and was wildly famous after the Second World War. Perhaps because of the experiences and condition people lived through after the war, midcentury modern design placed great emphasis on simplicity, form, and function.
These days, modern design is almost synonymous to a minimalistic style. Less is more, and neutral colors and clean straight lines dominate the design theme. Midcentury modern homes have several essential design elements.
Neutral Color Palette
After the war, there was nothing more than people wanted than peace. And this desire was reflected in the colors they used in the midcentury modern design. They chose colors that made one feel clean and calm, such as beige, cream, off-white, and taupe.
Bright colors were sparsely used and usually only on small decoration pieces as an accent. They would use one or two potted plants or a vase of lifelike silk flowers to add a dash of color to a neutral palette.
Oftentimes, high-contrast colors, like black and white, are paired together in a recent modern-styled home. White walls, black furniture, and hardwood floors are common themes in today’s modern homes.
Less is more in midcentury modern design. This is clearly seen in choosing the furniture. Clean straight lines are a must, so tables, cabinets, shelves, and other furniture pieces are usually rectangular or square.
The colors are also uniform, either black, white, metallic, gray, taupe, or deep brown. Most of the furniture is simple, but there’s usually a statement or classic element, like Eames dining chairs, Eero Saarinen tulip chairs, or a Cult Living Swan lounge chair.
The walls are also typically high and plain—no wainscoting or chair rail. The same goes for the ceiling. As for the decor, minimalism is key. Most rooms only have the essentials, and they mostly incorporate the decoration with functional accessories, like mirrors, clocks, and lamps.
Midcentury modern homes feature open, breathable spaces, so there are usually no walls or boundaries to separate common rooms, like the living room, the dining area, and the kitchen.
Glass also features heavily in modern homes to create seamless, expansive places. Instead of wooden balustrades, glass dividers with stainless steel handrails are often used in stairs. Glass doors and floor-to-ceiling window designs are essential for the open modern design.
Bright and Modern Lighting
This period’s style puts great emphasis on lighting as part of the form and function theme. And although the general design is simple, midcentury modern style plays with different types of lighting to achieve a clean and calming vibe.
Floor lamps are used abundantly in modern homes to light dark corners and to decorate the room. Round or curved pendant lights are also used to add softness and shape to the clean straight line and sharp rectangles and squares in modern homes.
To add brightness and to emphasize the sleek design of midcentury modern style, other lighting types are also installed, including recessed lighting, under-cabinet lighting, and track lighting.
Efficient Fixtures and Appliances
Every modern home needs efficient fixtures and appliances to combine form and function. Energy- and water-efficient fixtures and appliances perform superbly and use high-quality materials while cutting down on energy and water use. Homeowners get the benefit of better fixtures and appliances and save money at the same time.
As part of increasing efficiency in the modern home, consider installing a heavy-duty grinder pump to manage and smoothly direct the flow of wastewater from all bathroom fixtures (e.g., shower, faucet, toilet, and bathtub) to the sewage system or septic tank.
Modern design is attached to both simplicity and efficiency. The style uses unobtrusive, clean, and calm designs while emphasizing the function of each element.
While it’s not part of the design, an automation system is a must-have for the new modern home. This type of technology allows homeowners to control the temperature, lighting, and security of their homes using a single device.
Homeowners can monitor their house through a CCTV camera with their smart device even when they’re far away from home. They can also lock their automated gates, turn lights on and off, and control the air-conditioning unit or heater using the controlling device.
Automation perfectly captures the essence of form and function and brings modern living into the next level.
Simplicity is key when it comes to modern design. Colors have to be neutral and not too eye-catching to keep the look clean and calming. Clean lines, rectangles, and squares dominate the design theme to create order and harmony in the design. The accessories and decorations used are minimal, and most pieces are there for a reason.