Mid-Century Modern Revival

Maybe it’s all that time spent watching Mad Men, or maybe it was just inevitable. Either way, I’ve finally started warming up to mid-century modernism. 

Sutter Buttes/John DiDomenico Photography

I was raised by parents obsessed with old, lived-in, one-of-a-kind houses. To them, ranch houses of the 50s and 60s represented everything they wanted to get away from – suburban sprawl, cookie-cutter sameness and disregard for the past. 

For years, I followed in their footsteps, drawing the line at art deco and shunning everything that came after as “new.” That is, until I realized two things. One – this stuff was popular more than 50 years ago and therefore is actually “old.” And two – that my house is not a period movie set and there’s nothing wrong with a little mixing and matching of eras. 

Ranch home near my neighborhood

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to rush out and outfit my home in full-on atomic age fashion. My heart still belongs to Craftsmans and Queen Annes. But I’m a lot more open to the era since realizing a lot of the features I love about bungalow style – like clean lines, stained wood and bold patterns – can also be found in mid-century modern pieces. 

Here’s a quick rundown of some transitional pieces that appeal to my newfound respect for all things Jetson-esque. 

Leave it up to Urban Outfitters to offer funky yet simple retro decor at affordable prices. 

Urban Outfitters

Urban Outfitters

Urban Outfitters

Wouldn’t this chair look as at-home in a 1900 Craftsman as in someone’s Palm Springs patio? 

Crate & Barrel

In my mind, vinyl and mod go together like peanut butter and banana. You don’t even need a record player for this guy. The photo doesn’t really do it justice, but I have one of these bowls by chicalookate and, trust me, they look cool in real life – and they’re awesome for storing your sunglasses, keys, remotes, etc. 


Groovy patterns and tiki style get a modern makeover at Bradbury & Bradbury

Bradbury & Bradbury - Wonderwall paper

Bradbury & Bradbury - Island wallpaper

Not sure if this qualifies as modern, but I’ve been coveting this Jonathan Adler whale pitcher since I first saw it advertised on Young House Love, my go-to site for decorating inspiration. 

Jonathan Adler

 And of course, no mid-century modern would be complete without a swingin’ Shag print. 

Shag - Relentless

For more mid-century ideas, I like the blogs Retro Renovation and Mid-Century Living, but there are literally hundreds of sites out there devoted to postwar living – just check out Retro Renovation’s blogroll. Apparently I’m a little late to the block party.



Filed under interiors, mid-century modern, retro

2 responses to “Mid-Century Modern Revival

  1. I agree! In fact my significant other is totally into mid-century modern. My next gift for him — George Nelson’s clock (or probably a knock off, LOL). THe clean lines work well with the kind of cleancut country I like. I’m not into the museum look for ANY period!!

  2. Nadia

    I am totally diggin’ the chair from C&B…:)

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