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.
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.
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.
Wouldn’t this chair look as at-home in a 1900 Craftsman as in someone’s Palm Springs patio?
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.
And of course, no mid-century modern would be complete without a swingin’ Shag print.
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.