A Brief History of Mid-Century Modern Design

October 12, 2020

America in the 1950’s was recovering from the Second World War and was a time of celebration. Teenage girls in poodle skirts were dancing the jitterbug and Elvis Presley was playing from the jukebox. Going to a drive-in movie was the choice for date nights. The Barbie doll and hula hoop were all the rage. With the onset of the middle class, Americans were moving to the newly created suburbs in large numbers. The American dream was suddenly defined by owning a car and a house. Families furnished their homes with the latest electrical appliance and decorated in a mid-century modern style. 

Palm Springs, California was the hotbed of mid-century modern design. A two hour drive from Los Angeles, Palm Springs was the perfect oasis and getaway to unwind and escape from the movie business. A favorite destination of Hollywood stars such as Bob Hope, Elizabeth Taylor and Walt Disney, many celebrities built homes in the desert and hosted pool parties with martinis in hand. The dry desert air and wide expanse of land made Palm Springs the A-list’s second home of choice.

But mid-century modern was about more than Hollywood glamour.

Mid-century modern design became synonymous with a lifestyle centered around the family and home. “Open-ness” was the buzzword. Floor plans were drawn with unobstructed sightlines. Larger windows, glass walls and glass sliding doors emphasized the need for natural light and bringing the outside, in.  Design was sleek, incorporating mixed materials such as glass and steel in geometric and organic forms. Vinyl was introduced as a performance fabric and used as an indoor-outdoor alternative.

Textile pattern designs ranged from plain weave or sumptuous wool boucle textures to mid-scale geometric graphics and plaids. Most often, sofas and chairs were upholstered with a luxurious plain, texture fabric and geometrics were used as accents or for wallpaper.

Mid-century modern continues to influence interior design. 

To this day, sought after homes are following this trend of an open floor plan with the addition of a kitchen island for family and friends to gather around. Mid-century modern design has withstood time and continues to be in fashion for residential homes today.

Taking inspiration from the classic plaids, geometric and organic shapes popular at that time, we’ve created our own collection. Bring a mid-century modern vibe into your home on a pillow or duvet and pour yourself a martini!

This blog post was written by Rosemarie De Asis.