There are some trends that just never die. Mid-century modern design is an architectural design and décor approach with enduring appeal. Loved by many, its sleek, chic, and functional style is incredibly popular in Fairfax county kitchens.
As it happens, mid-century modern has a long and storied history. For brevity, we’ll summarize decades of social, economic, and industrial advancement in a few paragraphs.
The History of Bauhaus: Where It All Began
Mid-century design is generally inspired by styles made popular in the 1930s to 1960s, taking its lead from the Bauhaus movement. Bauhaus emerged in the mid-1910s. Pioneered by German architect Walter Gropius, Bauhaus eschewed the luxury of the past in favor of modernity and minimalism. At the time, it was considered a collision between modernism and the Arts and Crafts movement.
Following two world wars that decimated global economies, production methods changed significantly. Populations were growing, and there was a mounting demand for homes and the furnishings to fill them. The Bauhaus revolution adapted industrial production techniques to generate décor that was primarily functional but also stylish.
Perhaps the most important principle of Bauhaus was that ‘form follows function,’ meaning that the design of an item should represent what it was meant to do. The practicality of the thing came first, and its design was a function of its purpose. Together, the two elements gave rise to the design style we know as mid-century.
Getting The Mid-Century Look
If you love mid-century design, you might be wondering how you can get it and if it will look great in your home.
This is where the ‘modern’ part comes in. Mid-century modern design is inspired by Bauhaus, but it does not recreate it. This gives you a lot of leeway to introduce vintage influence with 21st-century flair, allowing your space to evoke the past without becoming overwhelmed by it.
Here are a few basic rules to get the mid-century modern look in your very own home:
Keep It Simple
Mid-century design favors clean lines, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they have to be straight. Whether straight or curved, just make sure your lines are unornamented and smooth. Simpler is better when it comes to mid-century modern design!
Less is more with Bauhaus design, but we think that rule is open to interpretation. Minimalism is typically characterized by austerity and sparseness. Mid-century modern kitchen design tends to be minimally furnished and not overstuffed, which means choosing décor pieces judiciously.
Minimalism, in this case, just means your home should have lots of space to accommodate flow. Choose a focal point and stick with it. Don’t clutter your space; let your décor make a statement that will stand on its own!
Don’t Be Afraid To Mix It Up
Just because minimalism is a guiding principle doesn’t mean that your selections have to be boring. Choose textiles and colors that complement each other rather than ones that fight to be noticed. You don’t have to use the same material on every piece of furniture to look cohesive.
Neutral or “Notice Me”
Minimalism typically encourages a subtler color palette, which is how many people end up with minimal looks that are mostly beige or white. And while beige and white are great in their own right, they’re not for everyone. Don’t be afraid to play around with color. It’s easy to turn up the dial on neutrals by adding a bold hue to the mix. Mid-century modern design is well-known for its interplay of crazy colors and patterns. The true key to minimalism lies in how you accessorize.
Now that we know the rules, here are some examples of how to use them!
- Simple, streamlined cabinets with flat fronts or shaker-style doors. These designs are stylish while still evoking the mid-century feel.
- Play with paint. Your cabinets will pop with a splash of paint in any color, from pastels to deep, saturated hues. If you’re concerned about overwhelming your space, try painting just the bottom cabinets.
- A funky light fixture—or fixtures—can make all the difference. Something geometric or industrial-inspired will draw the eye.
- Patterned tile is another excellent way to kick up the mid-century vibe. Even if everything else is sleek and subtle, patterned tile creates a beautiful surprise.
- Colored accents can make any space pop. Against an otherwise neutral palette, you can easily switch up accent pieces and colors whenever you’re inspired to do so.