While the terms 'antique' and 'vintage' are often used interchangeably, generally speaking, 'vintage' refers to furniture that is less than 100 years old and 'antique' refers to pieces that are over 100 years old. That being the case, vintage furniture covers everything from Art Deco, to Hollywood Regency to the Eighties to today's most popular vintage style - Mid-Century Modern.
It seems we have become a nation obsessed with MCM culture, in all of its forms. Be it Mad Men, crooners, cocktails, fashion or furniture, we can't seem to get enough. And while I'm going to leave the psychological, social and economic theories behind this fifties/sixties affinity to the experts, I would like to focus on the three reasons why I believe why mid-century modern furniture works so well for us today:
Reason 1: Proportion
Simply put, MCM furniture is scaled much smaller than much of the furniture made today. It's lower and more in proportion with the human body. (This is not surprising given the emphasis placed on ergonomics and organic form at the time of its design.) It's this intimate scale that makes MCM furniture appealing to many people and so coveted by those living in small spaces.
Reason 2: Versatility
Mid-century modern designs are the consummate mix-masters. Their clean lines allow them to blend seamlessly with other styles and finishes to create the personal, eclectic looks favored by many today.
Reason 3: Warmth
People often say that they find 'modern' style to be too cold, too impersonal. And contemporary modern pieces can be just that, especially when used en masse. MCM furniture, on the other hand, is often made of wood – wood that is celebrated for its grain, its burls and its honest, straightforward nature. With mid-century pieces, you get the clean lines of contemporary modern furniture, but with a material character that lends it a warmer, more personal feel.
Because of its current popularity, it can be easy to find mid-century modern furniture in a variety of styles and price ranges. 1st Dibs is usually way out of my league financially, but I do love to peruse it's pages for sheer inspiration. Here, you're able to get a peek at the true breadth and depth of a style. You'll find pieces from all over the world, and of the highest quality craftsmanship. (I love catching a glimpse of how designs were being interpreted in different countries at during the same time period!) It can also be a really good resource for judging the perceived value of pieces you might find at bargain prices elsewhere, such as your local vintage shop, craiglist, ebay and etsy.
There are many different pieces of furniture to be found in the mid-century modern style. Below is a snapshot of some the options available in credenzas and dressers, specifically:
1. Danish Modern Credenza, 1st Dibs $5600
2. Three Door Walnut Credenza, 1st Dibs $3700
3. Vintage 1960s Tiki Rattan Cabinet Credenza, Etsy $150
4. Sideboard by Edmund Spence, 1st Dibs $7200
5. Petite Danish Modern Credenza, Craigslist $975
6. Brazilian Credenza with Solid Rosewood Legs and Granite Top, 1st Dibs $7500
7. Vintage Mid Century Modern Credenza, Craigslist $595
8. Large Italian Buffet Bar Credenza, 1st Dibs $6700
9. Mid Century Modern Credenza Dresser Atomic Solid Wood, Craigslist $500
10. Swedish Mid-Century Teak and White Lacquer Credenza, 1st Dibs $4800
11. Vintage Solid Cherry Chest of Drawers, Hello Home $625
12. Danish Modern Mid Century Credenza in Walnut, MidCentury Mobler $1500
13. Mid Century Modern Walnut Dresser Sculptural Eames Era, Etsy $750
14. Mid Century Nine Drawer Triple Dresser in Walnut with Rosewood Pulls, MidCentury Mobler $675
15. Danish Mid Century Modern Credenzas - 12000 Sq. Foot Warehouse, MidCentury LA $1100-2200
What are your thoughts on the current mid-century modern trend? Love it? Hate it? Over it? Do you have a favorite style within the style?
Images: as linked above