Here's How to Avoid Mid-Century Modern Burnout (So Your Investments Never Look Dated)

Here's How to Avoid Mid-Century Modern Burnout (So Your Investments Never Look Dated)

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Nancy Mitchell
Mar 18, 2017
(Image credit: MyDomaine)

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about the enduring popularity of mid-century modern furniture. It's a style that's dominated interior design for many, many years now, and I don't see it going anywhere anytime soon. The big shift, I think, in the way people approach this style is that instead of filling entire rooms with midcentury furniture, for a kitschy "Mad Men" look, decorators are starting to mix it in with pieces from other eras, for a more eclectic feel.

In a comment on the aforemention article, reader fnasc wanted suggestions for ways to mix mid-century with other styles. We can do that! — I thought. So here, by request, is a trove of inspiration for mixing mid-century modern with all kinds of pieces in all kinds of interiors.

Above: This living room from My Domaine is proof of the versatility of mid-century pieces. The couch, the chair, and the rug are all quite traditional, while the bookcase on the left looks like it could have come from Wal-Mart. The Bertoia-style wire chair and two chrome X stools fit neatly into this mix, for a look that's interesting and textured and not time capsule-y at all.

(Image credit: My Scandinavian Home)

From My Scandinavian Home, here's another interior with mostly traditional pieces, where a touch of mid-century, far from seeming out of place, actually lightens and enlivens the space.

(Image credit: Femina)

This space from Femina is the opposite of the one above — a mostly modern interior with a few traditional pieces. The antique table and china cabinet add texture and warmth to the space, and give it a timeless feel rather than a strictly retro one.

(Image credit: Home Stories)

There's a lot going on in this interior from Home Stories, but if you look closely you can pick out the mid-century pieces — the chair in the foreground and the Saarinen tulip table — that fit quite seamlessly into this mix of antiques. The tulip table is a particularly versatile piece. I've seen it in all kinds of interiors in all kinds of styles, and it never looks out of place.

(Image credit: Elle Decoration)

Traditional dining table + modern chairs is a look we've seen here a few times — another fun mix to try is traditional desk + modern chair. Interior from Elle Decoration.

(Image credit: Design*Sponge)

Another antique dining table paired with mid-century chairs, from Design*Sponge. The solidity and rustic finish of the table are a lovely contrast to the airy modernity of the chairs.

(Image credit: MyDomaine)

An antique desk paired with a Cherner chair, from My Domaine. Cherner chairs are another chameleon-like piece that seems to look good in just about any interior.

(Image credit: SF Girl by Bay)

A mid-century cabinet and rocker come together with a modern sofa (and that great bird chandelier) in a Parisian interior from SF Girl by Bay.

(Image credit: Vogue)

From Vogue, another example of the traditional table + modern chairs combo, this time with Saarinen Tulip chairs.

(Image credit: Nuevo Estilo)

A Noguchi coffee table feels right at home in this interior from Nuevo Estilo. The warm wood of its base is a nice fit for the colors and textures in the rest of the room, and its sculptural quality lends a certain airiness to the space.

(Image credit: Keltainen Talo Rannalla)

In this interior from Keltainen Talo Rannalla, the Florence Knoll sofa, a piece that normally seems very modern, and even formal, gets cozied up with throw pillows and blankets.

(Image credit: Lily)

From Lily comes this space that's neatly balanced between traditional and modern: modern chairs and coffee table, traditional rug and armoire. Although the armoire and coffee table are from very different eras, the similarity in wood tones gives them a relationship to each other.

(Image credit: Style by Emily Henderson)

A couple of mid-century chairs liven up a living room from Style by Emily Henderson. Look for pieces that balance others — in this case, the lightness of the chairs is the perfect contrast to the solidity of the coffee table and couch.

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