Mobiles Are the (Totally-Adult) Trend Worth Trying Out Right Now

published Nov 11, 2020
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When I ask you to picture a mobile, I’m guessing you imagine either a sweet symphony of sheep hanging over an infant’s crib, or an Alexander Calder masterpiece. But luckily, mobiles are no longer reserved for babies or loaded art collectors. Instead, they’re hitting the market—and the Instagrams of your favorite design influencers—in chic shapes, stylish color combos, and unique materials like brass and lucite that’ll transform these items into very modern, grown-up design accents that won’t completely break the bank.

The trick is to opt for sleek metals, cool geometric shapes, and minimal plushness. When it comes to choosing a spot for your mobile, take advantage of any airy spots your home offers up, like unused corners, vaulted ceilings, or empty window sills. A cozy reading nook would look killer with a dangling design hung above it, and a metallic version would add some great drama to an otherwise subdued bedroom. Still skeptical? Allow me to change your mind with these ten beauties that are all available for purchase right now.

Credit: West Elm

1. Entryway Hanging Mobile

Designed by Brooklyn-based sculptor Rodger Stevens, whose work you can find at the Whitney and the American Folk Art Museum, this abstract mobile packs on the mid-century modern charm. Made using a mix of dark bronze steel and brass, it would look perfectly at home in an industrial or minimalist space.

Buy: Rodger Stevens Entryway Hanging Mobile, $150.00 from West Elm

2. Hanging Fringe Mobile

Etsy is always a treasure trove for off-beat and up-and-coming decor items, so naturally I found a ton of beautiful mobile options there. This version, made using delicate brass accents and bright turquoise resin, has a cool boho feel that would look great in an empty living room corner.

Buy: Hanging Fringe Mobile, $106.00 from Etsy

3. Birds in Harmony Mobile

This next pick is designed by artist Katsumi Komogata and features over a dozen delicate bird figures in various fiery shades of orange, red, and yellow. The bold color palette of the piece is balanced by its delicate, fluttery nature (the birds themselves are made of paper), making it a great option for a spot in your home that boasts a bit of a breeze to truly make those birds fly.

Buy: Birds in Harmony Mobile, $40.00 from Neiman Marcus

3. Wooden Kinetic Art Mobile

If quirky shapes are more your style, look no further than this next piece from Etsy. Made from wood painted in trendy, neutral shades, these Memphis-inspired mobiles will add the right amount of charm and visual interest to any space. Hang one over your WFH desk or in your office for an added boost of playful creativity.

Buy: Wooden Kinetic Art Mobile, $55.00 from Etsy

4. Futura Mobile

If there’s a “father” to the modern adult mobile movement, it’s gotta be Christian Flensted. This Danish designer founded Flensted Mobiles in 1954 alongside his wife, Grethe, and the two went on to create iconic mid-century modern designs for years (followed soon after by his own son, Ole, and his wife, Aase, who now own the company). Ole has continued in his father’s footsteps, creating simple yet impactful designs that focus on form and movement. Case in point: Futura, his first—and most popular—design, which was first released in 1970.

Buy: Futura Mobile, $78.00 for the small size from Design Within Reach

6. Atomic Mobile

Try your hand at designing your own hanging scene with this DIY kit from Atomic Mobile. Available in up to five segments, you can customize the length, height, and color of the pieces to suit whatever look you’re going for. I especially love the horizontal, chain-like look above, which would be a great way to add some interest to an empty wall.

Buy: Atomic Mobile DIY Kit, Starting at $79.00 from Atomic Mobiles

Credit: MoMA

7. Balance Desktop Mobile

Short on space or don’t want to hang anything from the ceiling? You can still get in on the mobile trend with this tabletop version designed by French artist Mario Conti. It plays off balance, featuring four metal disks atop a triangle base that sway back and forth, offering a welcome visual break to your dull desk duties.

Buy: Balance Desktop Mobile, $168.00 from MoMA Design Store

8. Cactus Suncatcher Mobile

Make the most of your daily sunshine with this stained glass mobile. When hung in a window, the panes of colored glass will catch the light and dance it around your room for a bit of mid-afternoon magic. Bonus: your curious cat will absolutely love it, too.

Buy: Cactus Suncatcher Mobile, $72.53 from Etsy

9. Memorabilia 8 Mobile

Looking for a sweet way to personalize your space? Well, I’ve found it and—bonus!—it happens to be a mobile, too. This unique piece has small clips that allow you to attach bite-sized bits of memorabilia to it for display. Use one to showcase love notes from your partner, black-and-white sketches, or even favorite postcards. 

Buy: Memorabilia 8 Mobile, $36.65 from Finnish Design Shop

10. San Cristobal Wall Hanging

For a global-inspired feel, I love this geometric hanging from The Citizenry. The handmade piece starts with bronze shapes cut by master artisans in Chile and then is hand assembled by Austin-based designer, Corie Humble, for a truly standout item that will upgrade any space. Use it in a gallery wall or mount it in a corner for a chime-like take on a mobile.

Buy: San Cristobal Wall Hanging, $155.00 from The Citizenry