This Surprising Mid-Century Modern Decor Trend Is Coming for Your Feed

published Nov 20, 2023
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All I need in this life of sin is me and my disco fruit friends. What’s disco fruit, you ask? It’s not exactly the stunning mirrored produce that’s maybe popped up on your FYP for the past few years, but these pieces share some of the same sparkly DNA. This version of kitschy, fun fake fruit was actually popular throughout the mid-century modern era — specifically, the ‘40s to mid-’70s — with varying levels of intricate beading, sequins, jewels, and gems adorning these plastic or styrofoam forms. Back in this beaded fruit heyday, DIY kits existed to make your own, with an array of fruit forms to buy and decorate using hexagonal beads and steel pins. These “fruits” could be made to be incredibly and intricately realistic (like a yellow banana with green and brown spots for ripeness levels) or ridiculously wrong, like a bright purple pear. If you’re looking for the next viral home decor trend, I could see these fun, fruity throwback accents coming back as a cross between the fake food and disco ball trends that have surged as of late. 

I first stumbled upon this mid-century modern fake fruit while sourcing props for my cookbook, Big Dip Energyspecifically, vintage bananas for a dip called This Dip Is Bananas! — and purchased a set of mixed “beaded” and “sugared” fruit. Each piece was sparkly in some regard, but the ones with gem-topped push pins were the most vibrantly eye-catching and disco-like. The sugared (sometimes called “frosted”) variety is more translucent, and individual pieces feature small beads that are smoother to the touch and adhered with glue rather than pins; overall, these seem a little classier and more refined than their big jewel counterparts. I love them both, but if I had to choose, I can’t help but go big or go home with the most dazzling fruits I can find … and I have about 30 more in my carts on Etsy, Mercari, and eBay that I’m considering buying.

Credit: Alyse Whitney

The reason I haven’t turned my house into a disco fruit stand is because I don’t have the space. (I only allow myself to have as many disco fruits as fit in a relatively large vintage asparagus-decorated bowl atop my eggcellent sunny-side-up table.) I already have too many fake foods — like hyper-realistic candles and Murano glass produce — on every possible surface, shelf, and wall of my apartment! The only time I’ve allowed myself to buy more was at an estate sale when I spotted an entire bowl of sugared fruits, including berries and pomegranates, for $10. I have gifted some excess pieces to friends who deserve a little sparkle in their everyday lives, and because these fake fruits are surprisingly widely available and affordable, I may even make that my theme for gifting this holiday season … or make a garland of disco fruit. Or both.

You may think these are gaudy. They are, 100 percent — and that’s why I love them. This delightful gaudiness reminds me of the colorful rhinestone costume jewelry of my youth. If I glued a bunch of disco fruits to a jacket, I could be fully bejeweled for a Taylor Swift show. But for now, they’ll just be in my asparagus bowl making my whole place ✨shimmer ✨.