Design Dilemma: How to Personalize the Mid-Century Modern Look | Home Design Find

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Design Dilemma: How to Personalize the Mid-Century Modern Look

An Eames chair. A George Nelson bubble lamp. A Noguchi coffee table.  Mid-century modern furniture is all the rage right now, and for good reason. It’s imminently cool. Clean, sculptural lines lend mid-century pieces an effortless sense of classicism that everyone’s picked up on.

But these days, the mid-century modern look has become so commonplace that it’s also become generic. No surprises here — get yourself an Eero Saarinen dining table and a Herman Miller chair and you can consider yourself officially hip.

The question for those who appreciate modern design but who don’t want to follow a standard checklist, is how to personalize this look to keep it fresh, surprising and original, and not stale.

mcm 300x200 how to tips advice1. Look for less well-known designers of the period. Everyone knows the top 10 of mid-century design, including Charles and Ray Eames, Le Corbusier and Marcel Breuer. Instead of collecting only the greatest hits of furniture design, seek out mid-century designs from less-influential designers.

2. Mix and match eras. You can give your home more personality by choosing other furniture styles that mix well with modernist design. Asian furniture pieces also have simple and uncluttered lines that can look fantastic when mixed with mid-century pieces. African stools, benches, tables and chests echo the sculptural lines found in many organically-shaped modernist pieces.

3. Look for today’s contemporary design. Good design is happening right now – in Italy, Germany, Japan, and even right here in the U.S. Instead of going ALL mid-century, introduce a generous dose of up-to-the minute design being created by today’s designers.

4. Shop a variety of sources. Move beyond the classic standards like Knoll and Design Within Reach to other sources of great design, including small design firms, thrift shops, Craig’s List and IKEA. jason8 small 300x225 how to tips advice

5.  Throw in something unexpected. What about an antique lamp, a colonial sideboard, an old wooden farmhouse table, or an English-arm style couch? If the lines and scale are appropriate, adding a totally different kind of piece can actually set off the clean lines of your mid-century collection.

6.  Don’t ignore the power of artwork. Original paintings, photography and prints have an absolutely critical role in personalizing space. Choosing good artwork is just as important, and may have a far greater impact, as choosing a good couch. Plus, it’s the one thing you can add to your home that you can be absolutely sure no one else anywhere in the world has.

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