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What You Need to Know About Mid-Century Furniture

Created between the 1930s and the mid-1960s, mid-century furniture is once again all the rage. Find out why you should add a piece to your home's décor.

Clean lines, gentle curves, simplicity of design and unique materials. These are some of the ways to describe mid-century furniture. Trendsetters, Millennials and Baby Boomers who are downsizing have all become drawn to this popular furniture style. Read on to learn why.

What is Mid-Century Furniture?

Built between the 1930s and the mid-1960s, the mid-century style of furniture came about after World War II. Simple shapes, organic curves, and clean lines were based on earlier designs from Bauhaus and art deco. In the United States, the economy was booming, and cities and suburbs were expanding.  With the building of modern homes, homeowners looked for modern pieces to furnish them. Influenced by technology and the space race, contemporary looking furniture became the rage. Designers experimented with new materials such as plastic, adding to texture, color, and style, as well as better quality.

Why Is It So Popular?

The best part of mid-century furniture is its versatility. With its sleek lines, it has a classic understated look that works with just about every other décor style. Think of the boomerang coffee table, the box-like console, or the simple tulip chair. The shapes and sizes of tables and chairs are generally smaller, which means they work in apartments and small homes and perfect for when you are downsizing, or just starting out. The pieces are well built, so they will last for years. And a single chair, in a bright color in molded plastic, will be a standout accent in any room.

What to Look Out For?

If you are considering a purchase, here are a few things to remember:

  1. Designer and Provenance -- Are you interested in an authentic mid-century piece? Pay attention to the designer or workshop mark or proof. There are many fakes available, so if you're looking for an original, look closely. Famous designer pieces are expensive and rare.
  2. Iconic Designs – If you want the true look of mid-century, be sure to choose an iconic design. Here are a few to research and keep in mind: the tulip chair, the boomerang coffee table, 670 lounge chair, the Eames chair, the Egg chair, Danish sideboards, small furniture pieces made from teak or rosewood. Always look for simple, clean lines and straight legs.
  3. Color and condition – As with any style of furniture, color and condition are two of the most important considerations to make. Mid-century furniture is available in both dark and light stain finishes – look carefully that it has no chips or scratches. Is the fabric faded? Can it be recovered? Is the frame solid or does it wobble? If it's made from molded plastic, are there any cracks? Before any purchase is made, look over the joints, finish, and sturdiness of the frame.

Bottom Line

Once you make up your mind to decorate your home with a nod to mid-century, do some research first. Learn about different designers, shapes, and styles. Knowing what you want before you begin your shopping will make it easier to find the best products to enhance the beauty of your home. And if you are looking for authentic mid-century furniture, don't forget your budget. True antiques are often expensive, but always worth the extra cost if you love them and use them for many years.

Numerous deals and designs can be found at Showplace Antique and Design Center. Participate in one of our live auctions or browse through our catalogue according to the creator.

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