A mid-century modern living room, whether it’s indoor or outdoor, is composed of a reliable canon of somewhat interchangeable components. The important thing to remember is that there are no hard and fast rules for composing a lounge or dining area in this style.
Because mid-century modern interior design has always been intended for the popular market, there is a virtually limitless array of options for furniture pieces. Therefore the results are usually very eclectic and reflect the surrounding environment of the home as well as the personality of the decorator.
In a general sense, mid-century modern outdoor furniture has a few core features:
- Sculptural or minimalist silhouettes. Frames and feet are often metal with an industrial simplicity.
- Statement pieces and pops of color. In a MCM living room, furniture, art, lighting, rugs, and other design elements do not compete for attention. A particularly colorful, fun statement piece such as an egg-shaped armchair is complemented by neutral supporting pieces that amplify the overall theme. A boxy sofa is complemented by the organic curves of a kidney-shaped coffee table.
- Furniture upholstery is usually a neutral or earthy color with a vintage flavor: pea green, ruddy orange, dandelion yellow, etc. Upholstery and throw pillows are often very textural: tufted (with buttons or not), or geometrically patterned.
- Natural elements such as wood are paired with modern building materials like steel, chrome, plastic, and glass. Wooden sideboards or shelving give a rich effulgent glow in the ample light of MCM living rooms.
- MCM furniture is characterized by a futuristic optimistic mood. Many furniture designers contributed their design skills to the war effort and were inspired by collective national missions such as the space race. This influenced their choice of building materials (plastic, molded plywood, etc.) as well as design aesthetic with sleek aerodynamic designs borrowed from air and spacecraft.
The products above represent just a few “modern classics” from Curran’s outdoor furniture catalog to illustrate how the principles guiding mid-century modern interior design continue to reverberate through the work of today’s outdoor furniture designers. Read more about MCM design principles at play in our blog about mid-century modern outdoor furniture.