Define Design: Mid Century Modern

It's no secret that Mid Century Modern architecture and interior design have experienced an incredible resurgence.  From retro-inspired furnishings at West Elm to the Mad Men craze, we're all head over heels for a taste of this refined aesthetic... but what is Mid Century Modern design exactly?  We set out on a mission to find out.

Copyright Keller Homes Inc.

Copyright Keller Homes Inc.


Wikipedia describes Mid Century Modern as, "an architectural, interior, product and graphic design that describes mid-20th century developments in modern design, architecture and urban development from roughly 1933 to 1965."  

A generation of post-war European architects, including Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer, sought refuge from Hitler's regime in the United States in the mid 20th century.  They embraced new materials like steel, plastic and plywood in new ways, creating organic forms and a seamless integration of nature to the indoors.  It was more than a design trend - it was a modern movement that encouraged a new way of life.

Copyright Keller Homes Inc.

Copyright Keller Homes Inc.


  • Clean, flat lines. Uncluttered, sleek geometric angles and soft organic curves are all characteristic of MCM design. Flat roofs and sharp changes in elevation add depth and interest.

  • Form following function. Open floor plans aren't just beautiful, they also facilitate modern gatherings of family and friends.

  • Seamless with nature. Expansive glass, such as windows and sliding-glass doors, yield views of the outdoors (a reminder to live healthfully) and welcome light indoors and draw the eye outdoors.

  • Material mix. Expect to see a juxtaposition of contrasting materials such as glass, wood, steel and concrete both inside and out. Furnishings both textures like smooth plastic and shaggy textiles.


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