Why is mid-century furniture having a revival?

In recent years, the resurgence of mid-century furniture has been nothing short of extraordinary, as it continues to capture the imagination of design enthusiasts around the globe. This enduring trend speaks to the timeless appeal and enduring quality of mid-century modern design, which seamlessly merges form and function to create pieces that are as relevant today as they were decades ago. I’m Liz, furniture stylist and founder of Liz Clarkson Interior Transformations, your specialist in restoring and bringing new life to mid-century furniture designs. I am so passionate about celebrating this iconic furniture era – for so many reasons, and so for it to be having a revival makes me very happy!  To fully appreciate the significance of this revival, it’s important to delve into the rich history of mid-century furniture and explore the contributions of iconic brands and designers that have shaped the styling approach. What I also love to do is to delve into the versatility that mid-century furniture offers in various home settings and look at the importance of taking the right approach when it comes to expert restoration and styling. Let’s jump in!

Mid-Century Furniture - A Brief History

The mid-century modern movement emerged in the aftermath of World War II, as designers and architects sought to redefine the concept of modern living. Influenced by a desire for simplicity, functionality, and innovation, mid-century furniture embraced clean lines, organic forms, and minimalist aesthetics. Visionaries such as Charles and Ray Eames, Eero Saarinen, and Hans Wegner revolutionised the design landscape with their groundbreaking creations, which embodied the spirit of the times while pushing the boundaries of traditional craftsmanship

What was really important in this time was for furniture and interiors to have functionality and quality at their core, but there was a new trend too – being super stylish. Post war, most families were rebuilding their lives and families as well as rebuilding their homes. Industry was shifting, and the move towards being social which was so decadent in the 30s was returning – and with this came the emergence of the home as an entertaining space as well as a living space. Music to my ears (and to their living rooms!)

A typical 1950’s home living and entertaining space. Image credit: Pinterest

Popular Mid-Century Interior Brands

There are several brands which are become synonymous with mid-century furniture, each contributing to the movement’s enduring legacy. Herman Miller stands out as a pioneer in modernist design, with iconic pieces like the Eames Lounge Chair and the Noguchi Coffee Table epitomising the brand’s commitment to innovation and elegance. Knoll, founded by Hans Knoll and later helmed by Florence Knoll, collaborated with leading designers to produce timeless classics such as the Barcelona Chair and the Saarinen Tulip Table. G Plan, known for its innovative use of teak and timeless designs, has also left a significant mark on the mid-century furniture landscape.

Among the prominent brands of mid-century furniture, Nathan and Stag Minstrel hold a special place in my heart. Nathan Furniture, established in the early 20th century, became synonymous with quality craftsmanship and timeless design. Their mid-century offerings often feature elegant teak finishes, showcasing the warmth and natural beauty of wood. Pieces from Nathan’s mid-century range, such as sideboards, display cabinets, drinks cabinets and bureaus, are celebrated for their versatility and enduring appeal, making them sought-after additions to modern homes seeking a touch of classic elegance (which is where I come in, but more on that later!)

Stag Minstrel gained widespread acclaim for its distinctive blend of traditional craftsmanship and mid-century aesthetics. Founded in the 1950s, Stag Furniture’s Minstrel range became emblematic of British mid-century design, with its iconic dark wood finishes and elegant lines. Stag Minstrel pieces, particularly bedroom furniture, exude timeless sophistication, making them coveted treasures for collectors and design enthusiasts alike. These are some of my favourite Stag Minstrel pieces: 

Mid-Century Furniture - Versatility in Different Homes

One of the most amazing aspects of mid-century furniture is its versatility, which allows it to seamlessly integrate into a wide range of interior styles and spaces. Whether in a sleek urban apartment, a modern family home, or a mid-century modern-inspired home, these pieces add a touch of sophistication and character to any environment. 

From iconic lounge chairs and sculptural coffee tables to functional storage solutions and elegant dining sets, mid-century furniture offers endless possibilities for personal expression and creative interior design. I have recently been working on some incredible projects that are destined to very different settings – everything from an Egyptian Revival home in Oxfordshire to a stunning Parisienne apartment! The beauty of using mid-century pieces is that their quality and functionality make them the perfect canvas for creating unique styles to suit all tastes. When you work with a furniture transformation artist like myself you can build your interior concept around a statement piece that you have found (or inherited!) or we can source a piece that works with your scheme. The versatility and flexibility of what we can produce is only subject to your imagination. I love to explore colours, textures and finishes that will bring your vision to life.

The Importance Of Taking The Right Approach With Restoration And Styling Mid-Century Furniture

Stag Minstrel bedroom furniture transformed in Studio Green

While mid-century furniture is celebrated for its enduring design and craftsmanship, you might find that a lot of the vintage pieces you find will need restoration to maintain their beauty and functionality. Finding the right restorer or furniture restylist is essential on a number of levels. One so that you can preserve the integrity of the iconic designs, but also so that you can enhance the aesthetic appeal of the piece to match your modern living needs. 

Finding the right skilled professional is about so much more than finding someone with technical skill. You want to find someone that you can trust as not only possessing the expertise and craftsmanship needed to refurbish and revitalise mid-century furniture, but also that understands your creative vision to be able to help you create your dream interior. As a furniture transformation artist, I am passionate about ensuring that each piece retains its original charm while seamlessly integrating into modern interiors with innovative techniques and designs. I want to breathe new life into beloved classics, allowing them to be cherished for generations to come. Whether that is an old bureau becoming a new office desk, or giving a modern look to an old drinks cabinet as the ultimate showstopper entertaining piece, we can work together to transform old forgotten gems into focal points for your home. 

Why is mid-century furniture having a revival?

Why is mid-century furniture having a revival? It is because mid-century furniture represents more than just a passing trend; it is a celebration of timeless design, craftsmanship, and innovation. Whether as statement pieces in contemporary homes or cherished heirlooms passed down through generations, mid-century furniture can continue to shape the way we live and interact with our living spaces, embodying the timeless elegance of an era gone by – a movement I am very happy to be part of!

Related: Why the art deco trend is so on trend for 2024

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