What is a Mid-Century Modern House?
Aug 29, 2023
If you've ever visited your grandma's 1950's ranch home or watched the show Mad Men, you've probably seen a mid-century modern house. Though they are reminiscent of a style that had its heyday during the first half of the 1900's, mid-century modern homes remain popular today.
What is Midcentury Modern?
Many younger buyers are bored of the box-like, cookie cutter houses in the suburbs and are drawn to the uniqueness of mid-century modern architecture. People aren’t just buying the old, original versions, either. Many residential builders and architects stay busy by designing brand-new mid-century modern houses for people who absolutely love this look.
Key Characteristics of Mid Century Modern Homes
Many mid-century properties possess several of these charming characteristics:
- Multiple levels – One feature that you will notice in many mid-century modern (MCM) homes is the use of split-level design to break up the living space and creating added dimension to the home.
- Floor to ceiling windows – Floor-to-ceiling windows allow more natural light and make the space feel larger.
- Functional design – MCM architects are known for simple, clean designs that can be exhibited in the roof line and footprint of the house.
- Modern decor – Mid-century modern home decor is defined by simplicity, straight and clean design.
- Use of wood, stone and nature - You will often see natural wood, rock and plants integrated into the aesthetic of the property.
History of Mid-Century Modern Homes and Rising Popularity Today
"Mid-century modern" as a period is actually difficult to pinpoint exactly. Generally, it is thought to describe architecture, furniture, and decor from the middle of the 20th century (roughly 1940 - 1965).
When compared to the 2010-2020 era, mid-century modern design tends to be hip, retro, simple and often edgy or industrial.
The popularity of midcentury modern design has emerged from Baby Boomers and Gen-X'ers that were raised in MCM homes. Despite clothing and music from the midcentury period having gone out of style by the 1980's, interest in the period began to return near the turn of the millennium. In the last 10 years, MCM fans have grown from a small, niche group of enthusiast to more of a mainstream following.
Reasons People Love Mid-Century Modern Homes
Here are the most common reasons why Mid-century modern homes are so popular and will be around for another century.
1. Vintage Style
One reason for the popularity of these homes is that Millennials love vintage design and style. This category has proven to be a great combination of chic and functional.
So, it’s not surprising that when Millennials decide to buy houses, many of them love the idea of owning a home that has an authentically vintage feel to it. At the same time, mid-century modern houses still give them plenty of room for creative design choices.
2. Unique Spaces With A Lot of Character
Another great thing about mid-century modern homes are a throwback to the 50's. Instead of an open concept, you will often see defined rooms and spaces for dining, studying, cooking and lounging.
3. Modern Décor
Mid-century modern decor leaves a lot of room for interpretation. No, you don’t have to buy authentic furniture from the era. You don’t even need to buy furniture that takes its style from that era. Contemporary touches are a great way to provide a bit of contrast and ensure your living room doesn’t look too much like the set of Mad Men.
MCM homes can be found in mid sized and major cities throughout the US. Mid century architectural design is one of the top house styles in the US and will likely continue to be due to be for years to come. The best way to search for MCM homes is to filter by year built and shop for properties that were built between 1940 - 1960.