You’ve built your new home (yay!), but now you need to furnish it.
Maybe you have your heart set on a specific look or maybe you aren’t sure where to begin. Either way, taking inspiration from classic furniture design could be a good starting point.
Enter Mid-century modern furniture. Mid-century Modern (MCM) describes an innovative era for design — furniture, graphic design and architecture — that is estimated to take place from the 1930s to the 1960s (the exact time period is debatable).
Some of the most famous MCM furniture pieces are the Eames lounge chair, the Barcelona chair, the Egg chair, the Swan chair, the Diamond chair and the LC2.
MCM furniture was partly a response to a cultural demand for modern furniture. Many MCM designers used the movement to make great design accessible to the masses instead of just the rich, which might explain why you can still find MCM furniture or MCM-influenced furniture in production today.
“Mid-century modern furniture is timeless. It has to do with the simplicity of the lines,” explains interior designer Sharon Capek of SDC Designs in Eau Claire, Wis. “The idea that ‘form follows function’ was coined by a mid-century modern architect and that was as important for mid-century modern furniture. The goal was to create uncluttered and sleek lines that were both geometric and organic in form.”
Mid-century Modern furniture has been in style for the past two decades. You might not have known its name until now, but you’ve seen it everywhere. You see it in talk shows (hello, amazing host chairs!), TV shows (it was the premier decor in Mad Men) and coffee shops and you can find a Mid-century Modern collection at just about any furniture retailer.
Much of the MCM furniture you’ll find today are reproductions or loose interpretations of iconic designs, so it makes sense that they’re still popular today. In addition to its timelessness, it just looks good. And MCM furniture complements other design styles well. Plus, you can find it anywhere at any price point.
Because of its ubiquity, it can be hard to know where to look to find great MCM furniture. That’s why I’ve put together a list of retailers where you can find MCM furniture for your new place.
Article is truly an homage to everything MCM furniture. From their dining chairs to their couches, you’ll find that classic look … but at a lower price.
I love Wayfair because of their prices and wide selection. They have a lot of furniture that is influenced by MCM design. Plus, their many reviews let me know which pieces are a good investment — or not.
West Elm is known for having an abundance of MCM/MCM-influenced furniture. You probably could make your entire house look like a set from Mad Men just by shopping at West Elm.
With a name like AllModern, it makes sense that they would carry MCM furniture. They don’t only stock MCM furniture, so you can mix and match with different styles all in one place.
You can find pretty much every type of MCM furniture on Etsy, some of them are reproductions and some of them are originals. You just need to dig a little.
France & Son
MCM furniture is their specialty and they do it well. You will find many popular MCM pieces here at a fraction of what an original would cost.
You can find affordable MCM furniture on Amazon from various retailers. But Amazon also has their own MCM furniture collection called Rivet. It’s affordable and made for small spaces. This is just another example of how you can get that MCM look without a hefty price tag.
And if you want the real deal, Knoll, Herman Miller and Design Within Reach are the go-to places to buy from. They carry all the chairs I mentioned earlier in the article. Original MCM furniture will cost you, but it’s worth it to own your own slice of MCM design history. And if you’re willing to spend time in the rabbit hole that is Craigslist, you can also luck out and find some great original MCM furniture finds on Craigslist.
“Craigslist is my go-to source for MCM because the Midwest is filled with authentic MCM furniture that is very well priced,” says Capek.
Danielle Small is a freelance writer and strategist with a few awards under her belt (including a 2016 Min Online’s Editorial & Design Awards – Editorial Award for Opinion/Commentary).