The mid-century modern style was an iconic design movement that originated during the post-World War two era that came with the re-establishing of economies and booming demand for new homes.
With the end of the war as a backdrop, home interior and furniture design developed during the period inevitably reflected the desire for functionality, simple and clean designs in contrast to the ornate styles in style before the war, and optimism for the future as seen in its bold colour palette.
Today, the mid-century modern design style is experiencing a resurgence, brought back to life by popular shows like Mad Men and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Beloved by old souls who appreciate such iconic yet timeless designs that embrace a simple and organic way of living, here are 5 examples of how Singaporean homeowners are making this retro style work in their modern homes.
The idea of creating a home that celebrated functionality but not veering into the space of being too cold and austere led designer Michelle to gravitate towards the mid-century modern style for this 63 Pasir Ris Grove project.
Throughout the home, one can observe the elements of the mid-century modern design – from furnishings that emphasize function over form, interesting experimentation with material mixing, the strong use of clean lines and organic shapes, to the focus on a generally neutral colour palette paired well with natural wood for warmth and richness in colour.
The space is kept deliberately minimalist, free of ornate detailing, a key element in mid-century modern design where simplistic furnishing was prevalent – a rebellion against the excess of pre-War times. Opting for only a few statement pieces of furniture and fixtures like the low-rise leather chaise, dining chairs, and overhanging light fixtures, each of them gets to enjoy their time in the limelight.
This 290C Bukit Batok East project by designer Flora offers an intriguing insight into what a space can look like with the perfect balance of nostalgia and modern – a quintessentially mid-century modern aesthetic.
The open and spacious layout works well to allow each curated piece of statement furnishing to shine through – from the uniquely angular shaped wooden coffee table, overhanging metal lighting fixtures over the dining space, retro lamp by the living area, to the vintage armchair next to the balcony.
To up the amp in nostalgia, in almost every corner, one can also discover a blast to the past that blends flawlessly with its modern backdrop – from the mosaic tiles in the entryway, wooden louvred doors to the storage area, quaint kitchen wooden partition and more.
The 50s are back in vogue! This Bedok South project by designer Debbie takes on the simplistic mid-century modern design aesthetic with its own unique spin by elevating typically retro designs to the next level.
In this atypical mid-century modern home, organic and geometric shapes characteristic of the style take centre stage. From the curved vintage-styled lounger in the living room, to the woven arches in the display cabinet, arched design on the fluted glass panel doorway in the kitchen, unique lighting fixture above the dining table, toilet sinks, and more, the designer is not afraid to fully tap on this hallmark design.
Another characteristic element that draws inspiration from the 50s is the bold accent of colours like the striking red woven rug in the living space and the quirkily colourful mosaic tiles in the bathroom that adds warmth and fun to an otherwise simple space.
Inspired by Northern European interiors, designer Arjan gave this Ghim Moh BTO apartment a complete mid-century modern makeover with his own added twist.
Steering clear of the typical cold austere aesthetic that can be associated with the style due to the over-emphasis on minimalism and clean lines, a variety of textures, and materials were added on to soften the look and warm up the space.
As with typical mid-century modern designs, wood plays a huge role. In this project, it comes in the form of curated vintage furniture pieces, walnut vinyl flooring, wooden tiles, and modest yet practical carpentry designs in the bedrooms and kitchen.
On the other hand, while typical mid-century modern designs will minimize the level of décor and ornaments, the designer opted for the alternative, with soft textiles and personalized accessories to create a warm space with a personal touch.
In coming up with the design concept for this Treelodge@Punggol project, designer Edwin drew inspiration from his conversations with the young homeowner couple who seem like old souls in a modern world – a perfect match for the mid-century modern style.
In keeping with the minimalist and uncluttered look, the designer deliberately minimized the extent of fixed fixtures or carpentry, creating a wide and effortlessly expansive space in the process.
Going back to the roots of mid-century modern design where functionality is key, the designer tapped on the creative use of dual-use furniture like the transformable table integrated with the kitchen island to fulfil multi-purpose function while space saving at the same time.
With the style defined by clean lines, organic shapes, wooden textures, and bold colour accents that pop against a neutral backdrop, the designer manages to seamlessly integrate these elements for a cohesive look across the home.
Interested in a timeless mid-century modern interior design style for your home? Explore our designer page for more inspirational home designs.
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