Guest Picks: Colorful Mid-Century Modern

I was raised on the Niagara escarpment in Ontario, Canada and was immediately smitten with all the mid-century modern ranch-style houses that I observed in the south end of St. Catharines as a kid. Most of them were painted baby blue and ivory and backed onto a ravine. I saw these as”happy” houses and loved the liberal use of glass, slate stone in exteriors and interiors and also the extreme slant to some of the roofs. One of these done up with a clever American or Australian interior could cause me to feel that all could be right in the world. This has to be why David Hockney’s masterpiece”A Bigger Splash” resonates so deeply with me. The mid-century modern aesthetic is fun, comfortable and eternally stylish — that desires more than that?

Here are 20 of my favorite furniture and decor finds that will add enviable style and color — I am partial to turquoises and filthy blues — into any room. I think everyone should have a least one bit from the age. Not that you would be able to stop at one! — Denise from The Swelle Life

Chelsea Textiles

Chest of Four Drawers in 2 Tone

It’s amazing what a few simple curves in an unexpected location can perform to get a look. A chest of drawers is a somewhat small bit of furniture, however, this particular set is one that would make me rethink everything else in the room — anything overly fussy would have to go!


Illum Wikkelsø #110 Søren Willadsen Teak Easy Chair

Pale blue is the greatest calming color, so I love that this sleek and curvy Danish arm seat is extended in such a relaxing shade of soft Danish wool. The seat envelopes the body with its wingback layout for relaxation relaxation, so you get the best of both worlds. I’d love to see its softness performed in an area of light colors and touchable textures.


Pearl Blue Mid-Century Modern Art Mobiles – $120

I love the look of a cellphone in a room: it is a daring surprise that never goes undetected. This beautifulblue, stainless steel cable and plastic layout is the perfect solution for a missing ceiling lighting fixture. It would be stunning hovering over lots of white gloss, leather upholstery and a low coffee table above a shag area rug.


Unikko (560) Fabric by Marimekko – GBP 35

This iconic Unikko floral patterned cloth is pure pleasure. It’s a heavyweight cotton that I’d really like to see upholstering a Danish armchair — both the teak arms and legs would anchor the vivid florals.

The Modern Warehouse

Wim Reitveld Metal Cabinet – GBP 895

I could not concentrate on anything else in the room — this Dutch double cabinet would hog all my attention with its big color-block doors in sage green and lemon yellow. Metal furniture is not usually enjoyable, but Wim Reitveld has made it happen. I’d soften it up a little with some potted flowers and unique animal-shaped pieces.


Mari Bowl – GBP 19

Lilac is this unusual color in decoration, and a nice unexpected bit of it could immediately brighten a room. The Maribowl is a glassware bit I would use in multiples as decoration, so moving them frequently to get a pop of color — from the console in the hallway, into the dining room sideboard, to the living room bookshelf and side tables.


George Nelson Marshmallow Sofa – $3,299

Exactly what a showpiece! This George Nelson couch is more like a sculpture and a fantastic remedy for those who have a inclination to fall asleep on the couch.

The cushions are removable for cleaning and are available in a wide array of vinyl and leather colours such as lemon peel, light teal, hot pink and seafoam. Employing a multi-color approach offers unlimited options and generates the expression of a paint-by-numbers paint set. This is a bit to build a room around.


Ercol c1960 Classic Children’s Stacking Chair – GBP 68

The c1960 Ercol stacking chair is a design classic. This one is joyfully painted in the quintessential mid-century modern color of aquamarine.

It’s a children’s seat, but it would also look fantastic as a brace for vintage watering cans or artists’ supplies.

Retro Bazaar

Retro 1950s Blue & White Cat Vase – GBP 40

How do you smile when a 1950s blue and white cat vase greets you upon entering an area? Utilize its kitschy cuteness to liven up minimalist decoration, and if you dare, then put flowers into its head. I enjoy it the way it is, with its unusually shaped head resembling the sleek curves of Danish design.

String of Serving Plates by Midwinter – GBP 30

I love a gorgeous pale turquoise; it is so quintessentially retro nonetheless always feels fresh.

These ridged serving plates could look fantastic on a walnut or glossy white sideboard. For a bolder look, I’d really like to find the turquoise of these unusual plates pop from the glistening red of a sideboard or 1950s diner-style kitchen table, like the one I have.


French Round Orange Resin Mirror by Syl

This is a cheery mirror, the kind you think about because you can’t pass it without recognizing it. Round, shiny resin in bright orange is very good for offsetting a room with lots of hard lines.

Salvage One

Chromcraft Vinyl Dry Bar – $550

There is nothing perfectly retro as a pub. I love the notion of the curvy burst of turquoise light a dark cellar, whether it’s used for the intended function or not. I would build up the color by surrounding it with translucent pinks, lavenders and yellows in things like lucite panels, seats and side tables.

Mark Parrish

Catherine Holm Cooking Pot – GBP 34.50

What’s not to love about a Norwegian-designed, orange patterned cooking pot? This one by Catherine Holm should not be relegated into dark cabinets but retained on a job top for all to admire. I’d cook a nostalgic meal for my buddies and serve it directly from the pot to get a homey, retro dining experience.

Retro Redheads

Rare Vintage Tammis Keefe Modern Pink & Green Tablecloth – $175

A quick and effortless method to earn your dining table mid-century modern is to locate a fantastic tablecloth from the age.

This infrequent Tammis Keefe tablecloth is pure retro pleasure and begs for sorbet-colored configurations and kitschy knickknacks like ceramic or resin napkin holders.

The Modern Warehouse

Two Seat Organic Danish Sofa – GBP 1,195

There is something very reassuring about a piece of furniture that is homey and modern all at one time. This Danish couch in the design of Finn Juhl can fit right into a variety of decor styles. Add just a little softness into a minimal modern ensemble or temper the ornate carved detailing of French bits. The slate blue-green of this patterned upholstery is especially versatile — it’ll go with anything.

Sarah Potter

Rosewood Dining Chairs with Blue Upholstered Chairs – GBP 495

All these 1960s Danish rosewood dining seats feel more like the kind you would see in an auditorium than a dining room, but that is part of the appeal. They appear simple in their structure from directly, but a profile view shows the mid-century surprise detail — the upper construction is bent so the seat back sits at a slight outward angle. It’s a wooden seat designed for comfort!

Midcentury Mosaic Tile – $19.95

Nothing invigorates a space like great tiles. These small glass tiles in shades of blue, beige and army green will add retro flair to any design space. The attractiveness of mid-century modern is how readily it blends with other styles to create spaces that are individualized. When I grow tired of my kitchen, I will see these as the backsplash behind my gas stove.


MIDCENTURY 17 9×6 by Jim Ward Morris – $25

If you can’t have a mid-century modern residence, you can at least have the art of one! Jim Ward Morris’ original artwork prints are a visual treat for fans of the colours and daring design of the age. I’d really like to use this print to create a mid-century modern hallway. It would hang on light turquoise walls with a Danish teak console table below and a pendant ceiling light over — that is all it would take.


Nanna Ditzel #83 Søren Willadsen Teak Easy Chair

This is what I call a happy seat! The curved shape (standard of Nanna Ditzel design) combined with all the original Kvadrat Tonus wool cloth in vibrant cobalt is pure pleasure and needs to be a focal point within the room. Just like most mid-century modern bits it has a surprise detail: the back legs are angled outward in two different directions adding stability while at the same time making it stand out from more traditional pieces.

I’d really like to see it in front of tall living room windows draped in celadon linen with dawn beams of sunlight illuminating the red tints of the teak.

Different Krenit Bowls/Plates – GBP 75

A fantastic bowl, like these original enameled Krenit bits (made by Herbert Krenschel), is a must-have accent in the kitchen and dining room sideboard. The boldness of this deep, slightly triangular form and contrasting glistening interiors creates a bit that looks best left unfilled. I would arrange several in varying sizes and colours for maximum affect.

Next: 5 Inspiring Mid-Century Modern Homes

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