Mid-Century Modern

What it is: Mid-Century modern style reappeared on our radar screens more than a decade ago, but the wildly popular show Mad Men has pushed it even farther into the limelight. Just as the name implies, it spanned a period of roughly two and a half decades in the middle of the 20th century, from the mid-1940s to 1970. Its uncomplicated, fresh aesthetic arose from a desire to propel postwar America into the modern era and recast design through a bold new lens.

Why it works: Mid-Century modern’s emphasis on pared-down forms, contemporary patterns, natural materials and a seamless flow between indoors and out create a medley of functional comfort and chic style. The look bridges the organic and the man-made, with one foot in the natural world and the other in brave new territory that still has the power to surprise us today.

You’ll love it if: You miss your childhood home’s conversation pit. You’re impatient with people who take forever to get to the point. The old masters make you yawn — for you, it’s modern art all the way. You watch Pulp Fiction just to hear that Dick Dale–heavy soundtrack. You schedule Sunday nights around — what else? — Mad Men

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A few of our favorites: