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Mid-century style

17 August 2018

Draw upon the decades of the Fifties and Sixties for mid-century home inspiration, a look for those who love a simplified but fun aesthetic.

Fifties Britain was in the throes of recovering from not one but two world wars, and as a result design became focused on function and practicality.

Contemporary design, including interiors, looked to a 'form follows function' approach. Fashion-conscious people ditched their bulky Victorian furniture in favour of lighter, slimmer pieces that were easier to produce using modern production technology, and to textile designers such as Lucienne Day for a new style of print and pattern.

Interiors editor Rory Robertson has picked out some key pieces to help you recreate the mid-century vibe.

Dining delight

One of the drives in architecture during the post-war building boom was to make Britain's living environments more sociable, as a result not only were housing estates opened up to incorporate larger interaction zones and social spaces but so were the inside of the houses too. 

A particularly popular trait was to 'knock through' a hatch between the kitchen and the dining area, an idea that proves popular still with the ever-fashionable open-plan kitchen-diner concept.

Dining tables were in turn made more practical. Slimline and extendable versions were positioned at the forefront of the marketplace. One of the most popular dining table manufacturers during the 1950s and 1960s was Ercol, a company that grew with popularity and is still producing similar designs today. You can shop for a 'classic' look, mid-century-inspired dining table with the Chesham Oak 4-6 seater. It's made by Ercol exclusively for Next.



Statement lighting

Mid-century lighting has a tendency to be described by some as 'kitsch'. It's true, a lot of lighting from the 1950s takes on a rather garish guise.

However, there was also the more sophisticated craze for slender floor lamps and table lights in popular metallic finishes such as brushed brass and bronze, a fashion which has come full circle for modern living today.

The floor standing Sloane lamp has that certain 1950s charisma but with a combination of a soft brass finish and golden glass shade detail.


Intrepid accessories

Travel, during the 1950s and 1960s, was a key part of social change. As a knock-on effect, interiors and homeware accessories became increasingly influenced and inspired by faraway countries and cultures, and simultaneously objects and sculpture that projected abstract forms. The more adventurous your knick-knacks were, the better. 

This marked what is possibly now considered the peak of souvenir collecting. In a certain sense, although the word 'souvenir' is no longer used, the fashion for collecting and displaying worldly items is still as popular.

Objects and accessories, such as African-look vases, tribal print cushions and contemporary sculpture can trace their roots back to the glamour of the 1950s, embodying the spirit of mid-century style.


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