Today’s bedroom design takes its inspiration from some mid-century classics, teaming Ercol with Eames and George Nelson and decorating with olive, orange, pale blue and cream. A classic and fresh combination with pale woods throughout.
Mid-century modern is a design style that describes 20th century developments in graphic arts, furniture manufacture, architecture and urban planning. The term covers the years from roughly 1933 through 1965.
You’ll likely recognise the style from pop culture vehicles like the American TV series Mad Men (2007-2015). The sets of this show about Madison Avenue advertising culture in the 50s and 60s were dressed with then demure/now show-stopping pieces by mid century modern masters such as Charles and Ray Eames, Isamu Noguchi and Eero Saarinen.
The Mid-century Modern Style
These mid century modern furniture designs feature the simple angular or organic shapes, tapered legs and classic wood materials that have become synonymous with the look. The colours are generally pale – untreated or clear-lacquered oak and beech, or richly polished teak and walnut, in the woods.
Geometric patterns for textiles often incorporate starbursts, arrows and iconic nods to the cosmos and progress. The colour palate is a sophisticated mix of olives and rusts/orange, and pale blue to offset all that blonde wood. Many of the wooden furniture pieces are dressed with subtle bronze or copper details. From the sixties on, the occasional punctuation of primary colours added vitality.
Large mid century furniture pieces are also frequently crafted from cushy leathers, and chairs from moulded plastics, an innovation of the period. Not unexpectedly, the craftsmanship for mid century modern furniture is pristine, with dove-tailed joinery and precise proportions, in a natural extension of the Arts and Crafts movement in hand manufacture with a bit of new industrial technology mixed in.
Get the Look
Get your own fresh mid-century modern style look with Teramo, a new line of bedroom furnishings from Ercol, available at Feather & Black. The Teramo bedstead is expertly crafted from pale oak, and designed with Ercol’s hallmark spindle headboard. It has the easy, timeless quality that typifies mid-century interior design. As the centrepiece of your bedroom, this good-looking bedstead will set the tone. It creates an elegant and unfussy space in which to cocoon from the everyday world.
Mid-century colours for the bedroom
The Eames were huge influences on the colour palette used in the mid-century style. They used pale blues, burnt orange, olive and cream in their fibreglass work and accessories. These colours were balanced alongside beautiful pale woods.
The heritage of Ercol
Italian immigrant Lucian Ercolani founded furniture design and manufacture company Ercol in London in 1920. Ercol came to prominence with designs that turned war time austerity into a virtue of simple lines and unassuming beauty.
Today, the company’s use of sustainably harvested hardwoods and environmentally-friendly water based stains and lacquers, rather than solvent based finishes, is widely lauded. And their reissues of classic pieces from their mid century modern series, including the iconic Butterfly chair, Stacking chairs and settles are highly coveted.
Back in the bedroom, continue creating your version of mid century modern serenity with bedside tables from the Ercol Teramo line. Made from pale oak and adorned with touch-friendly oval drawer pulls, these tables display the detailed craftsmanship (dovetail joints, finished and tapered edges) common to mid century modern wood pieces. £235*
Styling the Look
Top them with a warmly glowing table lamp. This bedside version from John Lewis utilizes a less common, but still important, hue from the mid century modern colour palette: pale blue. £160
For additional ambient lighting, we love this tripod lamp from Habitat. Made from natural ash with a silk off-white shade, this simple piece will gently brighten up a corner of your mid century modern oasis £139
Keep time in your timeless bedroom
Forgo dressers completely by installing this three-door wardrobe. It’s large, but could replace several smaller pieces. Ultimately it will help maximize the bedroom floor plan. And the piece contains tons of storage space with its combination of closets and drawers. The wardrobe echoes the design and materials of the bedside tables and bedstead; it’s a solid piece that will last decades. £1405*
Adding Classic Pieces
The RAR Chair by Charles and Ray Eames is as fresh today as when it was first introduced over 60 years ago. This design from Heal’s epitomises the playful side of mid-century modern design. The plastic moulded rocking chair version sits atop a chromed wire base and two arched maple beams. It comes in several colours, but we love the calm of this chair in cream. £465
Keep time in your timeless bedroom with this quirky multi-coloured George Nelson wall clock for Vitra. And hang your robe on this metal clothes rack also featuring coloured balls. This is a match for the clock, and further evidence of mid century modern’s playful side. Hang It All clothes rack by Charles & Ray Eames for Vitra £205
Finally, complete your mid century modern look with the Teramo storage bench stowed at the foot of the bed. £470* Use for storing extra bed linens and blankets and pile it high with books about the era (we recommend Modern British Furniture: Design Since 1945 by Lesley Jackson from V&A Publishing) and a few of these geometric patterned throw cushions from Habitat.
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*Prices are valid as of time of initial publication and could differ.