Home Staging . . . What the heck is Mid Century Modern?!?

17 Replies

I stage all my homes for sale. I have had to adjust to a few new trends over the last decade and a half - mostly color palate (tans a browns changed to soft greens and blues). I am not a designer but I watch some home shows with my wife and attend a couple Parade of Homes each year to confirm we're on the right page with perspective buyers. Together we can stage a home that appeals to 90% of buyers in a given price range with some simple espresso leather sofas, tan carpet, non-offensive drapes and accent pieces. Lately though I keep seeing crazy, ugly stuff on TV and in builder models, all under the name of "Mid-Century Modern." Is that a designer term for, "we ran out of ideas so we're bringing back the ugliest color combinations from the 70's."?!?

Home staging for the masses has been pretty easy up to now but this new trend could be very divisive if 40% of new home buyers are hoping to see orange furniture, plaid wallpaper, shag carpet and avocado drapes. I just can't do it and offend the other 60% of people who haven't yet lost their minds! Anyone else having issues with this?

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801‑712‑2823 | Podcast Guest on Show #41

@Douglas Larson  Mid Century Modern is an architectural style. It's about clean, simple lines, light weight wood, etc. It's based on Frank Lloyd Wright, Eichler, etc. It doesn't necessarily refer to color, you can use it with any color, or white for that matter. 

Here's a few links that will help you out. Images of Mid Century Modern

Definition of Mid Century Modern Many of the tract houses with low slung roofs, exposed wood ceilings, brick, etc. built in the 50-60's were Mid Century Modern. 

Many of the modern houses of today are rooted in that. Personally it's one of my favorite styles of architecture. Good luck! 

Medium house plansKaren Margrave, Parlay Investments | [email protected] | http://www.parlayinvestments.com | CA Contractor # 680782

@Karen Margrave

Great links! Thanks.

I can get behind the architecture and simple wood furniture. It's some of the colors and patterns I see on TV and in model homes associated with this term (Mid-Century Modern) that have me frightened. Designers and manufacturers always have to change the latest fad in order to prompt consumer demand. In many ways, I welcome that change because it allows rehabbers and remodelers like me to "update" a 10-15 year old home with paint, carpet, cabinets and fixtures and make money!  That said, I think some of the carpet colors, wallpaper patterns and bold furniture colors trying to shape the new consumer demand are "love it" or "hate it" choices. It's hard to design and stage for that.

801‑712‑2823 | Podcast Guest on Show #41

Keep in mind that these TV shows have to be cutting edge and show things beyond the norm. If they showed everybody painting walls tan nobody would watch. But many of these styles that they push never catch on. Like the flat faced kitchen cabinet doors that I saw a few years ago. I feel sorry for the people who rushed to jump on the train. Those 70s styles were ugly then and are ugly now.

I think the problem is you have a look stuck in your head (the Brady Bunch) and are having a hard time getting around it, so try these. It's basically Modern style. Walls can be white, gray, or any other color for that matter. All architectural styles cycle, and when they do they are updated with the current colors. It's the lines of the furniture, architecture that make it Mid Century Modern, not the colors. Also note the shapes of lamps, tables, etc.

@Douglas Larson Hope this helps! 

Medium house plansKaren Margrave, Parlay Investments | [email protected] | http://www.parlayinvestments.com | CA Contractor # 680782

Account Closed

What you are referencing are as "flat faced" cabinets are actually called slab front, and they're very popular now, and especially in modern styled homes. In fact, that's what we're putting in the San Clemente Spec house we are building. San Clemente Spec House

The slab fronts are easier to clean and don't collect dust as easily as other styles do. They, would actually be perfect in Mid Century Modern. 

Not all of these are slab front, but many are:  Slab front cabinets

Everyone has a vision of what they like, there's no right or wrong. 

Medium house plansKaren Margrave, Parlay Investments | [email protected] | http://www.parlayinvestments.com | CA Contractor # 680782

Whats even more ridiculous is every single couple on HGTV or Joe Schmo down the street saying "oh I like this, its so modern." Wrong! What he means is contemporary.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modern_architecture

Modern is a VERY SPECIFIC architectural style from the turn of the century later applied to furniture and design. People need to stop saying modern like it means "anything built after 1990" even worse misuse of terminology than you're referring to.

I'm with @Karen Margrave It is a great style. My favorite.

That being said, I doubt it works in mass outside California or New York.

My belief is you should take inspiration for colors and staging from the house. Most houses are not mid century modern in their architecture. So, most houses should not take on this style.

Karen,

Thanks for the link to "Mid Century Modern Images". Very helpful,  and as a builder, its nice to see interesting yet seldom presented architectural styles. 

Douglas,

Stick to what you know works until you see your sell rate decline. Follow the data not the trend as delivered by the media. Among other things, it's locale and demographic driven. You seem to know your market so follow your gut and continued good luck. 

@Andrey Y.  You're correct that Modern is an architectural style all its own; and so is Mid Century Modern. However; Modern style and Mid Century Modern both have many of the same elements including clean, simple, straightforward design. 

Many of the architectural styles overlap, and for most investors on BP they aren't restoring historical homes, but redesigning older homes and updating their looks, adding modern conveniences, etc.

If you were "restoring" a property to its original style, then you'd adhere to the exact design of the day, materials, colors, etc. 

However; the original poster wasn't asking about restoring a historical property. Therefore; if you are decorating a home using the influence of Mid Century Modern, or Modern, you wouldn't need to be as careful, but would be looking more toward getting that vibe, with new colors and furnishings that are currently popular but influenced by that era. 

Just my opinion of course. 

Medium house plansKaren Margrave, Parlay Investments | [email protected] | http://www.parlayinvestments.com | CA Contractor # 680782

@Matthew Schroeder , @Karen Margrave

Thanks for some of those photos. Embracing some of the style elements in neutral base colors looks like the right plan. 

Every time I remove a harvest gold fridge, maroon porcelain toilet, orange carpeting or plaid wallpaper from a very dated home I always wonder, "what on earth were they thinking?!?" Now that I'm seeing some of the same color schemes coming back in builder model homes and on HGTV I just shudder. Designers and manufacturers were able to convince a whole lot of people that orange, maroon and avocado green were the must-have color schemes 40-50 years ago. It appears they are trying that again, using or mis-using the term "Mid-Century Modern." Even if the designers are able to sway public opinion to those wretched schemes again, some of the photos prove that the style can have a neutral undertone while the small, easy to change accents can comply with the latest fad. I just can't install orange carpet with green walls but I could buy a few orange pillows and vases if that's what the public wants to see.

801‑712‑2823 | Podcast Guest on Show #41

I hate to hear "Mid Century Modern"being used so much recently.

Come on, just say "crap from the 50s that our parents threw out".

D

http://dnaumowicz.kw.com/ | IL Agent # 475.170710

It was modern sometime around the middle of the last century LOL.

I feel the same way about stainless steel and granite as I do about avocado green appliances.  It was dated as soon as it began.  

When I was looking at homes, I wanted to envision my own color scheme, not have someone else's imposed upon me.

@Dan Naumowicz  @Sue K.

If we look back in history at the architecture in countries where they have buildings hundreds of years old, you can find elements of those in the most modern of architectural styles. There are only so many ways to build a box, and dress it up or down. If you think the style you happen to like is "new" guess again! Same with furnishings, colors, etc. Though I agree, after living with them a while, they do get tiresome, and it's time to toss them out and bring back something else and give it a fresh new twist. 

There's a quote "there is nothing new under the sun" and it's true. We just rework what has already been here. 

Medium house plansKaren Margrave, Parlay Investments | [email protected] | http://www.parlayinvestments.com | CA Contractor # 680782

Originally posted by @Karen Margrave :

@Dan Naumowicz  @Sue Kelly

If we look back in history at the architecture in countries where they have buildings hundreds of years old, you can find elements of those in the most modern of architectural styles. There are only so many ways to build a box, and dress it up or down. If you think the style you happen to like is "new" guess again! Same with furnishings, colors, etc. Though I agree, after living with them a while, they do get tiresome, and it's time to toss them out and bring back something else and give it a fresh new twist. 

There's a quote "there is nothing new under the sun" and it's true. We just rework what has already been here. 

 Very good point.  Can we all agree not to do it again with avocado green and orange, though?  :-)

@Dan Naumowitz and Sue K.  - 

I agree with both of you and believe "Mid-Century" furniture, style, architecture, accouterments are popular and will continue to be because of the simple lines and elements those items have.  Mid-Century is affordable and has pretty much been shoved down our throats since Ikea, Crate & Barrel came onto the scene.
 

Can you imagine if, all of a sudden, Late Baroque or Rococo were the two "hot" styles?  With elements of elaborate ornamentation, asymmetrical values, pastel color palette, and curved or serpentine lines.......OMG!  The furniture alone would make your head spin, let alone the architecture (think The Queluz National Palace in Portugal).  It is so incredibly ornate and well-crafted (you have to be talented to carve cherubs, scrolls, egg and dart, serpentines, etc.) that no one would be able to afford anything of that period.   

Fads will always make money for those who institute them because humans are, basically, sheep.