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Buying Mid-century Modern Furniture

Updated on September 15, 2013

Where to buy mid-century modern (aka danish modern) furniture ...

I bet you were just thinking "Where can I buy some really cool furniture, and what century is that everyone is talking about?"

Well, in the middle of the 20th century - that means around 1950 - Danish designers were taking the home decorating world by storm. Names like Charles & Ray Eames, George Nelson, Hans Wegner, and Eero Saarinen (just to name a few) were creating the most sought after designs for the home. Fabulous chairs, coffee tables, credenzas, wall units and more were the all the rage."Mid-Century Modern" available @amazon

Eventually, this period also came to be known as the Eames Era thanks to the success of the super-creative husband and wife team of American designers.

Decorate Your Home in Mad Men Style

If you're a fan of the TV series Mad Men, you may have already fallen in love with this classsic contemporary style. The smooth, clean lines. The warm materials like Teak and Wool. The rich colors.

No wonder this style was so popular back then, and is definitely a hot ticket right now.

Do You Love the "Mad Men" Style?

how do you feel about the 1950s style known as Danish modern (or mid-century modern)?

See results

Mid-Century Modern: Interiors, Furniture, Design Details

This book on mid-century modern design is absolutely at the top of my list.

Mid-Century Modern: Interiors, Furniture, Design Details (Conran Octopus Interiors)
Mid-Century Modern: Interiors, Furniture, Design Details (Conran Octopus Interiors)

This is probably one of the best books you can buy when you want to educate yourself about the mid-century modern movement, or just get inspiration for your interior decorating scheme.

 

more great reads ...

Books about the Mid-Century Modern Eames Era - learn more about this exciting period in design history!

These books have been such a source of inspiration! Choose from this personally selected top 5 list, including the following titles: Miller's Mid Century Modern; Charles & Ray Eames: 1907-1978, 1912-1988 Pioneers of Mid-Century Modernism; Mid-Century Modern Dinnerware: A Pictorial Guide (Schiffer Book for Collectors); Frank Lloyd Wright Mid-Century Modern; Atomic Ranch Midcentury Interiors.

Miller's Mid Century Modern
Miller's Mid Century Modern

This book by Judith Miller is such a great resource for decorators who want to recreate an authentic feel from the period.

 
Eames (Basic Architechture)
Eames (Basic Architechture)

With a pair of names like Charles & Ray, you may have thought these two were brothers, but they were actually husband and wife! :) Find out all about them with this fantastic book.

 
Mid-Century Modern Dinnerware: A Pictorial Guide (A Schiffer Book for Collectors)
Mid-Century Modern Dinnerware: A Pictorial Guide (A Schiffer Book for Collectors)

There are so many design elements in any decor, so if decking your table is next on the list, go for this one.

 
Frank Lloyd Wright Mid-Century Modern
Frank Lloyd Wright Mid-Century Modern

What little I could say here about Frank Lloyd Wright wouldn't even begin to scratch the surface, or in any way do justice to the awe-inspiring life story. This book is excellent is you want to learn just what a treasure his contributions to design were.

 
Atomic Ranch Midcentury Interiors
Atomic Ranch Midcentury Interiors

If you live in a ranch house from the period, or are thinking about buying one, this book will provide a wealth of design inspiration!

 

Forget the Books ... I want to Buy Something!

find your dream decorating item starting here

Even if you're not quite ready to buy a big-ticket item, it's free to browse (and dream) so you can get a better idea of what's available and how much stufff costs.

So start your midcentury modern journey right here in your quest for the perfect MadMen Style mid century furniture.

1950s Credenzas

Mid-century Modern Credenzas for sale on eBay - danish modern furniture for sale

Whenever I'm redecorating a room, I like to start with the big pieces first, especially with vintage furniture - you're never quite sure what you'll find.

One of the most central pieces you can start with for mid-century modern style is a beautiful credenza made of hardwood. My personal favorite is teak, but walnut is probably equally as popular a design choice. It's all a matter of taste, of course.

Have a look on eBay and see if something grabs you right away. It's usually best to just go with your first instinct :)

Right now, I'm seeing a vintage MCM walnut credenza, a very stylish Danish one in teak, a Paul Evans original, and some other really fantastic finds. Some of the taller ones wouldn't be called credenzas (in my book anyway), as they look more like china cabinets, but still beautiful :)

These lists will be constantly changing, and the pieces mentioned are given as examples of what may be available.


1950s Room Dividers

Mid-century Modern Room Dividers on eBay

Another large furniture item can be a room divider like the ones shown here.

Open plan living spaces were popular in the 1950s, and often sectioned off by room dividers rather than walls. These pieces can be use to define living areas, or be set against a wall. Either way, they're quite stunning.

This grouping is showing some wonderful pieces, including a Kobenhavn Room Divider in Black Lacquer; a Rare Heywood Wakefield unit; a Teak Standing Wall Unit; a super funky Room Divider with pottery globes for Lamps; a Danish Modern Room Divider Bookcase; a Broyhill Brasilia Mid-Century Modern Room Divider; a beautiful Teak Wall Unit; and a couple of Room Divider Screens.


be a smart shopper :)

Beware of the Sales Description or Terminology

Maybe I should say be aware rather than beware, but sometimes sales descriptions, if you read them fast enough, sounds like what you want to hear, and not what it actually is.

Words to look out for:

  • Vintage - usually the original piece
  • Retro - sometimes a reproduction inspired by the designer or style
  • Eames Era - might just mean it's in the same style, but not a famous designer, and not necessarily from that period
  • "Style" tacked on the end of any description (example: "Herman Miller style chair" is not a "Herman Miller chair")


    ... and speaking of chairs ...

1950s Chairs

Mid-Century Modern Chairs

Generally, the chairs you find on amazon won't be vintage, but you can find some really beautiful styles inspired by the period.

Like this one ...


Lexington Modern Arne Jacobsen Egg Chair

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Modway Glove Wool Lounge Chair in Red
Modway Glove Wool Lounge Chair in Red

This is one of the classic shapes of the 1950s that's so instantly recognizable.

Shown here in Red Wool, this chair is a high-quality reproduction of the Arne Jacobsen "egg chair."

Choose between 7 different colors

 

Original Arne Jacobsen Egg Chairs on eBay - vintage mid-century modern chairs

As you can see, the original vintage mid-century modern pieces will generally sell for a higher price than the retro designer inspired reproductions ...


Vintage Danish Modern Chairs on eBay - danish modern chairs are unique decorating pieces

These Danish Modern Chairs are such cool furniture pieces! There are quite a few different styles to choose from.

Right now, i'm seeing a pair of Dux Arm Chairs with no reserve bid; a pair of Hans Wegner Wishbone Chairs; an adorable mid mod Sewing Chair; a set of 5 woven Cane Chairs with Iron Frames; a single Wegner Wishbone Chair; an Eames Era quirky combination coffee table/bench with Seats; and a few more (the list may have changed by the time you are viewing it) ...


1950s End Tables

Heywood Wakefield End Tables on eBay

The Heywood Wakefield end tables are definitely some of my favorites when it come to MCM accent furniture. Some of them look like could be straight out of the Jetsons, or maybe even Star Trek. They're all well-made and beautiful, funky pieces of furniture.

Eero Saarinen: Buildings from the Balthazar Korab Archive - finnish architect Eero Saarinen excelled at design

One of the big names in mid-century modern design was Eero Saarinen. You may not have known that he was an architect, but you'll probably want to learn more about him. This is one of the best books available to help you do that, so pick up a copy before they sell out (again!)

Charles & Ray Eames, George Nelson and more - great videos about mid-century modern design

What is Atomic Style? - atomic style emerged around 1946-1947

When searching for "mid-century modern" pieces, you'll often come across this style known as "Atomic Style." You can read more about how the style developed, and the social issues of the time ...

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