Ten timeless modern interiors from the middle of the century

For our latest Dezeen lookbook, we have put together 10 projects from the Dezeen archives that present elegant, modern interiors from the mid-century with a contemporary flair.

As the name suggests, Mid Century Modern is the name of a design and architectural style dating from the mid-19th century that usually spans from the mid-1940s to the late 1960s.

A number of designers and architects at work during this period created pieces of furniture that became modern classics, including chairs by Ray and Charles Eames and lights by Isamu Noguchi.

Here we have compiled images from 10 projects that used mid-century modern design to create interiors that are elegant without feeling cold or austere.

This is the latest round up of our Dezeen Lookbooks range, providing visual inspiration to designers and design enthusiasts. Past lookbooks have included home libraries, minimalist bedrooms, and Shaker-style interiors.

Frost House, USA, Karen Valentine and Bob Coscarelli

Michigan’s Frost House is a prefabricated house built in the 1960s. The new owners Karen Valentine and Bob Coscarelli decided to minimize their interventions and to take a conservation approach to buying the house, which still has its original floor plan.

Frost House has also retained its original Knoll furniture, including a Bertoia side chair made of latticed steel, as well as its signature built-in wardrobes.

Learn more about the Frosthaus ›

Biscuit Loft by OWIU (Only Way Is Up)

Biscuit Loft, USA, by OWIU Studio

Pieces by mid-century modern designers like Ray and Charles Eames, whose lounge chair sits next to a floor-to-ceiling window, and Isamu Noguchi adorn this Los Angeles loft that is reminiscent of Japanese minimalism.

The living room’s neutral cream palette is enhanced by wooden details and black window frames that add a graphic element to the interior.

Find out more about Biscuit Loft ›

Eames House Conservation Management Plan

Eames House, USA, by Charles and Ray Eames

Perhaps the ultimate example of mid-century modern design, the homonymous home of designer couple Ray and Charles Eames is full of the couple’s own creations.

The current decor is meant to reflect how they enjoyed the property, with a variety of furniture, books, fabrics, art, seashells, stones and straw baskets kept in the building, which was completed by the Eames in 1949.

It is considered a key example of the Case Study House experiments for the construction of post-war American houses.

Find out more about the Eames House ›

Puro Hotel Stare Miasto Kraków by Studio Paradowski

Puro Hotel, Poland, by Studio Paradowski

Studio Paradowski’s renovation of a hotel in Krakow, Poland was influenced by the interwar cafes as well as the “clean functionalism” of its modern mid-century cinemas.

The result is a beautifully implemented interior with a strong retro flair, but a contemporary layout and details. Natural oak paneling and stone, along with Polish-made glass and ceramics, were used to create tactile surfaces.

Learn more about the Puro Hotel ›

Moore House, USA, by Woods + Dangaran

Woods + Dangaran studio in Los Angeles gave Moore House in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles a refresh that retained many of the house’s original 1960s details.

In the bedroom, light teak paneling and large glazing that open onto a green garden give the room the feel of a mid-century holiday home. An Eames chair upholstered in black leather and a bedside lamp made of rice add to the relaxed atmosphere.

Learn more about Moore House ›

Louveira Apartment by Ana Sawaia

Louveira Apartment, Brazil, by Ana Sawaia

This São Paulo apartment features vintage furniture and colorfully patterned surfaces in a refined interior with an interrupted floor plan. Pieces like the wood and leather boomerang chair by American architect Richard Neutra fit perfectly with the style of the Louveira building from 1946.

The window frames were painted yellow to match the facade of the building, and their light tones matched the polished wood used for both the floor and much of the furniture.

Learn more about Louveria Apartment ›

Diamond House by Michael Hennessey Architecture

Eichler House, USA, by Michael Hennessey

This two-story residence in San Francisco’s Diamond Heights neighborhood features post and beam structures, an open floor plan, and glass walls.

In the living room, an elegant metal reading lamp hangs over a mid-century chair, and a cozy rug softens the hard surfaces and symmetrical lines of the room.

Find out more about the Eichler House ›

Apartment in Sao Paolo of BC Arquitetos

Gallery apartment, Brazil, from BC Arquitetos

BC Arquitetos designed this Brazilian art gallery style apartment and filled it with decorative sculptures and classic furniture designs by Brazilian masters of the 1950s and 1960s.

Sculptural furniture is presented against a background of walnut paneling that envelops the apartment. A black and white Akari lamp by Isamu Noguchi for Vitra peeps into the living room from an adjoining room.

Learn more about Galerie Apartment ›

Wall shelf in Azabu Residence

Azabu Residence, Japan, by Norm Architects and Kaiji Ashizawa Design

This minimalist Tokyo home features muted dark tones and natural materials, as well as bespoke furniture designed by the studios who jointly designed it.

“This project was inspired by mid-century American and Brazilian modern interior design that used warm dark natural materials and wood paneling, lush carpets and tactile upholstery,” designer Keiji Ashizawa told Dezeen.

Learn more about the Azabu Residence ›

Irwin Caplan's Laurelhurst House by SHED

Irwin Caplan House, USA, by SHED

This 1950s Pacific Northwest house was originally built for cartoonist Irwin Caplan. Today it is a modern house with an interior that still respects the building’s bones.

White Eames shell chairs sit around a streamlined wooden table in the dining area, which is also equipped with a graphic “Modernist” lamp from Z-Lite.

Find out more about Irwin Caplan’s house ›

This is the latest in our line of lookbooks with curated visual inspirations from Dezeen’s image archive. For more inspiration, check out previous lookbooks showcasing home libraries, minimalist bedrooms, and Shaker-style interiors.

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